The ending of 'Dune' explained, and what to expect from Part Two

After watching Dune, you might be asking yourself some questions. The main one being "wait, that's all?" You'd expect more from Dune, right?
Don't be discouraged if this is the case. Dune, as epic and captivating as it is, only adapts a portion of Frank Herbert's novel. This leaves an inconclusive end that opens up a second Dune: Part Two.

Dune's abrupt ending leaves us with much to be excited about and a lot to decode, despite its abruptness. Here are the key takeaways from Dune’s ending, including what the Harkonnens plan to do next.

"My road leads to the desert"

Paul Credit: Credit to Warner Bros. Pictures

Dune ends with Paul Atreides, played by Timothe Chalamet), and Jessica Ferguson (Rebecca Ferguson), on the run from Harkonnens. They are rescued by the desert-dwelling Fremen. Stilgar (Javier Bardem), their leader, decides to take them back to Sietch Tabr to determine their fate. Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun), however, challenges Stilgar's decision. This leads to a duel to death between Paul and Paul.

The ending of Dune leaves us with much to be excited about and a lot to unpack.

For many reasons, this fight marks a significant turning point. Paul is able to take Jamis's life and earn a place in the Fremen. Second, Jamis's death is another step in Paul's journey to become the messianic figure called the Kwisatz Haderach. Paul is warned by an unsettling voiceover that Jamis' death will be his final battle with him. "Paul Atreides must perish, in order for Kwisatz Haderach the rise..." You take someone's life when you take theirs." Paul, by killing Jamis, kills his old self and gives up some of his humanity.

This makes the duel the ideal place to end Dune Part One. These moments are the final we see of Paul Atreides before the fight: The Paul we saw before Jamis crosses crysknives with him and the Paul that we see after Jamis's death are two completely different people.

If this sounds dark, it's because it is. Paul may be determined not to side with the Fremen like his father (Oscar Isaac), but Paul's visions reveal that the Fremen's devotion for him as a superhuman figure, the Lisan al–Gaib or Mahdi, leads to violence throughout the universe.

What is the deal with Paul’s visions?

What are your blue eyes seeing? Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Paul's visions, which are often depicting his future relationship to Chani (Zendaya), are a common theme throughout Dune. They also reveal that the Fremen will be fighting a holy war, which is explicitly called a "jihad" in the novel. This will take place across the galaxy in Paul's name.

Paul is terrified by the impending holy war. This grand "destiny" was not his. It was created over many centuries by the Bene Gesserit’s breeding program. This Bene Gesserit is the one who propagated the prophecy about the Lisan al–Gaib through Arrakis' Fremen population. Even though Paul's story appears to be a heroic tale, the whole thing is incredibly manipulative of Fremen.

Are Paul's visions a sign that holy war is inevitable according to Paul? Not necessarily. Paul's vision of Jamis promising him the desert ways couldn't be further from the reality of what happens when these two characters meet. We know from the Jamis vision that Paul's prescience is not entirely accurate. It shows us possible futures, which may or may not come true.

It's evident that Paul saw Chani and the crysknife he used in killing Jamis in his visions of galactic warfare, so it's clear that this duel was an important moment in his life.

Keep up with the Harkonnens

Who wouldn't love to be able to move around the world all day? Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

House Atreides is left in a very difficult spot after Dune, which is good news for House Harkonnen. They have been their long enemies. After conducting a brutal surprise attack against the city of Arrakeen, and eliminating Duke Leto (Dave Bautista), the Baron (Stellan Skarsgrd), and his nephew Rabban [Dave Bautista] are now back in control over Arrakis.

Simply put, things will get more bizarre in the future.

It turns out, however, that the Emperor's elite Sardaukar fighters are too expensive to use to defeat your worst enemy. Therefore, the Harkonnens must make a profit from the spice trade quickly. Rabban is told by the Baron to "squeeze" Arrakis and kill all Fremen while he does so. This is a good sign for the future, and the planet.

What can we expect from Dune Part Two?

We can't wait for you to discover what's happening here! Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Simply put, things will get more bizarre in the future. Paul's influence and powers over Fremen will increase as well as the conflict between them and the Harkonnens. As Paul hinted in one of his visions, Jessica's pregnancy takes an unexpected turn. Feyd-Rautha, the Fenrings and other important characters may appear, as well as the Emperor and Princess Irulan. We will hopefully find out the fates of Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), and Thufir Hawat, Stephen McKinley Henderson), who were both left in suspense after the Harkonnen attack.

All this speculation is meaningless if Warner Bros. does not announce a Dune 2 sequel. This future looks more likely due to the strong box office. If Denis Villeneuve gets his way, Dune: Part Two will be a much more satisfying movie. There will be more endings, more sandworms and more Zendaya.

Dune is available now on HBO Max and in cinemas.