HBO Max’s Dune prequel series, Dune: The Sisterhood, has experienced an unexpected shift in its personnel as of late, resulting in both a director and an actor leaving the project. The news comes as a surprise, given the highly-anticipated nature of the show that has been eagerly awaited by fans of the classic Frank Herbert novels.
Today, Deadline first broke the news that Star Shirley Henderson and Johan Renck, who were to play Tula Harkonnen and direct the initial two episodes respectively, have both departed the project as it apparently undergoes “creative changes.”
“As Dune: The Sisterhood has entered a pre-scheduled hiatus,” a HBO Max spokesperson divulged in a statement, “creative changes are being made in the production for crafting the best series possible and holding true to the source material. According to a mutual agreement, Johan Renck has completed his work and is now pursuing other projects, prompting a new director to step in. Moreover, Shirley Henderson will no longer portray the character Tula Harkonnen and will exit the series.”
It’s only the latest major shift Dune: The Sisterhood has experienced since its initial unveiling in 2019. Co-showrunner Jon Spaihts stepped away in 2021 and was supplanted by Diane Ademu-John, who resigned last November, leaving veteran TV writer Alison Schapker – renowned for her work on Lost – as the sole showrunner.
Villeneuve had been initially tapped to helm the inaugural installment of the adaptation, before several months later stepping away from the director’s role. Nevertheless, the renowned filmmaker remains attached to the project as an executive producer.
According to Deadline’s report, Renck’s “auteur approach” was at odds with HBO Max’s vision for the series, a divergence from the aesthetic of Villeneuve’s films. This has no bearing on the release of Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, still slated to hit theaters on Nov. 3.
Dune: The Sisterhood is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 opus and is set 10,000 years before the events of the 2021 film. It follows the Harkonnen Sisters, Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson, as they strive to protect humanity and establish the renowned Bene Gesserit.
Alex Stedman, a Senior News Editor for IGN, is known for her supervision of entertainment coverage. In her spare time, she enjoys immersing herself in fantasy literature and the world of Dungeons & Dragons.