HBO Max’s ‘Dune’ Prequel Series On Hold After Losing Director & Star


Dune: The Sisterhood HBO Max

HBO Max’s Dune: The Sisterhood has hit a bump in the road with the departure of director Johan Renck and star Shirley Henderson, as reported by Deadline. Renck, who had signed on to direct the first two episodes of the Dune prequel series, has left the project and production has been put on hold as a search for his replacement is underway. Henderson, who had been cast as Tula Harkonnen, is also exiting the series, with her role being recast.

“As Dune: The Sisterhood has entered a pre-scheduled hiatus, there are some creative changes being made to the production in an effort to create the best series possible and stay true to the source material,” an HBO Max spokesperson told Deadline. “Johan Renck has completed his work on the series and a new director will be brought on; through mutual agreement, Johan is moving on to pursue other projects. Additionally, Shirley Henderson will be exiting the series and will no longer be playing Tula Harkonnen”

The series, based on Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel series Dune, explores the lives of the Bene Gesserit, a mysterious sisterhood of women with extraordinary abilities. As the project has entered a pre-scheduled hiatus, an HBO Max spokesperson confirmed that the series is going through a creative overhaul.

This isn’t the first setback for the production, as Dune: The Sisterhood creator Diane Ademu-John parted exited her post as co-showrunner back in November, though she has remained on board as an executive producer. Alison Schapker has since taken over as the sole showrunner, but it remains to be seen how these recent changes will affect the series.

Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Matthew King, John Cameron, Cait Collins and Brian Herbert are executive producing Dune: The Sisterhood. Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert are also on board as executive producers, overseeing the project for the Frank Herbert estate. Author Kevin J. Anderson is a co-producer.

A joint venture between Warner Bros. and Legendary, Dune is based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. The movie opened in theaters in October 2018 and earned $401.8 million at the worldwide box office, along with six Oscars during the 94th Academy Awards.

A Dune sequel is also on the way

The official Dune: Part Two synopsis reads as follows: “This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.”

The Dune sequel cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux and Souheila Yacoub. 

The first Dune movie is now available on home media formats, with Part Two hitting theaters on November 3, 2023. Stay tuned for the latest news from the world of Dune and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content!

Michael Bezanidis

Michael Bezanidis

Michael is the Managing Editor of Heroic Hollywood. When he's not playing video games, he's usually writing about film and television.