‘The Three Musketeers: Part 1 D’Artagnan’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens To Athos?

Adapting a widely popular classic like The Three Musketeers in cinema is never an easy thing. With as many as seven film adaptations of Alexander Dumas’ iconic novel before, director Martin Bourboulon had to do something extraordinary to make the latest two-part French adaptation work. And to think he has actually achieved that! Of course, we haven’t seen the second half of the epic saga yet, but if we go by the glorious first part, titled The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan, it can fairly be said that Bourboulon’s adaptation is not only on the right track; it might just end up being the greatest. In this article, we’re going to shed some light on the cliffhanger ending of The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan. But a quick summary of the events before does seem like a necessity. 


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Film?

I think the best thing about Bourboulon’s film is it staying pretty close to Dumas’ original text and not trying to do anything extra. Although it is a bit trimmed down and has been simplified for the cinematic transition. Hence, the story we have is rather straightforward—and familiar to many of us, for sure.


Our hero here is young D’Artagnan from Gascony, who’s traveling all the way to Paris with the hope of joining the Musketeers guards of King Louis, who’s a Catholic. The journey is anything but smooth, as D’Artagnan attempts to prevent the kidnapping of a young woman, only to fail and get almost murdered by the kidnappers, led by this mysterious woman, Milady. He does manage to reach Paris, and on the very first day, he picks up duels with all three of the famous Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Despite that, it doesn’t take long for the Three Musketeers and D’Artagnan to become friends. Things turn grim soon when, one day, Athos wakes up and finds the dead body of this young woman beside him, with a dagger in his hand. He’s prosecuted for the supposed crime, and given that he’s a nobleman, Athos refuses to lie and confesses to the court that he’s in fact confused about whether he killed the woman or not. He’s sentenced to death by beheading, a rather honorable punishment compared to hanging in public. Porthos, Aramis, Musketeers commander de Treville, and D’Artagnan are all in disarray, but nothing can be done about it either. What’s the catch, though? The murdered woman found on Athos’ bed happens to be the same woman whom D’Artagnan tried to save when she was being kidnapped.

Around the same time, unbeknownst to her husband, aka King Louis, Queen Anne is having a secret affair with the Duke of Birmingham, who’s an Englishman. Louis’ brother and chief strategist, Gaston, is constantly trying to provoke the king to wage a war against the Protestants. But Louis is very adamant about not authorizing a religious war. Louis is also unaware of the fact that his trusted friend, Cardinal Richelieu, is actually a snake who’s trying to take him down. The Cardinal, thanks to a network of spies, possesses information regarding the doomed romance between the Queen and the Duke. He finds out that the Queen has given her famous diamond necklace to the Duke as a token of love. Instead of directly taking it to Louis, he spreads the rumor so that it reaches the king’s ear. Louis is understandably disturbed, but when he confronts his wife, Anne denies it and blames it on the Cardinal. But Anne finds herself in a rather troublesome position when Louis asks her to wear the famous necklace at his brother’s wedding. Now Anne has to retrieve the necklace from the Duke without anyone knowing. And she seeks help from none other than D’Artagnan. The whole plot basically boils down to two conflicts: Can Athos be saved? And can D’Artagnan get the necklace back and save the Queen’s honor?


What Happens To Athos?

It’s a no-brainer that Athos hasn’t committed the murder. Even though he encouraged the thought of him actually committing the deed just because he had a dagger in his hand, Athos is the epitome of a noble soul who wouldn’t hurt anyone in his sleep. He’s clearly a victim of the evil scheme hatched by the Cardinal and Milady. The two clearly want to hurt the King and weaken his strength, and what’s better than taking away the very best of the Musketeers? And given the circumstances, the King (and the council) have no other option but to sign Athos’ death warrant. What’s even more sad is that, in spite of all their bravery and power, the Musketeers’ hands are also tied, and they can’t help Athos either. 

But there is somebody who can actually help him, and that happens to be none other than his Protestant brother, Benjamin. He is a rebel who certainly has no problem breaking the rules, especially when it comes to freeing his beloved brother. On his way to get beheaded, Athos’ wagon is attacked. Benjamin and company break into the scene and rescue the musketeer. Athos is delighted to find out that his own brother has rescued him, but joining the Protestants doesn’t seem right to him. That’s understandable considering he’s loyal to the King, and nothing in this world can actually change that. 


Does D’artagnan Manage To Bring The Necklace To Queen Anne?

Dumas’ tale is the story of a hero who would always do the right thing. Keeping that in mind, we all knew for a fact that D’Artagnan would succeed in his extremely challenging mission. And obviously he wouldn’t hesitate because the request is not only coming directly from the Queen herself; the messenger happens to be Constance Bonacieux, with whom he has been in love probably from the moment he saw her for the first time. It’s admirable how this movie handles the whole aspect of romance, be it the Queen and the Duke or D’Artagnan and Constance. 

So D’Artagnan travels to London, and on his way to England, he comes across none other than Athos. D’Artagnan is overjoyed to find his friend alive after everything, and the even more important thing here is that Athos is now going to assist in the mission. In case you’ve always wondered about what Athos’ deal really is, that also gets cleared right before the climax when he pours his heart out to D’Artagnan. The man’s heartbreaking story of losing the love of his life only adds more depth to his already fascinating character. 


In spite of D’Artagnan making his way into the Duke’s masquerade ball, Milady has already beaten him to it. She’s also cunning enough to seduce the Duke and get the necklace before anyone, including the Duke himself, even realizes it. But D’Artagnan isn’t going to let this go, especially because Milady is the person who keeps making his life miserable by repeatedly trying to kill him—the first time on his way to Paris and the second time when he caught her posing as the dead Isabelle de Valcour. Yes, this is the same woman who was killed by the Cardinal-Milady team in order to put Athos under the guillotine.

In a very fitting, climatic chase sequence, we see D’Artagnan catching up to Milady on a cliff, and snatching the necklace away from her. Milady taunts him about constantly coming into her path, hinting that he might even like her. Then she jumped off the cliff, leaving D’Artagnan all shocked and surprised. D’Artagnan brings the necklace back, just in the nick of time to save the Queen. But that’s not where the story ends. Even on the day of his marriage, Gaston is scheming with the Protestants, and he’s promoting them to attack the palace. Thanks to the arrival of Athos and the other Musketeers, the King is saved. But it seems he has had enough, as he finally declares war against the Protestant rebels, exactly what Gaston always wanted. 


It’s quite evident that there’s a huge conspiracy against the King going on, with Gaston, Cardinal, Milady, and the Protestants all part of it. In the very final scene of The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan, we see Constance accidentally overhearing the plan and then getting kidnapped by the evil team. D’Artagnan tries his best, but he can’t save him. The story leaves you hanging there, and now you can’t rest before the second part comes!

But considering the upcoming film is titled The Three Musketeers: Milady, we know who’s going to be at the center of that one—none other than Eva Green’s Milady de Winter. Of course, she didn’t die (despite what D’Artagnan might think), and the mid-credit scene of the film clarifies that only. It’s going to be Milady versus D’Artagnan in the second and final part, and we can’t wait to see that!


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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