'Dune: The Sisterhood' - Everything We Know So Far

This fall, fans will see the climax of Paul Atreides' story in Dune: Part Two, but the franchise is not slowing down from there. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment are also creating a spinoff series called Dune: The Sisterhood that will go deep into the history of the Bene Geserit order. Read on for an explainer and everything we know about the series so far.

For years, fans have speculated that Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune could not be successfully adapted to the screen because of its scope, subtlety and strangeness. Director Denis Villeneuve proved them wrong with Dune: Part One in 2021, but fans thought that even he wouldn't go deeper down the rabbit hole than that. Herbert wrote six novels in the Dune Chronicles before his death and left behind notes for more, which were picked up and completed by his son, Brian Herbert and author Kevin J. Anderson. Fans often joke fondly that the series gets stranger with each book – which is part of the reason it has been labeled "unfilmable." However, Villeneuve, Warner Bros. and legendary are going to attempt the feat anyway with Dune: The Sisterhood.

Villeneuve and the studios actually announced Dune: The Sisterhood way back in 2019, but production has been slow with a lot of setbacks along the way. Several important creative voices have signed onto the project and left it since then, including two showrunners, two directors and two stars. The latest report from Deadline says that Alison Schapker is the showrunner with Anna Foerster directing several episodes, including the pilot. Executive producers include Villeneuve, Brian Herbert, Anderson Byron Merritt and Frank Herbert's granddaughter, Kim Herbert.

The main cast now consists of Emily Watson, Olivia Williams, Jodhi May, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Faoileann Cunningham, Aoife Hinds and Chloe Lea. More recent additions to the case include Travis Fimmel, Mark Strong, Jade Anouka, Chris Mason, Josh Heuston and Edward Davis. The cast and crew are not represented by the American unions on strike, so production on the show continues at the time of this writing.

The real fascinating aspect of The Sisterhood is the story, of course. The show is set about 10,000 years before the events of Dune, and is not directly based on any of Frank Herbert's original novels. It seems to draw primarily from the book Sisterhood of Dune, though it is not described as a direct adaptation. Brian and Anderson's novels have not been written in chronological order, and the timeline is extremely long and complex.

In this far-flung past, the Bene Gesserit order does not exist yet, but sisters Valya Harkonnen (Watson) and Tula Harkonnen (Williams) are members of a sorority that will evolve into the Bene Gesserit eventually. At this time in the Dune universe, humanity has colonized many planets and has just recently gone through the legendary "Butlerian Jihad" – a war against artificial intelligence that ends with all AI being outlawed. This leaves an opening for humans with extreme mental prowess like the Bene Gesserit to fill.

For those that need a little context, in the Dune timeline, this story takes place about 12,000 years after our current day, but still about 10,000 years before the story of Paul Atreides. It's not clear how closely the show will follow the books by Brian and Anderson, but it may have many aesthetic differences from the movies due to this vast gulf of time.

Sadly, more details are scarce including hints about when we might get to see Dune: The Sisterhood for ourselves. The show began filming in November of 2022 then halted for major changes to the creative team, so it's not clear if any of that work will make the final cut. Williams and May did not join the cast until June. The show is filming in Budapest and Jordan.

Up to this point, Warner Bros. has not attached any release date to this show, so there's no telling when it might air on Max. Dune: Part Two premieres on Friday, Nov. 3 in the U.S. only in theaters. In the meantime, Herbert's six original Dune novels and the 16 additional books by Brian and Anderson are available in print, digital and audiobook formats.