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The Ending Of Stardust Explained

Stardust is a 2007 romantic fantasy film about a young man, Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox), and the fallen star named Yvaine (Claire Danes) with whom he falls in love. The movie is based on the 1997 Neil Gaiman novel of the same name. For what is, essentially a will-they-or-won't-they love story, there are actually quite a lot of moving pieces to the story. If you aren't paying attention, you could get lost in the minutiae.

Tristan is the product of two worlds. As a young man, Tristan's father, Dunstan Thorn (Nathaniel Parker), travels over the wall that protects his human town from the magical kingdom of Stormhold. During his single night in Stormhold, Dunstan meets (and falls in love with) Princess Una (Kate Magowan) who has been captured indefinitely by an evil witch named Ditchwater Sal (Melanie Hill). Long story short: Dunstan and Una have a wild night and, nine months later, Dunstan finds a baby named Tristan on his stoop.

Tristan, meanwhile, grows up knowing nothing of his magical origins, and falls in unrequited love with Victoria Forester (Sienna Miller). One night, as Tristan unsuccessfully attempts to woo Victoria, they see a star fall from the sky. Tristan promises Victoria he will bring back the fallen star as a gift for her as proof of his love. Later, Dunstan tells Tristan the true story of his birth and gifts Tristan with a magic candle from his mother that can take him anywhere instantly. Tristan uses said candle (accidentally) to find the fallen star.

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The many characters of Stardust

To understand the ending of Stardust you have to understand that there are two groups hunting for Yvaine, both with sinister purpose. On the one hand, there is witch queen Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), who wants to bring Yvaine back to her sisters so they can devour the star and use her power to regain their youth and vitality.

Meanwhile, did you wonder why Yvaine fell from the heavens? The king of Stormhold (Peter O'Toole) in his final moments of life, threw a ruby into the sky, knocking Yvaine to the Earth below. Now the king's sons are all hunting for the ruby (which Yvaine has) because whomever gets the it first becomes the new king.

The brothers kill each other off one by one and become ghosts, until only Prince Septimus (Mark Strong) remains. While the brothers squabbled (and killed each other), however, Lamia was able to capture Yvaine. During Lamia's travels, she also runs into Ditchwater Sal, disposes of her, and takes Princess Una as her own servant.

As Lamia returns to her sisters with Yvaine and Una in tow, Tristan and Septimus follow closely behind, forming an uneasy alliance — if the two work together, Tristan can save Yvaine and Septimus can get his ruby to become king of Stormhold.

How Tristan and Yvaine lived forever in Stardust

Now that you know most of the major players (seriously, this movie is stuffed with characters), we can talk about Stardust's ending. One quick fact: All the brothers hoping to become king become ghosts when they die and remain tethered to their earthly plane until a new heir claims the throne. By the time we get to Lamia's lair, all but Septimus are ghosts hovering around making snarky comments.

After Lamia kills Septimus and uses his dead body as a puppet to attack Tristan, Yvaine uses the power of her love for Tristan to shine so brightly that it eradicates Lamia entirely. At this point, all the dead princes see Una and acknowledge that she is their sister. Since Tristan is Una's son, that makes him the final male heir of Stormhold. Once Tristan holds the ruby in his hand, the ghostly brothers all vanish.

In the end, Tristan becomes king and makes Yvaine his queen. Una gifts the couple another magic candle that can take them anywhere. Tristan and Yvaine save the candle until they are both old and Tristan is ready to die, then use it so they can return to the heavens above, where they become stars. When they become neighboring stars in the sky, Tristan and Yvaine's love, effectively becomes immortal — and that's what the ending of Stardust is all about.