Dune 2 Ending Explained: Paul Atreides’ Endgame & What It Sets Up

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Dune 2 Ending Explained: Paul Atreides’ Endgame & What It Sets Up: Part Two ends Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s first book epically, setting its franchise up for growth. After Dune 2021, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) joins the Fremen society and contends with the Lisan al Gaib prophecy in the sequel.

Dune 2 centers on Chani (Zendaya) and Paul’s friendship as they fight House Harkonnen for Arrakis. This is hampered by Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) promoting the idea that her son is the Fremen’s savior.

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Dune 2 Ending Explained: Paul Atreides’ Endgame & What It Sets Up

By the end of Dune 2, the film focuses on Paul’s challenge to become Emperor. Paul launches a full-scale attack on the Harkonnens, culminating in his murder of Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård) and competition with his nephew, Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), for the leadership.

The outcome is what Paul feared most from his future visions. That means Dune 2 ends tragically and leaves the story open for a third film based on Dune: Messiah.

Explaining Paul’s Plan to Become Emperor and Save Arrakis

  • The ending of Dune 2 centers on Paul Atreides accepting his fate as the Fremen’s Lisan al Gaib, Arrakis’ savior and the universe’s conqueror. Chalamet’s character struggles with this decision for most of the film because he sees violence if he goes south on Arrakis.
  • Paul prefers to impress the Fremen and free them. This is complicated by Stilgar (Javier Bardem)’s unshakeable faith in him and Jessica, which fuels Fremen prophesy beliefs.
  • Paul resists going south, drinking the Water of Life, and becoming the Lisan al Gaib, but Feyd-Rautha destroys the Fremen’s north seitch. Paul wants the entire Bene Gesserit abilities by drinking the Water of Life. He thinks his astounding feat will win over all Fremen.
  • He has unmatched authority on Arrakis since the Fremen’s Fedaykin army can defeat the Harkonnens with House Atreides atomic weapons.
  • This power allows Paul to challenge Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken) and announce his existence, leading him to Arrakis for battle. Paul’s plot to topple the Emperor has two steps. The first wants to marry his daughter, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), to preserve the Corrino bloodline.
  • Fighting Feyd-Rautha as Shaddam’s champion is next. Even if the Great Houses disagree, Paul slaying Feyd-Rautha ends the Harkonnen ruling bloodline and opens the door to replacing Shaddam.
  • Paul gains authority by these actions. He takes over Arrakis from Harkonnen tyranny, strengthening House Atreides and avenging his father. Paul leads House Atreides, saves the Fremen as Lisan al Gaib, and becomes universe Emperor. It is the ultimate realization of Paul’s Dune 2 ideas of dominating with a religious jihad and knowing it would lead to a galactic war that kills billions.

Explaining Dune’s Holy War With Great Houses

  • Jessica declares a “Holy War” in Dune 2’s dying moments. The Fremen’s new Reverend Mother says this after seeing Paul’s soldiers board ships to fight the Great Houses. After learning that the remaining Great Houses will not accept Paul’s elevation to Emperor, he orders Stilgar, Gurney (Josh Brolin), and others to charge the battlefield in his name. Paul’s command starts a galaxy-wide war with his complete army, giving dignity and respect to his dominion.
  • Dune 2’s Holy War fulfills Paul’s early predictions from 2021. He dreamed of a “holy war spreading across the universe like unquenchable fire.” The Fremen’s belief in him as Lisan al Gaib has turned the army into a religious jihad that will stop at nothing to recognize their savior. Billion will die fighting Paul’s authority or rejecting the Fremen’s religion through this movement.
  • This Holy War is set up in Dune 2 for Dune 3. The war will affect what comes next, but a third film won’t focus on conquering the universe. Dune: Messiah bypasses this time in Paul’s life and focuses on him as a powerful and seasoned Emperor, whereas Dune 2 teases the beginning of his rule.

