What Happens To The Emperor After Dune 2
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What Happens To The Emperor After Dune 2

Warning! This article contains spoilers for Dune: Part Two.




  • Paul wins over Emperor Shaddam in Dune 2 without killing him, securing his power and controlling his legacy.
  • In the books, Shaddam is exiled to Salusa Secundus after being defeated by Paul, who outmaneuvers him.
  • Paul allows Shaddam to retire there with the promise of making it a lush world, but he has an ulterior motive.

After the events of Dune: Part Two, many are wondering what happens to Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken). Throughout the first film, Emperor Shaddam was the unseen puppet master behind many of the horrible acts against House Atreides, including the death of its patriarch. However, Shaddam is mostly absent from the story throughout the second film. Dune 2 instead focuses on Paul Atreides’ (Timothée Chalamet) decision to meet his destiny despite the bloodshed that would come from it.

Paul eventually faces off against Shaddam after he drinks the Water of Life and rallies the Fremen to his cause. Though he does not kill Shaddam, Paul does end Dune 2 victorious over him by successfully convincing Shaddam to let him marry his daughter and killing Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), who acts as Shaddam’s champion in a duel. Though the Great Houses do not accept the results, Paul deposes Shaddam, with Dune 2‘s ending focusing on Paul becoming the prophesied Lisan al Gaib as well as Emperor over Shaddam’s fate.


Who Is Emperor Shaddam IV In Dune 2? Christopher Walken’s Character & Role Explained

One of the most important characters in Dune didn’t show up in the first movie, but Walken’s Emperor is poised to play a major role in Part Two.

Emperor Shaddam Is Exiled After Dune 2

Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV in Dune: Part Two.

Though his fate is not specified in the film, according to the books, Shaddam was exiled to Salusa Secundus. Salusa Secundus was briefly glimpsed in the first film when Piter de Vries (David Dastmalchian) goes there to see if the Sardaukar, an elite fighting group, were behind the attack on the Atriedes home planet Caladan. The planet was a prison for those who broke imperial law and was thought to be the breeding ground for the Sardaukar.

After his defeat, Shaddam was allowed by Paul to retire there with the promise of making it a lush world. However, this move was actually to rob Shaddam of his Sardaukar training ground while still letting Paul appear as the bigger person. Shaddam resided there and remained on the planet for the rest of the story, plotting to take his empire back.

Why Didn’t Paul Atreides Kill Emperor Shaddam in Dune 2?

Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV sitting in a garden in Dune: Part Two.

Paul left Shaddam alive to ensure a natural passing of power and to destroy Shaddam’s legacy. With his ascension as Lisan al Gaib as well as his position as the leader of his house, Paul amasses more power than any other house and avenges his father’s death. He also makes sure that Shaddam cannot truly make a move against his new empire as he is now part of the family and ends the immediate Harkonnen bloodline through both the marriage and the duel. Through this, Paul has taken away Shaddam’s legacy, which, in Dune‘s world, is a fate worse than death.

By not killing Shaddam at the end of Dune: Part Two, Paul controls the narrative of his ascension. This control is paramount, especially as Paul begins to teeter between hero and villain. Joining with his family keeps Shaddam’s line alive, but under Paul’s control as he clings to his more innocent aspirations despite the coming Holy War. Though Shaddam might not appear in the third film, his actions against Paul demonstrate the old maxim that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Dune Part 2 Poster Showing Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Zendaya as Chani Holding Daggers

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two is the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film that covers the novel’s events by Frank Herbert. The movie continues the quest of Paul Atreides on a journey of revenge against those who slew his family. With insight into the future, Atreides may be forced to choose between his one true love and the universe’s fate. 

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Legendary Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

$122 Million

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