Unless you knew that the new Dune movie was going to release in two parts, you might have found the ending a bit abrupt. Even if you knew, however, some things are a bit confusing. For those who haven't read the books, in particular, there are a few things to unpack as we brace ourselves for part 2. Here's the ending of Dune explained:
Dune Movie Ending Explained: What's Happened to the Main Characters?
The first part of the Dune movie ended with a cliffhanger. With Duke Leto dead, the Harkonnens - in particular, the Baron and his nephew, Rabban - have now taken over Arrakis once more. The future of the planet seems grim, as the Baron instructs Rabban to make as much profit as possible from the spice, killing the native Fremen in the process.
With the house Atreides presumably fallen, Paul and his mother, Jessica, who is pregnant, were on the run for most of the film's latter half. By the end, they finally encounter the Fermens, including Chani, the girl who had been haunting Paul's dreams for quite some time. His dreams and visions have been an important motif throughout the movie and will likely be explained further as we move forward.
Before being accepted in the ranks of the Fremen - locals to Arrakis, who live in the desert - Paul is forced to participate in ritual combat to the death. Against his mother's wishes, Paul accepts and wins. Due to their culture and habits, Paul, who took the life of a Fremen, is now deemed one himself.
Dune Movie Ending Explained: Was This a Good Adaptation?
Unlike the very camp 1984 adaptation (dir David Lynch) which is considered a cult classic at best, horrible at worst, the 2021 Dune was generally favorably received. The book gave the cast and creators a lot to work with. There's no such thing as a perfect adaptation, but this one works really well in capturing the spirit of the book.
Of course, many viewers still believe that Dune is not the adaptation we needed in 2021, as it is still about a young white nobleman who 'turns native' to the planet he set out to colonize. In short, he doesn't merely fulfill the chosen one trope; he also seems set up to be a white savior - a trope with even more disturbing connotations.
This seems to at least be indirectly addressed here in a few subtle ways. Chani, for instance, isn't instantly helpful but, before the ritual combat, she gives Paul a dagger only to die in honor, rather than to win, emphasizing the fact that he's still a foreigner to her. However, the white savior trope is definitely going to become more prominent later on as Paul learns the ways of the desert.
All in all, the new Dune movie is an immersive adaptation that will likely satisfy fans - but it's not entirely unproblematic.
Related: Halloween Kills Ending Explained
Dune Movie Ending Explained: What to Expect from Part 2?
The second part of Dune is set to be released in October 2023; sadly, two full years from now. The last words we hear from Chani in part one, sum it up succinctly: "This is only the beginning." Paul is still quite young and his visions and powers are expected to keep growing. In Part 2, a lot of work will be put into his relationship with Chani: while she's portrayed as his love interest in his visions, she doesn't seem keen on him in real life, at least for the time being.
With Rabban out to get the spice - and the Fremen - we think that the conflict between them will escalate. Paul might play a key role in this.
Of course, those who can't wait might enjoy reading the book and seeing for themselves. As no adaptation is exactly identical, we will withhold book spoilers from this space and wait to see what the second movie does with the source material. A more conclusive ending will definitely be a must though!