How Do Fremen Get Off Their Sandworms In Dune? We Already Know

The official explanation for how Dune's sandriders get off a worm once they are on it, is easy to explain and found here.

By Josh Tyler | Published

Dune Fremen get off worm

Dune: Part Two is a thrilling big-budget blockbuster, and one of the most thrilling things about it is sandriding. Sandriding is the Fremen term for riding on one of the movie’s giant sand worms, which they also call Shai Hulud. In the movie and the Frank Herbert books on which it is based, the desert-dwelling Fremen have the ability to harness and ride on the planet Dune’s massive sand worms.

The new Dune movies do a great job of showing us how the sandriders get on the mega-sized worms. It does however, leave one important thing out: How do they get off? We don’t have to guess. We know.

Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Doesn’t Seem To Know This Is Already Answered

Fremen worm dismount
Paul mounting a worm in Dune: Part Two

When Dune director Denis Villeneuve was asked how Fremen get off worms, he gave this cryptic answer..

“I knew how. I found a way. It was not dramatically necessary in ‘Part Two’ to see someone get out of the worm, but I know how to do it. And I can’t wait to put that on screen.”

It’s not clear why he’d hint around as if worm dismounting is a mystery that needs to be solved. Sure, neither Dune nor Dune: Part Two shows us how the Fremen dismount when they’re done riding. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know. Frank Herbert explained it all in his Dune books.

How Frank Herbert’s Dune Describes Getting Off Sandworms

Frank Herbert Sandworm description
A Fremen using Maker Hooks on Shai Hulud in Dune: Part Two

How do sandriders get off a sandworm when they’re done riding? Simple: they wait for it to tire out and jump off.

The hooks they pry under the sandworm’s scales, called maker hooks, irritate the worm. That’s how they steer it, by applying irritation to different parts of its body. 

Maker hook used in dismount
A maker hook in use in Dune: Part Two

Those hooks are so irritating that when the riders remove them if a worm is tired enough, it starts to slow and then sinks into the sand to go down deep where it can sulk. When the worm slows and starts to lower itself, the sandriders jump off.

In What Order Do Fremen Get Off Their Worms?

A fremen gets off his worm in Dune
Paul steering his first sandworm in Dune: Part Two

Incidentally, by tradition, the Fremen follow a first on, first off rule. The first person on the worm, the person who captures it at the start, is the first person off.

Even the strongest worms can only travel a limited distance before getting tired. So, the Fremen often measure distances in thumpers.

A thumper is the device used to call a worm. So if something is 20 thumpers away, it means that you’d have to capture, ride, and wear out 20 different worms to get there.

Will Denis Villeneuve Change The Sandrider Dismount Method?

Dune Sandworm

While the sandworms are pretty exciting, the Fremen method of getting off sandworms isn’t particularly exciting. And I’m not sure why it would need to be. Sandworms are exciting enough on their own.

If Denis Villeneuve does need to show a dismount, he’d be wise to stick to the method already outlined by Frank Herbert. Anything else will likely be overkill.