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What happens after the ending of Dune: Part Two?

Dune: Part Two hit cinemas over the weekend and has already proved a massive box office success. Denis Villenueve’s science fiction epic earned $81.5m (£64m) in ticket sales at the North American box office, making it the first major hit of 2024.

Critics have followed suit, with positive reviews across the board for the blockbuster starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. It has acheived a score of 94 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, so far beating Dune (part one), which now sits at 83.

“I’m not saying the film is perfect,” Villenueve told reporters last year, “but I’m much more happy with Part Two than I was with Part One.”

Following the excitement generated by the first film, some viewers were disappointed to see no post-credits scene after the desert-set epic. But what happens next was written over 50 years ago by Frank Herbert in a story spanning six novels and 20 years.

What happens after the ending of Dune: Part Two?

If you thought the second Dune film was full of weirdness, things really take a turn in Frank Herbert’s universe after his first book (which comprises both of Villeneuve’s films).

Timothee Chalamet in Dune: Part Two (© 2022 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Timothee Chalamet in Dune: Part Two (© 2022 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Warning: major spoilers follow for the Dune book series, Dune: Part Two – and potentially the next film

Herbert’s second book in the series, Dune Messiah, was written in 1969. It begins 12 years after the final events at the end of Dune with Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides having successfully attained the status of Emporer of the Universe.

However, as seen in Timothee Chalamet’s Dune: Part Two fever dreams, a lot of people have died in the meantime. Around 60 billion perish in Paul’s rise to power, as the “messiah” myth he helped to create has spiralled out of his control.

He has two children with Chani (played by Zendaya in the films), twins Ghanima and Leto Atreides II. However, she unfortunately dies during childbirth, after long-term poisoning by Irulan (Florence Pugh).

Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two (© 2022 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune: Part Two (© 2022 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Should audiences ever see Dune Messiah they can also look forward to the return of Duncan Idaho, played by Jason Momoa, who was missed after being killed in the first film. In this second book he is resurrected, with his body used to create a clone. Over the course of the novels (set over 5,000 years), he is brought back to life many times.

Paul’s sister Alia Atreides (played briefly by Anya Taylor-Joy in the second film) doesn’t have a great time either. In the third book Children of Dune, she becomes queen regent, taking over from Paul after he become blind.

However, her mind is taken over by her deceased grandfather, Baron Harkonnen (played by Stellan Skarsgård). This results in a mental power struggle which ends with the character’s death.

Perhaps most unusually, in the fourth book God Emperor of Dune, Paul’s son Leto Atreides II attaches sandworm larvae to his body until, over the course of 3,500 years, he becomes a human-sandworm hybrid.

How Denis Villeneuve intends to depict that on screen will likely remain a mystery for a while.