In Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune,’ Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the son and heir of Duke Leto Atreides, is the reluctant messiah or savior. He is young and idealistic at the beginning of the film and is yet to fully grasp the intricacies of Imperial politics. As a result, he doesn’t completely understand the true ramifications of House Atreides getting the stewardship of the planet Arrakis from House Harkonnen through an Imperial decree.
Paul is also developing as a warrior and a user of the Voice, the ability that the Bene Gesserits, like his mother, Lady Jessica, uses. It is evident that Paul Atreides in ‘Dune’ is quite young, and it will take him some time and training to become what he is destined to be. If you are curious to know how old Paul is in ‘Dune,’ we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
How Old Is Paul Atreides in Dune?
The film doesn’t particularly mention how old Paul Atreides is. In Frank Herbert’s 1965 book on which the film is based, Paul, born in 10175 AG, is 15 years old when the story begins. While the casting of Timothée Chalamet, who is 25 years old in late 2021, can mean that they want their version of Paul to be older than his book counterpart, Chalamet will not be the first 20-something to portray a teenager, nor he will be the last.
Paul isn’t portrayed by teenage actors in previous adaptations either. Kyle MacLachlan was also 25 years old when David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ came out in 1984. In the 2000 miniseries, ‘Frank Herbert’s Dune,’ Scottish actor Alec Newman portrays Paul. At the time of the show’s premiere, Newman was 26.
After his father’s capture and eventual demise, Paul is forced to grow up fast. Paul has begun to undergo a rapid transformation since his meeting with the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Previously, he only had dreams. Now, he doesn’t need to sleep to have his visions. Some of these visions are quite prophetic, showing him what kind of future awaits him. He sees the Fremens waging war across the known universe in his name. The prospect terrifies him and fills him with dread. He lashes out at his mother, as her actions have made him who he is.
Paul is forced to experience more pain when he loses Duncan Idaho. He has to deal with the grief quickly and continue moving as the Imperial Sardaukar soldiers are still hunting him and Jessica. When they find the Fremen of the Sietch Tabr settlement, Paul is compelled to fight a duel to earn a place among the Fremen. He kills Jamis, the Fremen who often appeared in his vision, and receives a new name, Paul Muad’Dib. The duel becomes a right of passage for Paul. By winning it, he takes the final step toward adulthood.
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