In the mini-series adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune (2000), Muad'Dib (Paul Atreides) does not become godlike by the end of the movie. At the end of the 1984 movie

Muad'Dib became god-like, e.g he could control the weather with his mind amongst other powers. However, in the 2000 mini-series, Muad'Dib, although divinely destined, was more human-like, and in the following Children of Dune he even went crazy and died. Why is this?

  • 4
    The mini-series was FAR more faithful to the novels than the 1984 movie. Both are good, but the series is more accurate.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 17:17

6 Answers 6


I have never seen the series, but it sounds like it is closer to the novels than the 1984 movie ever was. The movie did not stick very closely to the original novel at all.

However he does have extraordinary abilities and training. As described in the novels:

  • Due to his genetic heritage and the spice he is consuming, he is prescient. I would not go as far as saying he is omniscient, but he can look into the immediate future and see events happening far away from him on other planets. In Dune Messiah, for example, the conspirators take measures to hide their conversations from this ability.

  • He has had an incredible upbringing as the heir to a Major House, with the finest tutors - schooled in literature, music, diplomacy, politics, tactics and fighting skills in particular. He is designed to be the perfect leader of a Major House - a ruler of a planet in a time where political assassinations and war seem common.

  • He has had Bene Gesserit training, so has an uncommon understanding of his own physiology and psychology - able to control his body in a way that normal people cannot. By reading subtle signs he can also tell what people are thinking and whether they are lying. He is also able to control them for very short periods through voice commands using a skill the BG call "the Voice".

  • As a result of his fighting and Bene Gesserit skills, coupled with his growing prescience, he is able to fight and best anyone in one-to-one combat.

The Bene Gesserit also seeded particularly rough planets like Arrakis with legends that a Bene Gesserit visiting the planet could take advantage of. Paul and Jessica use these legends explicitly to gain an advantage on Arrakis. As a result the Fremen accord him the status of the ultimate leader to unite the different clans.

So Paul was not 'god like', but had specific advantages over others around him that enabled him to manipulate an entire culture (the Fremen) to rally to his cause.

Coupled with his training in fighting skills and tactics, the Fremen rise to be the dominant fighting force in the galaxy, exceeding the Emperors Sardaukar. Coupled with his complete control over the spice, this is the reason he rises to be Emperor - not some mysterious godlike powers.

  • 6
    I have read the first three books in the Dune series. Indeed the two Sci-Fi Channel miniseries were much closer to the books than the David Lynch movie. The Lynch movie made some very questionable changes, like the "weirding modules", but I can't think of any major changes made by the miniseries. If you are a fan of Dune you should watch them sometime.
    – steveha
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 4:29
  • @steveha - thanks for the recommendation Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:21
  • 1
    See "Jodorowsky's Dune" for some more interesting background to cinematic versions of Dune. imdb.com/title/tt1935156
    – user23715
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 17:10
  • Worth noting that Paul also has undergone introductory Mentat training. Commented May 28 at 19:13

The 1984 film was much more a stand-alone concept. It had been in development for many years, taken away from Jodorowsky, and then Lynch ran out of money and had to just wrap it up. This can be seen in the narration gloss that skips ahead in the story; and in a tendency to re-use action shots in the battle scenes.

But the 2000 mini-series had a goal to be more faithful to the source material and give more of the story. In the novel, Paul acquires many "godlike" powers, but psychic control of the weather is not among them.

  • 2
    Here's a great story from Jodorowsky about developing Dune duneinfo.com/unseen/jodorowsky
    – CamelBlues
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 17:10
  • 1
    Jeez, Dali was such a **********! Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 23:11
  • It's probably unfair to say that Dali totally derailed the project. But it's clear that he didn't help matters one jot. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 9:52

In the books, the most talked about power that the Kwizatz Hadarach possessed was prescience, and limited omniscience. Really, I think that's as close to "godlike" status that he got. I believe most of the rest of his abilities were because he had undergone mentat training for most of his life, had been taught the weirding way of battle, and underwent Bene Gesserit training.


The mini series are far closer to the books although they did a terrible job showing the type of boy Paul Atreides was. The scene when Paul takes over hosting duties in for his father early on in the series is a discredit to the character and shows him as a petulant child rather than the human weapon he was crafted into.

The 84 movie final cut was the decision of the producers and not David Lynch and nearly all the questionable changes were forced upon him. That's why Lynch doesn't even like taking credit for the movie and sometimes you'll see it listed as directed by Allen Smithee as Lynch removed his name from several cuts.

  • I fail to see how this answers the question,.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 8:54
  • 3
    @Wrzlprmft - The first line contains an answer (of sorts) to the question; e.g. The 2000 mini-series was closer to the books (in which he's not god-like).
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 9:57

Apart from the original film not being entirely true to the book, some people got the wrong impression from it. Muad'Dib was a near to godlike as a mortal can get due to his use of spice and his consumption of the Water of Life. Lynch went a bit over the top with his depiction of Muad'Dib influencing the weather. The book says that one of the Fremen was creating several oases of plants that would ultimately change the weather of Arrakis forever. This would never be in the lifetime of anyone currently alive though.

Maud'Dib went mad in the Children of Dune miniseries which wasn't entirely true. In the books, he did however express deep concern that he was being elevated to the status of a god by those trying to profit from his legacy. The "Golden Path" that his son Leto took was more of a depiction of the "God Emperor" book, but not at the behest of his father and the captured worm was from "Chapter House". The miniseries tried to tie up the rest of the books in a very rushed ending.


I also have not watched the miniseries, but I have read the books. While Herbert seems to model parts of Paul’s character upon that of the God Apollo, he seems very clear that Paul is a man, who can ascend towards a god-like status, yet he can never become a God. For Herbert’s links between Paul and Apollo, consider that several key parts of Dune are based on Greek mythology, and knowing this helps to show why it is appropriate for Paul to call himself after a mouse. Apollo - the Greek God of prophecy and prophets - was called Apollo Smintheus or Mouse/Mousy (for this Apollo-mouse link, see Homer’s Iliad 2:48-52 and Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary 634, and Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, sections 14.2, 21.3, 90.3, and 158.2.) The name Apollo Smintheus may also be understood as a type of precedent for why Paul kept his given name - or Paul Muad’dib - addition to his new one. Moreover, Apollo’s seer-priestesses, like many of their counterparts in Dune, also consumed narcotics in order to carry out their prophesizing.

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