Here’s What Happened at the End of DUNE: PART ONE—Main Character Deaths, Fates, and More, Explained

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune brought Frank Herbert’s Arrakis back to the big screen after more than 35 years. But we’ve had to wait longer than expected see how the director will continue bringing Paul Atreides’ story to life. Fortunately the sequels must flow, and Dune: Part Two is finally arriving in theaters on March 1. Who will rejoin the battle with House Harkonnen and the Emperor when it does? This is where every important character from Dune: Part One ended up in the first film.

Note: This article contains no spoilers. It is based entirely on what happened in Villeneuve’s movie and does not rely on Herbert’s books or even Dune: Part Two‘s promos, which answer some questions left by the film. If you want to check them out, you can find them at the bottom of this post.


Duke Leto Atreides

Duke Leto lies dying and not moving naked in a chair in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The Emperor gave House Atreides of the planet Caladan control of Arrakis and the Spice Melange trade, but not to enrich Duke Leto’s family. The Emperor feared the growing influence of Atreides over the other Great Houses. He sent Leto to die on Arrakis in a war with the galaxy’s richest family, House Harkonnen. That conflict promised to weaken both clans, strengthening the Emperor’s position as ruler.

The Emperor did pick a side, though. He offered his elite soldiers of the Sardaukar to Baron Harkonnen to aid in the surprise attack on House Atreides. Leto was also betrayed by one of his own men and taken prisoner by the Baron. In his last act, a weakened and naked Leto bit down on a secret poisoned tooth, killing both himself and many Harkonnen men in the room. Unfortunately his intended target Baron Harkonnen survived.

Read More:
What Is Spice in Dune and Why Is It Important?
Everything You Need to Know About Arrakis from Dune

Dr. Wellington Yueh

Dr. Yueh looks forlorn in Dune: Part One
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The person who betrayed House Atreides was Dr. Wellington Yueh. The Harkonnens had previously captured and tortured his wife and used her as leverage to make Yueh aid in the surprise attack. To save his wife, the doctor brought down the protective shields on Arrakis and paralyzed Leto with a poison dart. But he was also the one who put the fake poisoned tooth in Leto’s mouth with instructions to kill the Baron. Yueh also told Leto he would do what he could to help Paul. That including planting a survival Fremkit and Atreides homing beacon for any members of House Atreides who made it out of the attack alive. Paul and his mother found it, along with Leto’s family ring, which Yueh had saved.

Dr. Yueh’s efforts to protect his wife were for nothing. Baron Harkonnen “fulfilled” his end of the bargain when he killed the doctor and said that was how Yueh could join his already dead wife.

Duncan Idaho

Jason Momoa lies dead with his eyes open in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The skilled Swordmaster and Paul’s confidant, tutor, and friend was the member of House Atreides who developed a relationship with the Fremen ahead of the clan’s move to Arrakis. Duncan made it possible for Duke Leto to reach a quick understanding with Fremen leader Stilgar.

Duncan survived the Harkonnen attack and located Paul and Lady Jessica in the desert. He then died heroically protecting his new Duke and Jessica while fending off soldiers of the Sardaukar. His sacrifice let the two escape.

Gurney Halleck

Gurney Halleck with a weapon recoils from a large orange blast during an attack in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The surly War Master of House Atreides, who also aided in the combat training of Paul, bravely led soldiers directly into battle against the Harkonnen forces. That was the last time he appeared in the film, which never revealed his fate during the attack. What we did see of the battle’s aftermath was captured Atreides soldiers beheaded while on their knees.

Thufir Hawat

Thufir Hawat, a Mentat in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

House Atreides’ Mentat (a type of human computer), Thufir Hawat, wanted to resign as head of security after a hidden Harkonnen assassin almost killed Paul shortly after the clan’s move to Arrakis. Duke Leto refused to let the ashamed Thufir resign.

Thufir was still with the family on the desert planet at the time of the Harkonnen attack. The movie did not reveal what happened to him after the Baron reclaimed the planet.

Read More:
What Is Spice in Dune and Why Is It Important?

Paul Atreides

Paul Atreides in his stillsuit in front of Chani in hers out in the desert in Dune: Part One
Warner Bros./Legendary

At the end of the film Stilgar welcomed Paul into the tribe after the new Duke of House Atreides defeated the Fremen Jamis in a fight to the death. Paul had previously seen visions of him and Jamis being close, with Jamis also serving as a mentor. One of those visions had even helped Paul and his mother survive a wild storm that should have killed them. But the two never became friends. An angry Jamis challenged Paul to a duel. It was the first time Paul killed anyone.

