Dune: The Sisterhood: Everything We Know So Far About The Prequel Series

Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic "Dune" is one of the most popular and acclaimed blockbusters to come out of the 2020s — a box office hit, a critical darling, and the recipient of 10 Academy Awards nominations (with six wins). Following this staggering success, Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment look keen to make Frank Herbert's vast and layered universe the next big media franchise in the vein of "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings." Along with a sequel to Villeneuve's film and a possible threequel, both studios are developing a prequel series titled "Dune: The Sisterhood." 

Here's everything we know about this project so far.

What the show is about

According to Variety, the show takes place 10,000 years before "Dune: Part One." The story will follow the Harkonnen Sisters as they fight to protect humanity and end up creating the mysterious group of superhuman women known as the Bene Gesserit. This sect played a prominent role in the original film, with Paul's mother, Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson), being a member. 

This shadowy sisterhood has exerted a massive influence on the Imperium's political proceedings. Their actions are all part of their centuries-long plan to breed a male superbeing known as the "Kwisatz Haderach," whose prescience will guide humanity to enlightenment as their messiah. Though the order planned to have Jessica birth a daughter who would produce this mystical figure, she ended up having Paul instead, creating the Kwisatz Haderach much earlier than expected.

The Bene Gesserit having their own spin-off series could allow the studios to expand more on the long, rich history this group has in the "Dune" universe, as Villeneuve's first film only scratched the surface of it. If the story takes place 10,000 years prior, audiences could see the series adapt the "Legends of Dune" prequel novela, in which the Sorceresses of Rossak, the predecessors of the Bene Gesserit, help fight against the oppressive "thinking machines" in the Butlerian Jihad.

The cast and crew

Though there is no information regarding the show's cast, there are plenty of interesting people lined up to help steer the project. "Chernobyl" director Johan Renck, who won two Emmys for his outstanding work on that HBO show, recently signed up to direct the first two episodes of this upcoming series. Renck is also known for his work directing episodes for "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad," "Vikings," and "Bates Motel, and his experience directing thrilling dramas like these makes him an excellent choice to direct a spin-off of "Dune."

Jon Spaihts, who co-wrote the script for "Dune: Part One," originally served as the showrunner of this prequel series. But Spaihts had stepped down back in 2019 after Legendary TV wasn't satisfied with his draft of the script.

In July 2021, Diane Ademu-John, who produced shows like "Empire," "The Originals," and "The Haunting of Bly Manor," was hired to replace Spaihts. Ademu-John will also act as an executive producer along with Villeneuve, Spaihts, Renck, Scott Z. Burns, Mark Friedman, Matthew King, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert.

Where and when to watch it

The series is set to be released exclusively on HBO Max, joining "Dune" and all the other projects in the company's ever-expanding streaming library. This show will also join the trend of big-budget shows that have dominated streaming in recent years, such as "WandaVision," "The Mandalorian," "Stranger Things," and HBO Max's own hit, "Peacemaker." But combined with its other upcoming exclusives like the "Green Lantern" series, the "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon," and the multiple spin-offs to Matt Reeves's "The Batman," HBO Max looks like it will become an even bigger player in the streaming wars.

Given that "Dune: The Sisterhood" is still in its early development stage, it's no surprise that there is no confirmed release date at this moment. Since "Dune: Part Two" is set to premiere in October 2023, the prequel series could likely come at around that time while the franchise's hype train is still running.