‘Dune’ Star Oscar Isaac Compares Duke Leto Atreides To ‘Star Wars’ Poe

Oscar Isaac played Poe Dameron in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He’s about to embark on another sci-fi franchise with Dune. He plays Duke Leto Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s movie of Frank Herbert’s book, which the director hopes will be part one. 

Oscar Isaac in Dune
Oscar Isaac | Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

The cast of Dune spoke on a panel announcing the release of the movie’s trailer, which you can see now. Isaac compared Atreides and the film to his work on Star Wars. Dune is coming to theaters Dec. 18.

Oscar Isaac IS Leto Atreides in ‘Dune’

First, a bit about Duke Leto Atreides. Not everyone has read Dune, so Isaac gave a description. 

“He’s a dad,” Isaac said. “I think that’s the big thing. He’s a father and he’s got all the qualities of, I think, what the epitome of a father should be. He’s noble and the House Atreides is a noble house. By that I mean structurally, in this universe, it’s what everything else is a reference to, either as an enemy or an ally. But, it’s the beacon of ethics and higher consciousness which is what’s been the struggle since this technological dystopian future they’ve made their way out of.”

Duke Leto’s son is Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his wife is Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). As noble as Duke Leto is, he still has human flaws. 

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson
Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson | Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

“He is absolutely human and doomed the way that humans are,” Isaac continued. “Under incredible pressure to save his family, save his house but to adapt to this new existential threat situation which is moving to this strange planet and being forced to and being able to see that there could be a trap. There’s a lot of things at work, and yet trying to live up to those bigger ideals which is sensitivity and empathy and love and order.”

This part of ‘Dune’ was bigger than ‘Star Wars’

Dune will take viewers to another galaxy far, far away. Its desert looks bigger than Tatooine, but Isaac joked that this was where Dune really topped Star Wars.

“I’ll just say that no set piece, no X-Wing, no Millennium Falcon could compare to the sheer scale of Josh Brolin’s head,” Isaac said. “It was massive both literally and figuratively. It really made me feel like I was in an alien planet.”

Brolin and Isaac seem to have a friendly rivalry on the set of Dune.

“That’s like chapter eight of a beef,” Isaac said.

These spaceships were more uncomfortable than ‘Star Wars’

Poe was an X-Wing pilot in Star Wars. Duke Leto Atreides has a ship too, but it’s out in the desert heat. Isaac could film X-Wing scenes in a cool studio.

Dune | Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures

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“I wouldn’t call it complaining,” Isaac said. “I would just say that I was making people aware that the cockpit of the Ornithopter when being hit with direct sun became a magnifying glass. The cockpit, that’s the place it gets the hottest.”

‘Dune’ predates ‘Star Wars’ 

There are inevitably going to be comparisons between Dune and Star Wars because every sci-fi movie since is compared to Star Wars. Dune was actually one of George Lucas’s inspirations. 

“It was funny going into this but immediately, you could just feel it was a totally different situation,” Isaac said. “It’s kind of going back to the roots of it all, which is Frank Herbert’s Dune, is what inspired all of that.”