There’s a Good Reason Why Paul’s Visions in Dune 2 Are So Cryptic

“His gift of prophecy is inconstant and unreliable.”

Warner Bros.
Dune: Part Two

In Dune: Part Two, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is frequently plagued by visions of intergalactic devastation brought on by his holy war. “All my visions lead to horror,” he solemnly tells Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). It’s the reason that he is reluctant to embrace the prophecy that he is the Fremen’s promised messiah, the Lisan al Gaib: If his visions come to pass, then his army of zealots could destroy the universe.

But Paul’s visions have never been all that clear-cut. Since Dune: Part One, his visions — brought on by exposure to the spice — are more impressionistic than prophetic. He had visions of a friendship between him and Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun), a Fremen whom he ended up killing in a duel at the end of Part One. He had visions of Chani (Zendaya) in a white robe, leading him into the desert. But in Part Two, his visions of Jamis continue — with Jamis giving him advice that his real-life counterpart never would’ve. And his visions of a woman leading him into the desert morphs into his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), leading him through a battlefield littered with dying and dead bodies.

Dune 2’s Visions Explained

Drinking the Water of Life unlocks the memories of the past and future for Lady Jessica, who urges Paul to drink the sandworm poison as well.

Warner Bros.

But this doesn’t mean Paul’s visions are inaccurate, nor are they simply metaphorical (like equating the vision of Jessica leading Paul into battle with her spreading the Lisan al Gaib prophecy within the Fremen community). Per Dune: Part Two co-writer Jon Spaihts, these changing visions reflect the constantly shifting futures that Paul is able to see.

“One of the best things in the device of Paul's gift of prophecy, in the novel, is that his vision of the future is imprecise and in constant motion,” Spaihts tells Inverse. “Merely to glimpse the future... changes the future. And so as Paul sees the future happen, the thoughts he has about what he sees change the future he's looking at, and as he dreams or has visions, he sees multiple possible futures.”

Spaihts cites the instances in the novel when Paul foresees his own death as proof that “there are blind spots in his prophetic landscape that he can't see into.”

What Could This Mean for Dune 3?

“All my visions lead to horror.”

Warner Bros.

Paul’s visions are accurate, to an extent. His visions “often lead him truly in the direction he wants to go and allow him as a war leader to score tremendous victories against the Harkonnens,” Spaihts says.

“But his gift of prophecy is inconstant and unreliable, and some days serves him better than others,” he adds. “At times he's buttressed by a certainty around the future, and other times he doesn't know where he's going, and he can't see it.”

At the end of Dune: Part Two, Paul embarks on his holy war against the other Great Houses, ordering his army to “lead them to paradise.” But despite the certainty with which Paul seems to start this war — and with which he claims that Chani will “come to understand... I’ve seen it” — Spaits’ observations about his visions seem to suggest that all is not certain. Perhaps it indicates that by the time director Denis Villeneuve gets around to Dune 3, everything won’t play out as Paul intends. Maybe it could even indicate that events won’t play out exactly as they happen in Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah. With the amount of changes that Villeneuve and Spaihts made in adapting the story of Dune, it wouldn’t be an impossibility that we could see a different fate for Chani, for example (whose tragic fate at the hands of Irulan is harder to imagine with her resistance to Paul’s mission in Part Two).

As for what will happen in Dune 3, Spaihts is mum. “That is in Denis’ hands and it's really not for me to talk about it,” he says.

Dune: Part Two is playing in theaters now.

Related Tags