His mother, who Paul somehow knew was pregnant despite her not telling anyone, did not want her son to stay on Arrakis despite the Fremen welcoming him as one of their own. She wanted Paul to flee the planet. He refused to leave. The new Duke said, “My road leads into the desert.” Mother and son then went with the Fremen and saw one of the planet’s natives riding a sandworm.

Paul Atreides and his mother Lady Jessica in Fremen stillsuits without masks in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Paul also formed an immediate connection with Chani, the girl he’d seen countless times in his dreams and spice-induced visions. Some of those visions saw her kill him on Arrakis. Others saw them as a couple. And one saw her standing beside him as the galaxy’s new ruler in a holy war.

Whether Paul is truly the powerful Kwisatz Haderach the Bene Gesserit spent thousands of years trying to create is still unknown. He did display some powerful traits the foretold messiah would possess, and spice did cause some of his most vivid visions, but even the Bene Gesseri did not yet know if he truly is. Regardless, the witches laid the groundwork for the Fremen of Arrakis to think Paul was their prophesied savior known as the Lisan al Gaib (“Voice from the Outer World”). Whether he is or not doesn’t seem as important than the fact many Fremen already believe he is.

Read More:
What Is Dune’s Kwisatz Haderach?
What You Need to Know About Dune‘s Sandworms

Lady Jessica

Rebecca Ferguson's Lady Jessica dressed like a Fremen in a hood and stillsuit in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Lady Jessica, Leto Atreides’ concubine, is member of the Bene Gesserit. She defied her order and had a son rather than a daughter. The leader of the Bene Gesserit accused Jessica of wanting to give birth to the Kwisatz Haderach, but Jessica seemingly wanted to give her love a male heir.

Her place in the order, as well as her son’s potential to be the hero and superbeing who will “bridge space and time,” are why Baron Harkonnen did not have both executed immediately. Instead he ordered his men to abandon the two prisoners in the sands of Arrakis. He wanted the planet to kill them. That would eliminate a major threat while keeping his promise to the powerful and prescient Bene Gesserit.

Lady Jessica showed great trepidation and worry during the film’s final ominous moments as she watched her son Paul follow the Fremen.


Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

Naked Baron Harkonnen covered in a black liquid from a bath in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Baron Harkonnen retook Arrakis, killed Duke Leto, and decimated the Atreides forces. But his victory came with a price. He once again rules over the most powerful planet in the galaxy and the valuable spice needed for interstellar travel, but Duke Leto’s poisoned tooth left the Baron in a weakened state. He was still not fully healed when seen exiting his black bath.

House Harkonnen also no longer has its own Mentat. Leto’s fatal poison attacked killed Piter de Vries. Most importantly, the clan also let a very dangerous, skilled enemy escape. The Baron believes Paul is dead when the new Duke potentially now has a million Fremen allies when the Harkonnens believe only 50,000 of the natives exist.

Glossu Rabban Harkonnen

Dave Bautista as the bald, pale Glossu Rabban Harkonnen in his armor in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The Baron’s big, tactless, and quick-tempered nephew Glossu Rabban was furious when the Emperor took Arrakis from his family. The brutish enforcer took his anger out by beheading Atreides soldiers on their knees after House Harkonnen retook Arrakis.

Rabban was also the one to report back to his uncle on efforts to track down the escaped Lady Jessica and Paul. He said there was no way Paul and his mother could have survived the storm they flew into. The Baron believed the report the pair must certainly be dead.

Piter de Vries

A bald man lies dead with his arms near heis neck in in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Piter de Vries was a trusted, high-ranking member of House Harkonnen. The Mentat was present for the Baron’s secret meeting with the Bene Gesserit’s leader, the Reverend Mother, where they discussed the upcoming attack on House Atreides. Piter was also the one tasked with meeting with the Emperor’s Sardaukar soldiers, who also fought alongside the Harkonnen.

The Harkonnen Mentat died from Duke Leto’s poisoned fake tooth.

