FRANK HERBERT’S CHILDREN OF DUNE
Teleplay by John Harrison
based on the novels Dune Messiah and Children
"When religion and politics ride in the same cart...
the whirlwind follows."
Twelve years have passed since Paul "Muad’dib" Atreides became
Emperor by vanquishing Shaddam IV and assuming rule of the planet Arrakis
("Dune"), home of Spice, the most valuable commodity in the universe.
Since his ascension to the throne, his fervent followers have fought a brutal
jihad in his name that has spanned the known universe. Paul recognizes that the
revolution he inspired has become perverted, brutal and totalitarian. As ruler,
he longs to enact change, but he must contend with his own deification, as well
as the threats to his rule both internal and external.
Inside, the Priests, the bureaucrats and the
fanatics of his theocracy will do anything to protect their own power and
privilege. Outside, a cunning alliance of former enemies, including Princess
Wensicia of the deposed House Corrino, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and the
Spacing Guild conspire against him in the hopes of regaining power.
Paul realizes the only way to rid the Empire of
its corruption is for Maud’dib the god to cease to exist. He has visions of a
son who will return peace to the universe by guiding man down the "Golden
Path." During a failed assassination attempt on his life, Paul is blinded.
After his beloved concubine Chani dies giving birth to twin heirs, Leto II and
Ghanima, Paul wanders off into the desert, perhaps never to be seen again.
In Paul’s absence, his sister, Alia, rules as
Regent in the name of the children. Alia awoke to consciousness while still in
the womb and suffers the curse of all of those who are "pre-born"; the
memories of her ancestors float within her, waiting to be awakened. In an
attempt to see the future, she begins taking large quantities of spice.
However, the spice awakens memories and personalities within, including that of
the evil Baron Harkonnen, her maternal grandfather, who vies for control of her
mind. As she slips further into a possessed state, her only comfort comes from
her husband, a clone of the trusted Atreides warrior, Duncan Idaho.
Paul’s twin children, Leto and Ghanima, are
also "pre-born." They are now ‘of age’ and Leto will soon take
over the throne. Haunted by visions of a far off place, Leto slowly sees that he
is destined to play a role far greater than Emperor.
Alia’s increasingly erratic behavior and the
resulting civil unrest on Arrakis is the talk of the empire. Old enemies of the
Atreides see their rule as vulnerable. On planet Selusa Secundus, Princess
Wensicia devises a plan to assassinate the royal heirs.
As Leto’s investiture approaches, Lady Jessica
returns to Arrakis from the Atreides home world, Caladan. Irrevocably strained
relations between mother and daughter are further worsened when Jessica realizes
what is happening to Alia: Abomination, defined by the Bene Gesserit as complete
possession of a pre-born by an ancestral spirit. Jessica fears her grandchildren
will suffer the same fate if left to Alia’s care.
Meanwhile, a mysterious preacher blows into Arrakeen from the desert,
proclaiming that the blessings of Muad'dib have been corrupted. His words
provoke contempt among the masses. Civil war brews. Alia attempts to
exploit this atmosphere of civil unrest by ordering her mother’s
assassination. The attempt fails. Meanwhile, the twins escape into the deep
recesses of the desert, only to meet with blood-thirsty tigers bred by Princess
Surviving the tiger attack, Leto is put to the test in the desert. There he must
silence the voices in his head if he is to guide humanity down the "Golden
Path" or suffer the same fate as his aunt.
To protect herself from Alia, Jessica flees Arrakis and is forced to form an
alliance with the Corrinos on Salusa Secundus. In exchange for sanctuary,
Jessica teaches Princess Wensicia's son, Farad'n, the Bene Gesserit ways. Soon
his commitment to his mother's conspiracy against the Atreides begins to
wane. A proposal is then made that would unite House Corrino and House
Atreides through the marriage of Ghanima and Farad'n. The hope is that this
union will stabilize the Empire.
Once on Arrakis, Farad’n quickly offers up his mother as his wedding gift to
Ghani. However, before they can say "I do", Leto emerges from the
desert to dethrone Alia and put an end to the growing civil war. Ultimately, the
fate of Arrakis - and humanity – is left with Leto. He has taken a path
to demystify his father. He must sacrifice his own physicality and
freedom, in order that mankind control its own destiny.
Children of Dune