DUNE TALK: Who are the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood?

In this exciting episode of Dune Talk we dive into the lore of one of the most influential factions in the Dune universe, the Bene Gesserit. We’re joined this week by a true expert on the topic, Dr. Kara Kennedy—who has written her PhD about the portrayal of this mysterious order across Frank Herbert’s six Dune novels—for an in-depth Q&A, that offers insights to both new and old fans.

Additionally, the Dune movie news continues to flow! Garin, Kara, Marcus, and Simon share their, sometimes differing, views on the cast ensemble poster, David Dastmalchian’s reaction to seeing the film, and a new wave of official merchandise.

This podcast (65 minutes) is available below in both video and audio formats. Enjoy and spread the word to fellow Dune fans!

Dune Talk: Episode 5 – The Sisterhood

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Show Notes

News stories covered in the ‘Dune Movie News’ segments of today’s show:

  1. The new Dune movie cast ensemble poster leans into marketing the film’s “star power”. Does it succeed as a poster? The hosts have different views.
  1. David Dastmalchian has watched Dune and has high praise: “It is, in my opinion, a piece of historic cinema… I’ve never seen anything like it before and I don’t think I will ever see anything like it again.”
  1. A new wave of official Dune merchandise—everything from t-shirts to pop sockets—have been listed on Legendary’s Amazon store.

Questions addressed by the Landsraad High Council on this episode:

  1. What are the foundational characteristics of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and what should (new) fans understand about their role within the setting of Dune?
  1. What are your impressions regarding the portrayal of the order—especially the characters of Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling)—in Villeneuve’s movie adaptation, based on footage we’ve seen so far?
  1. What are your hopes for the Dune: The Sisterhood TV series coming to HBO Max? Do you have any concerns?
  1. How would you address critics who argue that Frank Herbert did not portray female characters in a positive light, in his original novel?
  1. What would fans find noteworthy or surprising about Frank Herbert’s upbringing and developmental influences? How did these inspire the creation of the Bene Gesserit?
  1. When exactly are the Sisterhood’s objectives, when it comes to their breeding program and quest to create the Kwisatz Haderach?

Thanks to Kara Kennedy (@DuneScholar), our special guest on this episode, for this insightful discussion. You can find more of her accessible, scholarly analyses of the Dune saga on the Dune Scholar website.

On this episode:

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Special thanks goes out to Ashton GIeckman for music and Sheldon Lee for voice overs.