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Dune 2's Denis Villeneuve explains ending change

timothee chalamet as paul atreides, dune part two
Dune 2's Denis Villeneuve explains ending changeWarner Bros.

Dune: Part Two spoilers follow.

Dune 2 director Denis Villeneuve has explained one major change he made to the film's ending.

Based on Frank Herbert's iconic novel, Dune: Part Two sees Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet) learning the ways of the Fremen in order to avenge the deaths of House Atreides, striking up a romance with warrior Chani (Zendaya) in the process.

The ending of the film is not a definitive one, leaving the characters standing on the precipice of a holy war following the fates of Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken), Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), and his vicious nephew Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler).

In the record-breaking sequel to 2021's Dune: Part One, the sequel sees Paul inform the Emperor before he locks knives with Feyd-Rautha that he will marry his daughter, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), much to the shock of everyone in the room including Chani. In the book, however, Paul assures Chani that this is purely a political move and that his heart belongs to her.

zendaya, dune part 2
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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Explaining the reason for the change, Villeneuve told Empire that he "thinks it's much more romantic".

He continued: "It's much more emotional. We can relate to that. He has to do a political move, and it's a feudal world so in order to get power he will take Irulan's hand, but the way he expresses it in the film is much more romantic.

"I think from Chani's perspective, she is destroyed by the fact that Paul is going towards Irulan, but much more by the fact that he becomes a colonising figure, something he said to her he would never do."

It's not the only change that has been made from the book to the film, with co-writer Jon Spaihts addressing a major difference with Anya Taylor-Joy's character Alia Atreides.

rebecca ferguson , dune part two
Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros

Related: Dune 2's Denis Villeneuve addresses Florence Pugh's small role

In the book, Jessica Attreides (played by Rebecca Ferguson in the film) gives birth to the youngster after drinking the Water of Life, giving her the full powers of the Reverend Mother.

In the film, however, Alia is never born and instead communicates with Jessica in utero, with Paul seeing a vision of his sister after drinking the Water of Life himself.

Speaking to Inverse, Spaihts explained: "We were a little leery of that talking toddler, as a distraction in the middle of the film. That's a difficult thing to execute on film."

Dune: Part Two is now out in cinemas.

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