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‘Dune 2’ Ending, Deaths and That Cameo Explained, Plus What Could Be Next in a Third Movie


SPOILER ALERT: This contains major spoilers for the ending of “Dune: Part Two,” now playing in theaters.

Readers of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” have known the plot of the sci-fi epic for years, but fans who have only watched Denis Villeneuve’s films may have some questions about the ending of “Dune: Part Two” and the future of the series.

Young protagonist Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) undergoes a drastic transformation by the end of “Dune: Part Two” and becomes the new Emperor of the Known Universe. His conquest is made possible by leading the native, blue-eyed Fremen people, who believe Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are a prophesied mother and son who will bring peace to their planet Arrakis. Jessica’s Bene Gesserit sisterhood also believe Paul is the legendary Kwisatz Haderach, an all-powerful male heir who can see across space and time.

Basically, Paul is the most powerful being in existence.

However, he doesn’t reach that point without a few sacrifices. While Paul lives amongst the Fremen with his mother, he finally meets Chani (Zendaya), who had been appearing in his visions. They fall in love as Paul earns the respect of the Fremen — who witness him ride one of the biggest sandworms on the desert planet. As Paul’s power grows, he promises to always love Chani…but when he overthrows Emperor IV (Christopher Walken), he pledges to marry his daughter, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh). Angry and heartbroken, Chani leaves Paul behind and rides a sandworm off into the sunset.

Paul makes plenty of enemies during his rise to power. In the end, it’s revealed that the other Great Houses don’t accept his ascendancy, so he begins his Fremen-backed holy war against them. He also nearly wipes out House Harkonnen, the bald, former governors of Arrakis and enemies of House Atreides. The Harkonnen leadership is killed one by one: Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgard) and his nephews Rabban (Dave Bautista) and Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler). Paul kills Feyd-Rautha in a dramatic knife battle after leading a sandworm charge against the Harkonnen forces.

However, Paul realizes after drinking the blue Water of Life from a baby sandworm that his mother is the daughter of Baron Vladimir, meaning he has Harkonnen lineage within him. Lady Jessica is also pregnant with a daughter, named Alia, from her late husband Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). She can communicate with her unborn daughter thanks to her Water of Life-given Bene Gesserit powers. Paul also has a vision of his sister in the future, where she’s portrayed in a cameo by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Alia plays a larger role in Herbert’s follow-up novel, 1969’s “Dune Messiah,” which takes place 12 years after the events of “Dune.” The book continues the story of Paul’s reign as Emperor and the Fremen’s messiah. Many of the surviving characters from “Dune” reappear in “Messiah,” and fans are clamoring for Villeneuve to adapt the novel as a third movie.

A third “Dune” movie hasn’t been greenlit by Warner Bros., but Villeneuve has already spoken about adapting “Messiah.” He said a screenplay is being written, but if he were to make “Dune Messiah” it will be his last “Dune” movie, despite there being more books in Herbert’s series.

“I don’t know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis,” Villeneuve said. “I might make a detour before just to go away from the sun. For my mental sanity I might do something in between.”

Composer Hans Zimmer has also that he’s preparing music for a third film.

He told Variety, “Denis comes in on the second day of shooting, and wordlessly comes in and puts ‘Dune: Messiah’ on my desk, and I know where we’re going and I know we’re not done.”