The Dune Spin-Off Series Is In Trouble, Will It Be Shut Down For Good?

HBO is in search of a new director and actress and may end up discarding the Dune spin-off series, Dune: The Sisterhood, after Johan Renck and Shirley Henderson left the show.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated


Director Johan Renck has exited Dune: The Sisterhood after working on the first two episodes of the HBO spin-off series. A search for his replacement will begin as production takes a pre-scheduled hiatus. According to Deadline, his auteur approach did not line up with the streamer’s vision for the series. Actress Shirley Henderson will also be leaving the show. Her role as Tula Harkonnen will be recast.

A spokesperson for HBO Max addressed the departures in a statement, saying the creative changes serve to create the best series possible while staying true to the source material. “Johan Renck has completed his work on the series, and a new director will be brought on,” the representative said about Dune: The Sisterhood via Deadline.

“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 statement continued. Following his departure, Renck deleted all Dune content from social media. It is unclear if the footage he filmed will be used in the series.

The departures come as series creator Diane Ademu-John stepped down as showrunner shortly after production began in November 2022. While she remains attached to the Dune project as an executive producer, Alison Shapker will serve as showrunner. The exits led to major rewrites, while the production delay is wreaking havoc on schedules which may lead to more people leaving.

Adapted from the Sisterhood of Dune novel by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, the series is set in the universe created by Frank Herbert. The story, which begins 10,000 years before the events of the movie, follows the Harkonnen Sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humanity. They also establish the fabled sect called the Bene Gesseri.

dune 2 cast

Members of the Bene Gesseri undergo physical training and mental conditioning to obtain superhuman powers and abilities. Dune: The Sisterhood stars Emily Watson as Valya Harkonnen. The role of her sister Tula is yet to be recast. The series also features Indira Varma as Empress Natalya and Sarah-Sofie Boussnina as Princess Ynez.

The supporting cast includes Shalom Brune Franklin as Mikaela, Faoileann Cunningham as Sister Jen, Aoife Hinds as Sister Emeline, Chloe Lea as Lila, and Travis Fimmel as Desmond Hart. Dune: The Sisterhood comes after the success of Denis Villeneuve’s Academy Award-nominated film adaptation of the popular Frank Herbert novel.

It marked a brand new entry point into the sci-fi world. Previous Dune projects include a 1984 movie and a television series that aired in the early 2000s. Directed by Villeneuve from a screenplay he wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, who is born into a destiny he doesn’t understand.

Now, he must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his people. Led by Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Dune features a stellar cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, and Dave Bautista. 

Since the first movie only adapted the first half of the book, Dune: Part Two with Zendaya in the lead will cover the rest of the story. The film will hit theaters on November 3rd.