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Dune: Part 2 ending explained (and what it means for the Dune movie & TV franchise to come)

Everything you need to know about the second installation of the Timothée Chalamet-led saga Dune

Three years after Dune fans finally got the film adaptation they were hoping for, and viewers unfamiliar with Frank Herbert’s novels wondered, Why the heck was Zendaya in this ad campaign, Dune: Part 2 is out (and Zendaya is all over it).

The film boasts the same combination of lush visuals, dramatic battle sequences, and complex but (generally) comprehensible storylines as the original, as young Paul Atreides begins his journey toward the Imperial throne.

But if you're reading this, you're not here for the beginning - you're here for the ending. Whether you're on the fence about seeing the movie, are thinking about skipping it but want to know what happened, or have seen it and have questions (we see you!), Popverse is here to help.

Keep in mind, Dune: Part 2 is now in theaters and you can Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets if you change your mind.

Warning! Dune: Part 2 spoilers ahead!

What happens at the end of Dune: Part 2?

After spending the first half of the film making a home for himself with the Fremen tribe of Stilgar and Chani and refusing to go south to the territory of the Southern Fremen (because all this dreams say if he does billions will die), Paul Atreides eventually does go south after the new ruler of Arrakis Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen attacks the home base, er, rock of the Stilgar’s people, decimating them.

Once in the South, Paul drinks the Water of Life — which it turns out is the blood of baby sandworms :(. His mother had previously drank the Water in order to become the Reverend Mother of Stilgar’s tribe of Fremen. It gave her major insight into the past and future, and also woke up her in-utero daughter, after which the two of them often have silent conversations (it’s real weird).

Men aren’t supposed to be able to drink baby sandworm juice without dying, but he’s Paul Atreides, so it works out, except for the fact that now he knows very clearly the only way forward is the intergalactic war he’s been trying to avoid.

Newly enlightened, Paul goes to the most important religious and political gathering on the planet, dismisses the people’s traditions and seizes power for himself, claiming he is the religious figure they’ve been waiting for. Most of the Fremen go for it, but Chani is just not having it.

With his power base settled, Paul sends Emperor Shaddam IV a message indicating he knows that the Emperor had worked in secret with House Harkonnen to murder his entire house, and challenging him to a duel, because that’s how you take power in an intergalactic Empire conceived of in the 1960s, I guess.

Bizarrely, the Emperor actually comes, despite being an elderly Christopher Walken and not having a proper amount of cowbell, and Paul and the now united Fremen launch a massive battle against the Imperial and Harkonnen forces. Stilgar and his soldiers ride in on sandworms, Chani pops up old school out of the sand with her soldiers, and Paul strolls in the front door to straight-up murder Baron Harkonnen for killing his father.

Paul has a heart to heart with Chani, letting her know he’ll always love her, then tells the Emperor he’ll be taking his daughter Princess Irulan for his bride and it’s their Empire now. When the Emperor scoffs, Paul goes mano a mano with the Emperor's surrogate Feyd. Paul takes two knives in the chest but ultimately succeeds in besting Feyd. All kneel to him except for his mother, Princess Irulna, and Chani, who is really just not having it.

Meanwhile all the other houses of the Empire have sent their forces to Arrakis, having been warned by Baron Harkonnen that the spice supply was in jeopardy. When they refuse to accept Paul’s succession to the throne (or his threat to blow up the spice fields), Paul sends his forces into space, “to paradise” (which, yikes). As they all fly away, his mother happily tells her unborn daughter that Paul has finally begun the Holy War (double yikes).

Having opted out of the death of billions, Chani instead calls for a sandworm. The film closes on her watching a worm approach, her face filled with emotion.

Do we get to see more sandworms in Dune: Part 2?

Heck yeah.

There’s a baby sandworm, too. Cue the 'Baby Shark' remix.

Who dies in Dune: Part 2?

First and foremost, kiss goodbye to House Harkonnen. Not only does Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) become food for the desert (aka ants) at Paul’s blade, but both of his nephews, Rabban and Feyd-Rautha meet their demise on Arrakis. Rabban (Dave Bauista) dies at the hand of Atreides former military leader Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) while trying to execute his go-to action move of 'run away.'

Fyde (an unrecognizable Austin Butler) dies in a hand-to-hand knifefight with Paul that people are definitely going to be talking about, because damn is it bad-ass. As he dies, the blade he stabbed in Paul’s chest now lodged in his,he says, You fought well, Paul Atreides,” and yeah, he did.