Read More:
A Glossary of Important Terms in Dune
How to Pronounce Everything in Dune


Dr. Liet Kynes

Blue-eyed Dr. Kynes in her still suit lies in the sand looking up in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The Judge of the Change on Arrakis refused to help or even vouch for House Atreides despite clear Harkonnen malfeasance. The former rulers of the planet did everything they could to stall Atreides’ production of spice. Dr. Liet Kynes simply would not cross her Emperor, who wanted Duke Leto to fail.

But the woman who lived in two different worlds did help Paul and his mother survive after the Harkonnen attack. Kynes served the Emperor, but she was also Fremen. She also came to believe Paul might truly be her peoples’ Lisan al Gaib. After helping the new Duke and Lady Jessica escape, Kynes tried to make her way out into the sands of Arrakis. There members of the Sardaukar attacked her for betraying the Emperor. In her final moments she pounded the sand to call forth the only creature she worshipped, Shai-Hulud. A sandworm then came and consumed both her and the soldiers.

Read More:
Who Are the Fremen in Dune


Javier Bardem as Stilgar out in the desert in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr (one of the many secret Fremen cave communities on the planet) tried to kill Lady Jessica after his tribe found the mother and her son alone in the desert. His attempt was not born of hatred or malice, but rather pragmatism. Stilgar thought that, unlike Paul, Lady Jessica would only be a burden who could offer the group nothing in the harsh sands. She bested him and spared his life, at which point he realized how powerful she is.

Stilgar, who had come to an understanding with Duke Leto, named Paul a member of the Fremen after Paul killed Jamis. They ended the film together and with a common enemy Stilgar has long hated: House Harkonnen.


Zendaya as Chani with a hood on her head stands in the desert in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Despite being seen throughout the film in Paul’s visions and dreams, Chani only briefly appeared in the flesh at the end of the film. She’s part of Stilgar’s tribe and gave Paul her family’s crysknife so he could die with honor. When Paul defeated Jamis Chani then helped lead him and his mother to the rest of her people. She was last seen smiling at Paul as they watched a Fremen ride atop a sandworm.


A man with a beard and blue eyes lies dead in the sand in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

Jamis died in one-on-one combat against Paul Atreides. The Fremen challenged him after Stilgar agreed to let Paul and his mother both live. Only after Jamis’ death was Paul considered one of the Fremen. “A life for a life.”

Shadout Mapes

A woman in a hooded robe lies dead with a knife in her heart in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The new house servant to Lady Jessica believed Paul was the prophesied Lisan al Gaib, as did many other Fremen. During their first meeting Shadout presented Jessica with a crysknife, a sacred weapon made from the tooth of a dead sandworm. (The same type of weapon Paul used in his fight with Jamis.)

Shadout was stabbed in the heart during the Harkonnen attack and died.


Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

The Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit in her high black hat and veil in Dune
Warner Brothers/Legendary Pictures

The leader of the Bene Gesserit, and Truthsayer to the Emperor himself, believes Lady Jessica disobeyed commands to have a daughter because Jessica hoped her son would be the Kwisatz Haderach. The Reverend Mother also would have killed Paul with the Gom Jabbar if he failed the order’s humanity test. (The hand in the box scene.) She wanted to make sure Paul could control himself, unlike an animal. If he couldn’t he’d be too dangerous to let live because of the powers he inherited from his mother.

The Reverend Mother is unsure if Paul is the messiah the group has spent a thousands of years trying to create by crossing bloodlines in an effort to put humanity on a path to enlightment. She knows he might be, though. So despite conspiring with Baron Harkonnen to destroy House Atreides and kill Duke Leto, she also demanded both Lady Jessica and Paul not be harmed. The Baron would not break his vow because the powerful Bene Gesserit would easily unearth his treachery thanks their super human abilities.

Read More:

Who Are the Bene Gesserit in Dune?
What Is Dune‘s Mysterious Gom Jabbar Test?
What Is Dune‘s Litany Against Fear?


Now that you’re fully refreshed on Dune: Part One it’s time to prepare for battle in Dune: Part Two. Don’t be afraid of the coming war, though. Remember: fear is the mind killer.

First Look At Dune: Part Two Provides New Images, Promises An Epic Love Story And War
Dune: Part Two’s First Trailer Brings The Sandworm Action
New Dune: Part Two Trailer Finally Reveals Christopher Walken’s Emperor
Dune: Part Two’s Latest Trailer Showcases Romance, War, And Worms
Everything We Know About Dune: Part Two

Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.

Top Stories
Trending Topics