Max’s Dune: Prophecy Is Basically an Origin Story for the Bene Gesserit

First, the confusing bit: Yes, this show was previously called Dune: The Sisterhood. It was called this for years, in fact, and as a title it made sense, not least because the Dune prequel series is based on, or at least inspired by, the novel Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

But now it is Dune: Prophecy, and it is somewhat hard not to suspect that the Max powers-that-be didn’t want “sisterhood” on their Dune series, even though said series is largely about the women of the Bene Gesserit. At any rate, the show stars an incredible lineup of actors that includes Emily Watson, Olivia Williams, Mark Strong, Jihae, Tabu, Charithra Chandran, Jessica Barden, Emma Canning, and Yerin Ha.

The series’ logline says only:

From the expansive universe of Dune, created by acclaimed author Frank Herbert, and 10,000 years before the ascension of Paul Atreides, Dune: Prophecy follows two Harkonnen sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind and establish the fabled sect that will become known as the Bene Gesserit.

Dune: Prophecy has had a somewhat tumultuous journey to a screen near you. In 2019, the series’ original showrunner, Jon Spaihts, left the project in order to write Dune: Part Two. In the summer of 2021, Diane Ademu-John came on board as the new showrunner—but later that year she too departed, leaving co-showrunner Alison Schapker flying solo. In March 2023, one of the show’s original stars, Shirley Henderson, also left, along with director Johan Renck. Ademu-John still has credit for developing the series, and is an executive producer. But that is a lot of turmoil for a spinoff show with just six episodes.

That said, any series starring Emily Watson as a scheming Harkonnen and Reverend Mother Superior is worth watching. “Sisterhood above all,” she says, ominously, while looking quite conniving. No premiere date has been announced, but Dune: Prophecy arrives this fall. icon-paragraph-end

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