Why Chani Leaves Paul and Her Destination

  • Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2 book tale change for Chani is a significant surprise in the end. Even as she falls in love with Paul, she doubts the Lisan al Gaib prophecy throughout the film. Chani leaving following Paul’s elevation to Emperor deviates greatly from the source material. Even though Paul promises to love her forever, she leaves him once he marries Irulan. Paul’s betrayal and rule go against Chani’s wishes.
  • Dune 2 closes with Chani riding a sandworm without a goal after leaving Paul. Villeneuve adjusted the book for this story development, thus Frank Herberg’s work doesn’t address where she was headed. Chani may have left Paul permanently to continue her Fremen ways without him. The story would shift even more for a Dune: Messiah adaptation. She may call the sandworm to clear her thoughts, but her fate is uncertain.

Dune 2’s End Makes Paul Atreides Tragic Villain

  • In Dune 2, Denis Villeneuve focuses on Paul’s inevitable transformation into Lisan al Gaib and the tragedy of his villainy. The movie shows early on that Paul does not believe he is the Fremen’s foretold savior or wish to be.
  • Paul dread such scenario due to his visions and says and does everything to prevent it. He understands that following the Fremen south will make him a messiah and cause a war.
  • By showing how much Paul doesn’t want to be Lisan al Gaib, Dune 2’s malevolent turn is more heartbreaking. He must become what he hates and commit mass annihilation because he can’t stop this.
  • Paul accepts his power and influence as Lisan al Gaib when the inevitable happens, but there are frequent reminders that he doesn’t want this. He’s merely doing what’s necessary to save Arrakis.
  • Paul and Chani’s partnership helps Dune 2 achieve this. He continuously declares his love for her, believing she will understand his decisions to defend her, the Fremen, and Arrakis.
  • She goes in the end, suggesting he may lose her. A ruler of this scale sacrifices his happiness. This doesn’t excuse Paul’s villainy, but it helps Dune 2 explain his path.

How Dune 2’s Ending Differs From Book

  • Dune 2 follows Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel’s second half as closely as the 2021 film did the first. However, the sequel’s ending transforms the book. Chani leaving Paul is one of Dune 2’s main developments. Even though Paul is married to Irulan for political power, she remains his genuine love in the tale.
  • Due to absent or modified characters, Dune 2’s ending differs from the book. Paul killed Baron Harkonnen after changing how Alia Atreides (Anya Taylor-Joy) appears in the plot. Since Thufir Hawat is absent from the film, he does not die late. Feyd-Rautha does not try to kill Paul with a poisoned blade, and Paul kills her differently.


Dune 2’s Prelude to 3

  • Dune 2’s ending may conclude Herbert’s first book, but the movie promises Dune 3. Dune: Messiah, Herbert’s second novel, takes place 12 years later with Paul as the universe’s Emperor. A third film would adapt it. The “holy war” tease will be crucial for Dune 3. The war may not be the center of a third film, but it will inspire other Great Houses to overthrow him.
  • Dune 3’s tale also includes Paul’s proposal to marry Irulan, which audiences know by Dune 2. The threequel will call her Paul’s wife, yet Paul still loves Chani and is with her in the book.
  • The love triangle between Paul, Chani, and Irulan is crucial to Dune 3, thus Chani’s ending raises issues about how it will be told. To fully adapt Dune: Messiah, Villeneuve must illustrate the three individuals and their complicated relationships.
  • The casting of Anya Taylor-Joy as Alia Atreides in Dune 2 is another important Dune 3 setup. Villeneuve’s casting of a rising star foreshadows Dune: Messiah’s role for Paul’s younger sister. Dune 3 will likely feature Anya Taylor-Joy as Alia. Seeing her in a future vision when the seas are on Arrakis sets up how different a sequel will be.

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The Real Meaning of Dune 2’s End

Dune 2’s ending reflects the film’s true message despite its spectacular action. Through Paul’s elevation, the film explores power’s peril. Paul’s newfound power and his fanatical religious followers’ effects on the galaxy illustrate the consequences of this. Dune: Part Two’s ending with Paul releasing the Fremen yet oppressing everyone else best illustrates these views.

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