Denis Villeneuve Sets the Record Straight on Paul Atreides as a Messiah in ‘Dune 2’

This post is by Jason Hellerman from No Film School

The reason I harp on media literacy so much on this site is because I think audiences have gotten worse at reading directorial intention at the cinemas. The latest case in this misunderstanding comes from Dune: Part II.


In the movie, Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet, is exalted as a messiah figure. But the core of the movie is a critique of these kinds of figures.

When the film ends, it is clear that Paul has let all these prophecies go to his head and made a heel turn, leaving his love interest, Chani, to marry the disgraced Emperor’s daughter so he can rule the galaxy. And he also starts a war with many other houses.

But some people watching the movie missed this message. In fact, there were many large, also on Twitter and other forms of social media debating what the movie is really about.

So here’s a clip of director Denis Villeneuve setting the record straight.

Villeneuve wants to follow up Frank Herbert’s intention to create a warning against messianic figures. To do this, he transformed Chani’s character to give her a bigger role that could help us have a distance to Paul Atreides and question his decisions and choices inside the movie.

Her character arc is leaving the old world behind and questioning the rules and prophecies that were delivered and no longer make sense to her.

This is a direct commentary on the dangers of messianic figures and the distrust we should have for Paul Atreides moving forward.

Let me know what you think in the comments.