Futurama Season 11 Episode 4: Dune Easter Eggs, Explained

Hulu’s ‘Futurama‘ is a revival that follows the misadventures of Philip J. Fry, a delivery boy for Pent Express. The fourth episode of the eleventh season (or the eighth production season), titled ‘Parasites Regained,’ follows Fry and Leela as they undertake a dangerous mission to save the latter’s pet, Nibbler, from losing his intellect. The episode is a homage to ‘Dune,’ one of the most popular science fiction tales known for its pop culture resonance. For those looking for all the ‘Dune’ references in ‘Futurama’ season 11, episode 4, here are all the ones we could spot! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Futurama Season 11 Episode 4 Recap

The fourth episode is titled ‘Parasites Regained,’ which references the John Milton poem ‘Paradise Regained.’ The episode also serves as a spiritual successor to ‘Parasites Lost,’ the second episode of ‘Futurama’ season 3, also titled after a John Milton poem. ‘Parasites Regained’ follows Leela and the Planet Express crew as they deal with Nibbler’s sudden intellectual decline. It is revealed that Nibbler has contracted parasites that are feeding on his brain.

The parasites reside within Nibbler’s sandbox and continually infect him, forcing Leela and the crew to shrink down and travel to the sandbox. Leela and the crew meet the Duneg beetles, who guide them to the sandworms. However, Leela and the crew abandon the mission when Nibbler accepts his place in the sandbox’s intricate ecosystem. Leela discovers that smaller parasites have infected the sandworms, and the crew kills the creatures, restoring Nibbler’s intellect.

Futurama Season 11 Episode 4 Dune References

The fourth episode serves as a parody of ‘Dune,’ a series of epic science fiction novels by author Frank Herbert. The first book in the series was adapted into a film directed by David Lynch and released in 1984. The book was more recently adapted for the screen by director Denis Villeneuve and divided into two parts, the first of which was released in 2021. Most of the books take place on the desert planet of Arrakis, similar to the sand world the crew visits in the episode of ‘Futurama.’

In the episode, the Dunge beetles explain that their name is pronounced as “Dune,” with a silent “G.’ The species is a reference to the Fremen, who are the primary residents of Arrakis in the source material. The beetles also rely on the “litter dust” as a means to protect themselves and harness mystical powers. The Litter dust is based on the “Spice” (also known as “Melange”) from the books, found in abundance on Arrakis. The sandworms are the primary antagonists of the episode, and they are based on the giant sandworms from the books.

The background score used during the crew’s interactions with the Dunge beetles is reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s score for 2021’s ‘Dune.’ The episode also portrays Nibbler as the “messianic” figure referenced in the prophecy of the sand world, which is also a major plot point in the source material as the prophecy is directly tied to the story of protagonist Paul Atreides. Like Paul, Nibbler figuring out his place in the grand scheme of things is the episode’s primary theme. Lastly, actor Kyle MacLachlan, known for his role as Paul Atreides in 1984’s ‘Dune,’ guest stars in the episode as the voice of one of the creatures in the sand world.

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