Earlier in the film, Feyd kills Gurney Halleck’s second-in-command Lieutenant Lanville, a birthday present from his uncle. Upon taking over Arrakis he also wipes out a lot of the Stilgar’s Fremen after he bombs their home base into oblivion.

Other casualties include Paul and Chani’s love *tear*, and Emperor Shaddam IV’s pride, after he is forced to kiss new Emperor Paul’s ring. But look closely, because I'm pretty sure Shaddam actor Christopher Walken actually did not quite kiss the ring.

For those hoping the endlessly scheming Reverend Mother Helen Mohiam might have also found her way to the big sandworm in the sky, I am sorry to say she escapes yet again, though there is a great moment where Paul uses the Voice to force her to shut up.

Who’s in the Dune: Part 2 cast?

In addition to returning actors Timotheé Chalamee (Paul), Zendaya (Chani), Javier Bardem (Stilgar), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Dave Bautista (Rabban), Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck), Stellan Skarsgård (Baron Harkonnen), and Charlotte Rampling (Gaius Helen Mohiam), Part 2 introduces three major new actors:

Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV, who feels bad after having helped ensure the murder of House Atreides by House Harkonnen, but not so bad he's willing to yield his throne.

A very bald and very white Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, who takes control of Arrakis after his cousin Rabban can’t stop the Fremen.

A measured and steely Florence Pugh, who plays Emperor Shaddam IV’s daughter and confidant Princess Irulan.

And, most surprisingly, Anna Taylor-Joy as Paul’s unborn sister Alia, whom he has visions of after he drinks the Water of Life.

Which book is Dune: Part 2 based on?

Dune: Part 2 is based on the second half of Frank Herbert’s original 1965 novel Dune, which tells the story of the destruction of House Atreides followed by the ascension of Paul Atreides to the Imperial Throne while serving with the Fremen.

Should there be a Dune: Part 3, Villeneuve has indicated that it will be based on Dune: Messiah, which returns to Paul 12 years later as various forces conspire to steal the throne.

What other scifi movies is Dune like?

If you're not familiar with the Dune books, the movies can be a little hard to get into. You've got one whole world that seems to exist only in black and white, where everyone is hairless and toothless and leather is mandatory; a group of Sith-like nuns who combine mental hocus pocus with a millenia-long game plan to rule the universe; and a desert world filled with worms the size of Manhattan that happens to be the only source for "spice," the stuff necessary for interstellar travel.

While to some degree nothing can prepare you for Dune except Dune, Star Wars is definitely one visual inspiration for director Denis Villeneuve and his team. So is Blade Runner 2049, which Villeneuve himself directed. Storywise, it's very much the tale of a reluctant political messiah: think Jesus, except he's a political insurgent allied with religious zealots, fighters who want their planet back, and very, very big worms.

Or if you're a Timothée Chalamet fan, think 30% Wonka, 30% Kyle from Lady Bird, and 40% Smokecheddathaassgetta.

Cling cling cling! Oh you cappin'!

Is there a Dune: Part post-credit scene?

There is no scene once the credits begin rolling in Dune: Part 2. But much like Part 1, the film ends on a cliffhanger, Paul with his new-bride-to-be off to battle the entire universe, while Chani leaves him behind to ride the worms.

Will there be a Dune: Part 3?

While Warner Brothers has not greenlit a third film as of yet, director Denis Villeneuve has said that there are "words on paper” and also that completing the trilogy “would be the dream.”

At the same time, Villeneuve has also said he has no intention of returning to the world of Dune immediately.

Meanwhile, a prequel TV show set 10,000 years before the events of Dune and focused on the foundation of the Bene Gesserit women’s religious group/secret source of power in the Empire was greenlit straight to series by HBO Max in 2019, long before the first film was even released. But since then the series has gone through a number of writers, titles, and showrunners.

As of now the show is entitled Dune: The Prophesy, and stars Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson who have risen to power in the Sisterhood, a precursor to the Bene Gesserit.

Need more spice (heh) in your life? Popverse has all the Dune coverage you could want. From Dune: Part Two's ending explained, to details on the sequels and TV show prequels that are planned, to how to prep for the next film with a Dune watch order, to which Frank Herbert story Denis Villeneuve believes would make a great Dune: Part Three, and even which movies to watch after you've finished Dune.