Most of your Dune-related attention has likely revolved around Denis Villeneuve’s excellent movie. But there’s more than just the film to feel excited about. Warner Bros. is launching a tie-in TV series called Dune: The Sisterhood, which will air on HBO Max. We learned this news back in 2019, but now we know who’ll be delivering the project. Initially co-showrunner with Diane Ademu-John, Alison Schapker will now be the sole showrunner of the project. In addition, Legendary has shared that Johan Renck will direct the first two episodes as well as executive produce the show. Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson have been cast as the show’s leads. And now, Mark Strong, Jade Anouka, and Chris Mason have come aboard Dune: The Sisterhood as well. The show will serve as a prequel to the films.
A release reveals more about the three newest characters joining the world of Dune: The Sisterhood. It notes:
Mark Strong plays Emperor Javicco Corrino, a man from a great line of war-time Emperors, who is called upon to govern the Imperium and manage a fragile peace.
Jade Anouka plays Sister Theodosia, a talented and ambitious acolyte at the Sisterhood who harbors a dangerous secret about her past.
Chris Mason plays Keiran Atreides, a Swordmaster to a Great House whose ambition to live up to his family name is disrupted when he forms an unexpected connection to a member of the royal family.
Additionally, according to Deadline, the Obi-Wan Kenobi, Game of Thrones, and Carnival Row actress, Indira Varma, has come aboard the show as well. Indira Varma will play the role of Empress Natalya. The actress is described as “a formidable royal who united thousands of worlds in her marriage to Emperor Corrino.”
She sounds incredibly epic.
Watson and Henderson will also star in Dune: The Sisterhood. They will play the roles of Valya Harkonnen and Tula Harkonnen, respectively. Deadline notes, “The formidable Harkonnen Sisters, who have risen to power in the Sisterhood, a secret organization of women who will go on to become the Bene Gesserit.”
In addition, Dune: The Sisterhood has revealed five new cast members. Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Faoileann Cunningham , Aoife Hinds, and Chloe Lea have joined the cast, per Deadline.
The publication reveals more about these new characters, noting:
Boussnina plays Princess Ynez, an independent young princess dealing with the pressures of her responsibility as heir to the Golden Lion Throne.
Brune-Franklin portrays Mikaela, a strong-willed Fremen woman who serves the royal family while longing for a home planet she’s never known.
Cunningham is Sister Jen, a fierce, unpredictable acolyte in training at the Sisterhood School who rarely reveals her emotional core.
Hinds plays Sister Emeline, a zealous acolyte descended from a long line of martyrs, who carries fervent religion to her training at the Sisterhood.
Lea portrays Lila, the youngest acolyte at the Sisterhood School with a deep empathy beyond her years.
Variety also reported that Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel has joined the cast. He will play Desmond Hart, “a charismatic soldier with an enigmatic past, who seeks to gain the Emperor’s trust at the expense of the Sisterhood.” Meanwhile, Deadline shared Tim Blake Nelson had joined the cast.
More About Dune: The Sisterhood
According to a release, the show’s description is as follows:
Set 10,000 years before the ascension of Paul Atreides, Dune: The Sisterhood follows the Harkonnen Sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind, and establish the fabled sect known as the Bene Gesserit.
As the release mentions, the titular “sisterhood,” references the Bene Gesserit, a mysterious order of women who exist in the book series. The Bene Gesserit form a political and social force, whose members train their bodies and minds to the point that they obtain superhuman abilities. They also seek to help other humans reach enlightenment, but ultimately remain loyal only to themselves.
According to Deadline, “the Bene Gesserit expertly weave through the feudal politics and intrigue of The Imperium, pursuing plans of their own that will ultimately lead them to the enigmatic planet Arrakis — known to its inhabitants as Dune.” In the series and the film, our hero Paul Atreides’ (Timotheé Chalamet) mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) was raised by the Bene Gesserit, but betrays the secretive order in the name of love.
So yeah, not will we get a Dune TV series, but the Dune TV series lies in truly talented hands.
We’re excited to announce that Johan Renck will be directing the first 2 episodes of Legendary’s Dune: The Sisterhood series. From showrunner Diane Ademu-John the series will stream on @hbomax. pic.twitter.com/29SZP4GJcx— Legendary (@Legendary) April 27, 2022
Behind the Scenes
As mentioned, Alison Schapker will serve as showrunner. According to Deadline, Schapker previously served as an executive producer on Westworld. She also worked on Netflix’s Altered Carbon as well as Fringe, Lost, and Almost Human. Meanwhile, a release shares that director Renck has “won two Emmys as director and an executive producer for the HBO limited series Chernobyl, the highest-rated TV show ever on IMDb, which earned a total of 19 Emmy Award nominations and 10 Emmy wins.” He also directed episodes for shows like Vikings, Bloodline, and Breaking Bad.
Three-time Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve, Academy Award-nominated writer Jon Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Mark Friedman and Matthew King will executive produce with Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert for the Frank Herbert estate. Kevin J. Anderson will co-produce. The series is co-produced by HBO Max and Legendary Television with Legendary also producing the film franchise that released its first installment to critical acclaim in October 2021 and garnered six Academy Awards, including Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The show has now begun production.
It’s truly never been a better time to be a Dune fan. We’ll keep you posted as more information about the show becomes available.
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.
Originally published on June 10, 2019.