HBO Max Dune Prequel Gets Major Shakeup as Filming Starts

Earlier this week came news that HBO Max's new prequel series Dune: The Sisterhood has begun filming, with production on the show overlapping with the highly anticipated Dune: Part Two. Deadline now brings word of a huge change behind the scenes of the series with the reveal that series creator Diane Ademu-John has stepped down as co-showrunner on the series. According to the trade the writer/producer will "remain creatively involved" but is shifting her focus to other commitments. Alison Schapker of Lost and Alias was previously tasked with co-showrunning the series with Ademu-John and will now serve as sole showrunner.

Though "The Sisterhood" is still only a working title for the show, fans of Dune will know the story being told as it deals with the early days of mysterious order of women known as the Bene Gesserit. Given extraordinary 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 series will star Emily Watson, Shirley Henderson, Indira Varma, Travis Fimmel, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Faoileann Cunningham, Aoife Hinds, and Chloe Lea.

Do you need to see Dune to watch the prequel show?

The threshold for entry on Dune can seem very intimidating to some newcomers, especially with a ton of books published throughout the franchise and even multiple adaptations of the Frank Herbert series. Though Denis Villeneuve most recent Academy Award nominated movie marked a brand new entry point into the world, the upcoming TV series doesn't technically require that you have seen the previous two movies since it's set thousands of years before.

"Well, I think you should because they are great," head of originals, Sarah Aubrey revealed in a recent interview with Variety. "But Dune: The Sisterhood is a prequel set thousands of years before Denis Villeneuve's Dune films."

"That effort is alive and well," screenwriter John Spaihts previously said during an interview with The Playlist about expanding Dune beyond the movies. "I ended up getting moved off of it to work, not just on Dune: Part Two, but to investigate other cinematic prospects in the Dune universe, which we are still talking about and which, again, I'm not allowed to say very much about. But it is a very rich world in which to play, and I think it is ripe with opportunities for storytelling in every direction. They're well down the road, but I honestly don't know the details of the timing."

Dune: The Sisterhood does not technically have a release date since filming just began, but Dune: Part Two opens in theaters on November 3rd, 2023.