Dune: Sisterhood Creator Reportedly Drops Out, Filming Begins
Dune: The Sisterhood has reportedly lost one half of its cast. As a deadline, Diane Ademu-John (The Haunting of Bly Manor), who also served as creator and writer of the HBO Max spin-off prequel series, has stepped down. He will remain discreetly involved as an executive producer alongside 2021 Dune filmmaker Denis Villeneuve and co-writer Jon Spaihts. Although no reasons have been clearly stated, the report notes that Ademu-John had previously replaced Spaihts in the role of runner. Meanwhile, veteran TV producer Alison Schapker is holding on as the sole showrunner for Dune: The Sisterhood.
On Instagram, director Johan Renck confirmed that filming on Dune: The Sisterhood has begun in Budapest – which also happens to be one of the locations where Dune: Part Two is being shot. “On this day, we begin filming Dune: The Sisterhood for HBO Max. “Through machinations that took place a thousand years before the story you all know, we enter into a covenant that will one day be called the Bene Gesserit,” the text reads, concluding with an iconic quote from author Frank Herbert, describing fear as “the killer of the mind.” In addition to directing the pilot, the report also notes that Renck will executive produce.
The HBO Max spin-off series previously added Emily Watson (Synecdoche, New York) and Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter movies) as Valya Harkonnen and Tula Harkonnen, respectively. This marks the second collaboration between lead Watson and director Renck, who previously worked on the show Chernobyl miniseries — streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar. Dune: Sisterhood is set 10,000 years before the events of Dune, and follows the aforementioned Harkonnen sisters, as they become involved in an underground coven called the Sisterhood of Rossak, who train their minds and bodies to gain supernatural powers. The group eventually grew into the secretive Bene Gesserit we saw in the 2021 film.
Dune: The Sisterhood recently added Travis Fimmel (Vikings) in the lead role as Desmond Hart – the only male character confirmed yet. The cast also includes Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) as Empress Natalya, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Shalom Brune-Franklin (The Tourist) as Mikaela, Faoleann Cunningham (The Northman) as Sister Jen, Aoife Hinds as Sister Emeline, and Chloe Lea. To install Lila.
Last month, Warner Bros. moved forward the release date of the Dune sequel by two weeks. The film was previously directly opposite The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and will now be released on November 3, 2023. Filming for Dune: Part Two began in July, in multiple locations, namely Budapest, Abu. Dubai, Italy, and Jordan. The sequel was greenlit just four days after the release of Part One and sees Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Stellan Skarsgård return in the lead roles.
Dune: Sisterhood currently has no release window.