Dune: The Sisterhood TV Series Loses Showrunner

We're still over a year out from the debut of Denis Villeneuve's Dune movie, which is set to help a whole new audience fall in love with the iconic sci-fi tale. Outside of the movie, the franchise as a whole is getting some significant adaptations, including an upcoming HBO Max television series called Dune: The Sisterhood. The project, which was given a straight-to-series order earlier this year, has hit a bit of a snag in heading to the small screen. On Tuesday, it was announced (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Jon Spaihts (Doctor Strange, Prometheus) would be stepping down as showrunner of the upcoming project. Spaihts co-wrote the Dune movie alongside Villeneuve.

Reportedly, Spaihts' work on The Sisterhood had consisted of turning in a draft of a script and a revised outline, which Legendary TV was reportedly unhappy with. The studio reportedly "opted to remove him" as the series showrunner, so he can instead focus on the sequel to the Dune movie, which has been unofficially talked about for quite some time. A search is reportedly underway to find a new showrunner for the series.

Dune: The Sisterhood is expected to be set in the same universe as the original novel, with a focus being put on the Bene Gesserit, a mysterious order of women. Given abilities by their mastery of the body and the mind, 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.

"The Bene Gesserit have always been fascinating to me." Villeneuve said in a statement. "Focusing a series around that powerful order of women seemed not only relevant and inspiring but a dynamic setting for the television series."

When The Sisterhood was initially greenlit, it was announced that Villeneuve would direct the pilot episode. Both men were set to executive produce the series alongside Kim Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Byron Merritt from the estate of Frank Herbert, the novel's author.

The Sisterhood marks just one example of Legendary's planned expansion for the franchise, which is expected to also include video games, comic books, and digital content.

“David Lynch did an adaptation in the ’80s that has some very strong qualities,” Villeneuve said of his plans for the Dune movie. “I mean, David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him. But when I saw his adaptation, I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie. I’m going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it.”

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Dune will be released in theaters on December 18, 2020.