Dune 3: what could happen in a potential third film according to the books

Dune 2
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dune: Part Two might have only just hit theaters, but, if you've seen – and been blown away by – Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic, you might have questions about what could happen next in a potential Dune 3. 

We've got you covered. Below, we've broken down the broad plot of the next book in the Dune series, detailing the key events that are likely to take place in Dune 3. But, we should note that a third film hasn't actually been confirmed just yet, and both Dune and Dune 2 made some tweaks to Frank Herbert's source material. 

We should also note that the following contains major spoilers for both Dune 2 and a potential Dune 3! Turn back now if you're not up to date! 

If you are curious about what might come next, though, head to the below. 

What could happen in Dune 3?

Timothee Chalamet as Paul in Dune: Part Two

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Dune: Part Two ends with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) ascending to become Emperor, though the other noble houses refuse to accept his rule. So, Paul unleashes a holy war against them, and the film ends before we see the fallout. 

But what happens next? The answers lie in the first sequel to Frank Herbert's Dune novel, which is titled Dune: Messiah. It picks up 12 years after the events of the first book, and, in this bleak future, 61 billion people have died as a consequence of the religious cult surrounding Paul. He's far from happy about this and regrets many past decisions. His problem, though, is that if he calls off the war he looks weak and his reign could collapse, and if he dies he becomes a martyr. 

What follows is pretty complicated, so we'll do our best to keep things simple. Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh in the movies), who is in a political marriage with Paul, begins secretly slipping Chani (Zendaya) contraceptives; Paul doesn't want to have a child with Irulan, and so she worries for her place in his reign. Irulan is also allied with the Bene Gesserit, who have plans to continue the Atreides line through her child – but the Bene Gesserit are also working against Paul with some other factions. 

Paul, though, is aware of Irulan's manoeuvring. As he has previously had a vision that showed him Chani would die if she had his child, he does nothing about the contraceptives. Chani later becomes pregnant anyway after switching up her diet so Irulan couldn't keep giving her the contraceptive, but ingesting it for so long puts the pregnancy at risk anyway. 

Meanwhile, Paul is given a "ghola" – a clone of his old pal Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa), but it's actually a pretty sinister gift: this Duncan has been programmed to kill Paul. A separate attack blinds Paul, but, thanks to his psychic powers, he's able to "see" by experiencing visions of the world around him that run concurrent to his life. Essentially, he's constantly, psychically watching the present moment. 

Chani later dies while giving birth to twins – one boy and one girl. Paul did not foresee a son, only a daughter. In the aftermath of Chani's death, the Duncan clone tries to murder Paul. In the process, though, it ends up regaining Duncan's consciousness. 

Another attack on Paul leaves him without his prophetic visions, so, following Fremen tradition, he enters exile in the desert as a blind man. It's uncertain if he lives or dies, though everyone assumes he'll perish. It's also a tidy solution to Paul's big dilemma: by vanishing in this way, he's no longer as impressive as a savior figure. 

Paul's exile leaves the Fremen supporting his children. Paul's sister Alia, briefly seen in Dune 2 and played by Anya Taylor-Joy, acts as regent while the twins – named Leto and Ghanima – are still too young to rule, and she also begins a romance with Duncan. 

While Alia executes some of Paul's enemies, she doesn't hurt Irulan, who disavows the Bene Gesserit and instead pledges loyalty to Paul's twins. 

That's where the novel ends, and so presumably would Dune 3 – though the story continues across multiple further books. 

Dune: Part Two is in theaters now. You can keep up to date on everything else the year has in store with our guide to all the upcoming major movie release dates, and for more on Dune 2, see our deep dives below:

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.