My Dune 3 ending theory

My Dune 3 ending theory

A few years ago, when I first heard Denis Villeneuve will direct a Dune movie, I started reading the first book because I love Science Fiction and really liked all of his previous movies so I was curious to see what this one was about. I was drawn in to this universe completely and read the whole main series including the final two books written by Frank Herbert’s son and Kevin Anderson.

I really liked the first movie, but the second one which I saw in theatre two weeks ago amazed was even better in my opinion and one of the best cinema experiences of my life. I have seen lots of discussions about it in the last weeks and I have been speculating a lot myself about what the third movie will be about.

The second movie starts deviating more from the books than the first one. I enyojed all those deviations because each one made sense in my opinion an I am not a book purist who thinks each aspect need to be traslated directly to a movie - books and movies are different mediums after all.

Book deviations

Still, there is a little hint about these deviations in the books. When he first has his visions, it is said that

He had seen two main branching along the way ahead-in on he confronted and evil old Baron and said: “Hello, Grandfather.” The thought of that path and what lay along it sickened him.

I always interpreted this as Paul seeing a future where he would join his grandfather, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. But in the movie Paul ends up greeting the Baron saying “Hello, Grandfather” and immediately kills him by stabbing him in the neck the Fremen way. It is not possible for Alia, his younger sister, to kill the Baron like in the books because in the movie timeline she has not even been born yet.

So, it can be argued that everything that happens in the movie is exactly what Paul in the books saw as a possible future but did not dare choose because he was afraid or sickened by it.

Movie openings

Both Dune movies open with a single line that can be heard during the opening credits. It is not clear by whom it is said, only that the voice is so deep and distrubing it can barely be recognized as human. The first movie opens with the quote

Dreams are messages from the deep

In the second one we hear:

Power Over Spice Is Power Over All

I think the voice we hear is Leto II, Paul’s son, at the time of the fourth book in the Dune series, so 3.500 years after the events of the movies. At that point, Leto II is transformed to a worm-human hybrid and reigns the imperium as God-Emperor. Because he has reigned for so long, humanity barely remembers how he got to power an what happened before that. Leto alone remembers history, and through his ancestral memory he remembers ALL human history, even events thousands of years before he was born. So if he says some event in the past happened in a certain way, for the people of his time it means that the events happened that way because there is no way to argue with him. He forms history the way he likes it. His main goal is to teach humanity a lesson - what he calls the “Golden Path” - and to put those lessons so firmly into people’s minds that they will be remembered forever. That means, no matter which path his father took - the “Hello Grandfather” path or the book path - history is written by Leto in a way that serves his means of teaching a lesson best. Paul in the movie universe might have chosen the book path, but Leto’s primary goal is not telling history for the sake of just remembering it exactly the way it was. He twists it any way he likes and nobody can stop him.

Image of Leto II
Leto II God Emperor of Dune

Dune Part Three

So, what does this mean for the third movie? First, I am quite sure it will diverge even more from the books than the second one, as by the time the second movie ends, many things are different between movies and books (Spacing Guild, reason for the Jihad, Paul and Chani etc.).

I think that after the whole story of Dune Messiah is told, we will get one last bit of fan service, which is an epiologue where we see Leto II revealing that he is the one who told the entire story (talking either directly to us or to Siona). He will tell us that he might not have been entirely truthful about everything that happened, but it does not matter anyway as all that matters is that we as viewers have learned the right lessons from the story, with the right lesson being what he considers to be right.

So the final message of the Dune trilogy would be that whoever holds control over the narrative of history has control over the future, as that person can decide upon which lessons humanity learns from its own past. Any resource, be it spice or oil, can give you enormous power over the present, but such power never lasts long, as any resource becomes less relevant eventually (even spice gets replaced at some point in the Dune series). For me, that is one of those lessons taught by the Dune series that is just as relevant today as it has ever been.

Shout out

I did not create this theory myself but just put together ideas taken from Reddit and Youtube, mainly from the awesome SciFi channel on Youtube that is Quinn’s Ideas.