Dune stands as a sci-fi cinematic powerhouse, drawing inspiration from Frank Herbert’s novels to present visually stunning and thematically rich narratives exploring power dynamics, political intrigue and the complexities of human existence. While the 1984 adaptation received widespread acclaim, the 2021 updated release from filmmaker Denis Villeneuve raises the bar in terms of cinematography and world-building. In a departure from the 1984 approach, Villeneuve opts to split the narrative into two separate films, with the possibility of a third installment contingent upon the success of the second part.

The colossal sandworms stand out as one of the most iconic features of the Dune films (both past and present), casting their imposing shadow over the landscape of Arrakis. These gargantuan creatures wield both terror and potential alliance, embodying chaos while holding the key to untapped power for those who can master them. Just as their real-world counterparts possess distinct anatomical components serving specific functions, the sandworms’ three-part anatomy parallels the intricate structure of the film itself. Each part serves a purpose, mirroring the narrative, character dynamics and thematic elements woven throughout the cinematic masterpiece.

Dune: Part Two resumes shortly after the events depicted in the first installment. Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), forge a fragile alliance with the Fremen. Despite Paul’s reluctance to embrace the mantle of a messiah, Lady Jessica and Stilgar (Javier Bardem) remain convinced of his destined leadership, envisioning him as the savior of Arrakis. Alongside Chani (Zendaya), Paul endeavors to avert the grim fate he foresees, one where he unwittingly leads the Fremen into a holy war against Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken), the ruthless planetary governor Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and the other noble houses.

If we are going to compare this film with the anatomy of a sandworm, we should start at the head of the beast. In the expanding universe shown in Dune: Part Two, the analogy of the “head” extends beyond mere physicality to encapsulate the essence of the narrative architecture and thematic underpinnings. Much like the sensory organs housed within the head of a worm, the central characters, themes and narrative structure serve as the faculties through which audiences navigate the intricate complexities of Arrakis, its religious society and the inhabitants, themselves.

Paul Atreides stands as the focal point, his journey of self-discovery and destiny intertwined with the broader exploration of power, religious fervor and the relentless pursuit of control over the desert planet. Just as the head directs the actions and responses of the organism, the core elements of Part Two propel the story forward, shaping its trajectory and imbuing it with depth.

Descending into the narrative structure, akin to delving into the “body” of a worm, reveals the intricate layers of complexity and depth that enrich the storytelling experience. Much like the vital organs and muscles essential for a worm’s survival contained within its body segment, the film’s various components work in tandem to construct a cohesive and immersive world. Subplots intertwine with the central storyline, offering some insights into character motivations and interpersonal dynamics (such as those with the fundamentalist views of Stilgar and the manipulative abilities of Jessica), while political intrigue adds layers of tension and suspense, propelling the plot forward (as we find out why Emperor Shaddam placed the Harkonnen house into power).

Additionally, the cultural dynamics of Arrakis shape the societal landscape, infusing the narrative with authenticity as characters navigate the nuances of their environment and heritage.

Moreover, echoing the dynamic interactions within a worm’s body segments, the components engage in a continuous exchange, exerting influence and shaping one another. Similar to how muscles and organs collaborate to facilitate movement and functionality in a worm, the film’s plot development and character interactions amalgamate into a coherent narrative, driving the story with momentum and purpose. A prime illustration of this dynamic evolution lies in the shifting relationship between Paul and Chani, oscillating between love and animosity.

Initially wary due to her encounters with the noble houses, Chani’s perception of Paul evolves as they form a bond that blossoms into love, yet subsequent events prompt a resurgence of anger as she perceives Paul’s manipulation of her people’s beliefs. These narrative intricacy layers mirror the interconnectedness within a worm’s body segments, underscoring how each element contributes to the overall tapestry and thematic depth of Dune: Part Two, fostering a cinematic experience that is both compelling and resonant.

In this analogy, the “tail” of the worm symbolically represents the concluding moments, encapsulating its resolution, thematic depth and lasting impact on audiences. Similar to the tail of a worm contributing to its locomotion and balance, the concluding elements of the film serve a crucial role in providing closure to the narrative, reinforcing its central themes. However, it is within this segment that the movie feels somewhat unfinished.

Part Two currently marks the culmination of the narrative arc. Director Denis Villeneuve has expressed interest in continuing the story with a third installment based on the Dune Messiah book, with a script currently in development. Despite this, there has been no indication to greenlight the project, leaving this sequel to conclude on a cliffhanger. Audiences are left pondering the potential ramifications of Paul’s actions, the fate of his relationship with Chani and the destiny of the human-controlled universe.

This tail of the epic saga feels incomplete, hinting at a future yet to unfold.

Dune emerges triumphantly, securing a flawless five-star rating. With visuals that rival its predecessor and an awe-inspiring score crafted by the masterful Hans Zimmer, Part Two finds itself as a frontrunner for multiple accolades in the 2025 awards season. By drawing parallels between the three segments of a sandworm and the film itself, one can appreciate the intricate interconnectedness of its storytelling elements, characters and themes.

Each component harmonizes seamlessly to create a cinematic masterpiece; however, the sole weakness lies in its tail, as the film concludes, leaving audiences yearning for more, with lingering questions that may remain unanswered if a future third installment is not realized. Dune deserves a fulfilling resolution, and the potential transformation into a trilogy could solidify its place in cinematic history as the greatest sci-fi epic of all time.