Sand worms explained: why they are so important

Denis Villeneuve’s breathtaking view of Dune gives the public a look at the iconic sandworms. But why are they so important in this universe?

Partly, DuneInstant critical acclaim is due to the terror and mystique inspired by the mysterious sandworms that inhabit the planet Arrakis. Denis Villeneuve’s remake and Timothee Chalamet’s performance as Paul Atreides enjoyed unprecedented box office success, with Dune representing one of the best career performances globally for both men to date. Both casual and devoted science fiction fans were once again enthralled by the narrative of Dune, with the backstory of one of Arrakis’ biggest threats absolutely compelling.

Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune introduces the sandworm first, a menacing creature that adds tension to the plot and is vital to the empire’s economy. At the beginning of Dune, Paul and his family move to Arrakis, a desert planet that is the only spice source in the universe, a vital commodity in the world of Dune. Arrakis’s environment is harsh and unforgiving, and there isn’t much that can live there besides the Fremen and towering sandworms, save for a handful of rodent species.


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The terrifying, indiscriminate and uncompromising nature of the sandworms offers would-be conquerors of Arrakis a difficult challenge to overcome. This Shai-Hulud riddle is the key to the heart of Dune, not only in terms of the film’s plot, but also in defining the power dynamics at the heart of its complex tradition. The worms and the precious and rare merchandise they hold make them more than monstrous killing machines, with the worms becoming the embodiment of the dangers of colonization.

DuneSandworms are giant creatures that live beneath the desert’s surface and are a constant threat to the Fremen who live there. They say they grow “up to 450 meters in lengthWhich, to help imagine this size, is about 14 times the size of a blue whale. In terms of appearance, sandworms are roughly the same shape and proportions as an earthworm, albeit on a much grander scale. Their skin is rough and scaly, serving as indestructible armor against the coarse sand of Arrakis, as well as the rare phenomenon of attacks by other sandworms. The Shai-Hulud lore also states that if a worm’s rear scale is lifted up, the sand worm will breach the surface of the sand, allowing a humanoid rider to control the great beast.

These creatures are so ferocious that few people who see sandworms live to tell the story. They are extremely territorial and will resist humans and other sand worms, detecting any vibrations caused on the surface of the sand and attacking immediately in response. Fremen generally know how to deal with sandworm attacks, but strangers rarely manage to survive. However, sandworms are more than just a means of scaring the inhabitants of Arrakis – they also play an important role. DuneEconomy and culture.

Arrakis is the homeland of the spice Melange, without which the trade of the planet and the empire would collapse. The spice extends human lifespan, increases awareness and makes space travel possible. It is also very addicting and spice withdrawal is fatal. Sandworms are the source of the spice, as their larvae produce the precious commodity, consequently making them fiercely protective of deposits. Sand worms are one of the most terrifying aspects of Dune, as their size makes their presence incredibly intimidating. The fact that Paul is a stranger to Arrakis only makes the threat more sinister, as only the Fremen can handle it. With Paul’s enhanced powers and abilities blooming at the end of Villeneuve’s Dune, however, he may still have a chance against these menacing creatures in the confirmed Dune Continuation.

Next: Dune Story & World Explained: Characters, Spices and Sand Worms

  • Dune (2021)This item will be released on October 22, 2021

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