Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides with glowing blue eyes and wind swept hair in 'Dune Part 2.'

Does Paul Atreides Turn Into a Sandworm? It’s Complicated

If you’ve seen Dune: Part One but haven’t read the books, you may have heard vague rumors that Paul Atreides turns into a sandworm at some point. Even if you’ve read Frank Herbert’s Dune, you might know that there are about a million books that come after it, and things get increasingly weird, and also Spice changes you somehow, and then there’s this wild book cover:

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Vintage cover of Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune, showing a sandworm with a human face.
(Putnam)

What’s going on there!? Does Paul Atreides turn into a sandworm? Does Timothée Chalamet turn into a worm in Dune: Part Two?

Unfortunately, no. But here’s why you may have thought that he does!

Warning: this next section contains major spoilers for Frank Herbert’s Dune series.

Who exactly turns into a worm in Dune?

In Frank Herbert’s Dune saga, Paul has two children, Leto II and Ghanima. The third book, Children of Dune, takes place after Paul’s rise to power as the messiah of the Fremen and the emperor of the known universe. Paul has faded into obscurity in the desert, and now his children fight against the influence of Alia.

In Children of Dune, Leto II does something incredible: he merges with a sandworm to save humanity and give himself near immortality. He does so by attaching sandtrout (the larval forms of sandworms) to his body until they form a kind of exoskeleton, and over the next few thousand years, they transform him completely.

The fourth book of the series, God Emperor of Dune, focuses on Leto in his sandworm state, 3,500 years after the events of Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune. However, things don’t go well for Leto: he rules as a despot, and sparks another rebellion on Arrakis. Turns out there’s a downside to living your life as a gigantic worm.

Paul may not turn into a worm in Dune: Part Two, but he does ride one

If you’re disappointed that you don’t get to watch Timothée Chalamet undergo a morbidly fascinating transformation, don’t worry—there’s plenty of mysticism and sci fi weirdness in Dune: Part Two! The trailers for the film hint at Paul’s inaugural ride on a sandworm, and the scene is everything a Dune fan could hope for.

Dune: Part Two comes out in theaters on March 1.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>