The successful box office returns of Denis Villeneuve's Dune: Part Two almost guarantees that its sequel, Dune Messiah, will get made.

However, Villeneuve told Empire that he needs two things to return to Arrakis: a strong screenplay and for the sequel to be better than the first two movies.

Since the director spent six years on Dune parts one and two, it may take some time before we see Messiah on screen.

So to stave off the waiting, let's take a look on what Dune Messiah is all about.

Dune Messiah

In the book, Dune ends with Paul taking the throne from Emperor Shaddam IV and marrying Princess Irulan to secure his claim. As he takes control of the Empire, he realizes that in achieving his goal, he would also no longer be able to stop the Fremen's jihad (holy war) since their belief in him — as the Lisan al Gaib — has taken a life of its own.

If you haven't seen Dune: Part Two, spoiler alert.

In the movie, it ends similarly. We see Paul and the Fremen decide to attack the Landsraad — collectively the Great Houses — whose ships were orbiting Arrakis. Even after the emperor (descended from one of the Great Houses, House Corrino) ceded — albeit reluctantly — his authority to Paul, the other Houses refused to acknowledge this, which was also one of the reasons Paul agreed to the attack.

In Dune Messiah, it's 12 years into Paul's reign as Emperor. The High Council, composed of the other Great Houses, to whom the Emperor is supposed to answer, hold very little sway.

Paul now has to contend with the consequences for his role as the Fremen messiah and their jihad, which as he foresaw, resulted in the deaths of billions. He also has to deal with the Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild and the Tleilaxu (or Bene Tleilax) who are now working together to destabilize and undermine his rule.

The Tleilaxu (aka Face Dancers) and the return of Duncan Idaho

Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Dune poster

The three factions come together to introduce a clone of Paul's childhood mentor, Duncan Idaho, who died protecting him in the first book. This clone is given to the Emperor by the Spacing Guild navigator and made by the Tleilaxu. This version of Duncan is name Hayt, and its mission is to sow disorder within Paul's circle.

Paul's acceptance of the ghola of Duncan has caused unrest among the Fremen who are distrustful of such technologies. A ghola is an artificially created human replicated from the cells of the dead. They were created in Axlotl tanks by the Tleilaxu.

His reign in uncertain due to the lack of heirs. Chani, Paul's concubine (the Princess Irulan is his wife in name only), is unable to conceive due to Irulan given her contraceptives on the orders of the Bene Gesserit, because they — as well as the other factions — are afraid of what the Lisan al Gaib's child would turn out to be.

Paul knows of what's going on: Chani's inability to conceive and Irulan's involvement in the plot. However, he lets it happen because he has foreseen that Chani will die in childbirth and he doesn't want to lose her.

On the other hand, Chani also becomes aware of what has been stopping her from conceiving (as Irulan has been feeding her contraceptives) and changes to an ancient Fremen fertility diet (one with greater quantities of spice and therefore dangerous) and she subsequently conceives.

One of Paul's former Fedaykin commandos, Otheym, tells him that there's evidence of a Fremen conspiracy against him. He gives him his dwarf Tleilaxu Bijaz, who can remember faces and names in great detail. Paul accepts the gift grudgingly as he sees this as part of the Tleilaxu plot.

The Fremen are even more distrustful of Paul's sister, Alia, who was born fully mature due to her being in the Lady Jessica's womb as she ingested spice to become the Fremen's Reverend Mother. In Messiah, she's now a fully grown adult. She also begins a relationship with Hayt, the ghola Duncan.

The conspiracy against the Atreides

His soldiers then attack the conspirators as the others set off a weapon called a stone burner (bought from the Tleilaxu). This destroys the area where Paul is and blind him.

The conspiracy is further unraveled when the high priest of Paul's church, Korba, is revealed to be one of his enemies. Paul places Hayt in charge of interrogating Bijaz. However, Bijaz is secretly a Tleilaxu master. He uses this time to condition Hayt with words and whistles in order to control him.

Tragedy strikes when Chani dies giving birth to twins, Leto and Ghanima. The twins are a lot like Alia, pre-born, due to Paul's nature as well as Chani's own ingesting of the spice essence when she was pregnant. Paul finds out, who foresaw Ghanima but not Leto's.

As Paul succumbs to grief, his reaction triggers the pre-set conditions in Hayt and he tries to kill Paul. However, he reacts against this programming as his body — Duncan Idaho's body — remembers and his genetic memory fully returns and with that the real Duncan Idaho.

Scytale, disguised as Otheym's daughter, holds a knife to both Leto and Ghanima in their cribs offers Paul a bargain: he will revive Chani as a ghola in exchange for Paul's abdication as Emperor and his exile. However, Paul is able to tap into the infant Leto's eyes through their blood ties and he throws a dagger to kill Scytale.

Now, Paul's visions are gone and he is completely blind. He chooses to abide by Fremen tradition and walks into the desert alone, which wins his children the Fremen's fealty. Leto, who will be styled Leto II, will inherit the Golden Lion throne. As he is still an infant, Alia is named his children's regent.

At the end of the novel, Duncan states how ironic it is that it was Paul and Chani's death that made them triumph against their enemies. Paul got what he wanted in the end: escaping deification and returning to being just a man. His walk into the desert also guaranteed the support of the Fremen for the Atreides line.

Stilgar interrupts Duncan's rumination and tells him to comfort Alia. He then reports that he has carried out the executions of the Spacing Guild, Tleilaxu, Bene Gesserit representatives and “a few others.” With their deaths, Paul and Chani's children are supposedly safe.