Finally, the Dune TV news begins to flow. Today, Legendary announced that Johan Renck is set to direct the first two episodes of Dune: The Sisterhood (working title), their upcoming HBO Max streaming series. The previous official update was back in July 2021, when Diane Ademu-John was named as showrunner.
Thousands of Years Before Dune
When this Dune TV series was first announced in 2019, it was described as being centered around the Bene Gesserit, the all-female order who possess superhuman powers and wield enormous political influence throughout the Imperium. It was clear that this would be a prequel to the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert—currently being adapted into a two-part movie series. Today’s release is more specific regarding time period:
Dune: The Sisterhood is set 10,000 years before the ascension of Paul Atreides. [The TV show] follows the Harkonnen Sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind, and establish the fabled sect known as the Bene Gesserit.
This synopsis bears several similarities to the plot of Sisterhood of Dune, first book in the Great Schools of Dune trilogy, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. It remains to be seen whether the upcoming TV series will be an adaptation of that work or an original story set around that same time period.
Talented TV Producers
Johan Renck’s impressive list of TV credits, includes directing Chernobyl (2019). The HBO mini-series earned 10 Emmy Awards (of 19 nominations), including Outstanding Directing. He’s previously worked on other high-profile TV series such as Breaking Bad and Vikings. Renck, who is currently wrapping up production on the science fiction movie Spaceman, will also serve as an executive producer on Dune: The Sisterhood.
The director himself took to Instagram this morning, posting below artwork and teasing one planets we’ll get to experience in the upcoming TV series: “A visit to Wallach IX is way overdue 🖤.” This reference is to the Bene Gesserit homeworld.
As reported last year, Diane Ademu-John took over from Jon Spaihts—who is working on Dune: Part Two and other potential movie properties set in the universe—as the showrunner of Dune: The Sisterhood. She will also be writing and executive producing. Ademu-John is known for her recent work on The Haunting of Bly Manor and other well-known TV series, including Empire, The Originals, and Medium.
While Denis Villeneuve is still listed as an executive producer, with today’s news it’s apparent that he will have less direct involvement with this TV series. In the original plan, he was set to direct the pilot episode. Villeneuve is currently focusing on pre-production of the Dune: Part Two movie. After that he has two announced film projects—Cleopatra and Rendezvous with Rama—and has plans to adapt Dune Messiah, the sequel to Dune.
At this time, the release date for Dune: The Sisterhood remains unknown and recent rumors suggest that no actors have been cast. Stay tuned for our ongoing news coverage, as further information is released.
The TV series is not the only upcoming property that will explore the setting’s rich history. Arrakis: Dawn of the Fremen, a recently announced board game from Gale Force Nine, also takes place more than a hundred generations before the events of Dune and recent interviews indicate plans to release more literature in this expansive time period.