Dune: The Sisterhood has reportedly lost one-half of its showrunners. As per 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 from the position. She will remain creatively involved as executive producer alongside the 2021 Dune filmmaker Denis Villeneuve and its writer Jon Spaihts. While no reasons are explicitly mentioned, the report notes that Ademu-John had formerly replaced Spaihts for the co-showrunner role. For now, veteran TV writer-producer Alison Schapker holds strong as the sole showrunner for Dune: The Sisterhood.
Over on Instagram, director Johan Renck confirmed that filming on Dune: The Sisterhood had commenced in Budapest — which also happens to be one of the locations where Dune: Part Two is being shot. “On this day, we commence filming Dune: The Sisterhood for HBO Max. Through machinations taking place millennia before the story you all know, we descend into the coven that one day shall be named the Bene Gesserit,” the post reads, ending with the iconic quote from author Frank Herbert, describing fear as the “mind-killer.” In addition to directing the pilot, the report also notes that Renck will be executive producing it.
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 Chernobyl miniseries — streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar. Dune: The Sisterhood is set 10,000 years prior to the events of Dune, and follows the aforementioned Harkonnen sisters, as they get involved in an underground coven called the Sisterhood of Rossak, who train their minds and body to obtain supernatural powers. The group eventually grows 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 for now. The cast also includes Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) as Empress Natalya, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Shalom Brune-Franklin (The Tourist) as Mikaela, Faoileann Cunningham (The Northman) as Sister Jen, Aoife Hinds as Sister Emeline, and Chloe Lea as Lila.
Last month, Warner Bros. pushed forward the release date for the Dune sequel by two weeks. The film was previously set eye-to-eye with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and will now release on November 3, 2023. Filming for Dune: Part Two began in July, across several locations, namely Budapest, Abu Dhabi, Italy, and Jordan. The sequel was greenlit just four days after the global release of Part One and sees Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Stellan Skarsgård returning in lead roles.
Dune: The Sisterhood currently does not have a release window.