Herbert traced the fortunes of Arrakis and its theocracy through Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, completing what was originally intended to be a trilogy. However, Herbert then chose to expand the series, following God Emperor of Dune with Heretics of Dune and Chapter-house: Dune.
Even though many critics now regard Dune as a classic of science fiction, its sequel Dune Messiah remains controversial, with some critics admiring its leaner narrative and well-focused plot but most viewing its plot-centered construction as an unpleasant interruption in a series of theme-centered novels. According to this latter view, Children of Dune and its successors compare well with Dune and are superior to Dune Messiah, which seems a transitional work that merely tidies up loose ends in the plot.
In Dune Messiah Paul’s actions emphasize the destructive powers of charismatic leadership, and the effects of his actions shape events for decades after his death. He has caused the ecological balance of Dune to become unsettled, a situation that creates many years of conflict and destruction.
The ideas and situations that Herbert focuses on in the first two novels continue to work well in the succeeding ones. In each book Dune itself continues to evolve; it remains an active presence that helps shape both characters and events, thus uniting all the novels. Another issue carried over from book to book is the theme of future-sight, as characters’ abilities to foresee events vary in different novels. Furthermore, characters in one generation must make choices based on the choices of previous generations.
Dune was made into a motion picture in 1984. The film was produced by Dino de Laurentis, directed by David Lynch, and released by Warner Studios. Both the critics and Herbert himself had mixed feelings about the film. In general, critics admired the visual effects but complained that the plot made no sense. The film starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul and featured Linda Hunt, Brad Dourif, and rock star Sting in supporting roles.