It’s not Dune yet but the upcoming spinoff Dune: The Sisterhood is facing quite some production troubles. It started production back in November but has gone through quite the creative shift that is definitely going to end up pricey for HBO Max. Chernobyl‘s Johan Reenck has seemingly left the project, as he was set to direct the first two episodes. Production has been put on hold but this also lead to one of its leads, Shirley Henderson, leaving the project as well.
Henderson was set to play Tula Harkonnen, who is currently being recast. That isn’t all, as this news comes just as co-showrunner and pilot scribe Diane Ademu-John has also stepped down. Now, Alison Schapker is the sole showrunner for the project spearheaded by Legendary productions. An HBO Max spokesperson had the following to say:
As Dune: The Sisterhood (wt) 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. 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.
It seems the showrunner change put a lot of pressure on Schapker, which led to major rewrites as the series was starting production in Budapest. It also seems the director Renck‘s more “auteur” approach wasn’t quite coming together with the vision of the series and was moving too far away from Denis Villeneuve‘s film. As of now, there’s no word if they’ll even use any of the footage he filmed or reshoot the entire thing.
At the moment, there’s no clear indicator of if the current hiatus was planned or not. Some believe it was always meant to pause during the winter months while others hint it may have been pushed back by seven months to rework the entire series and find a new director. Henderson leaving is also unclear at the moment but it seems her schedule was one of the reasons that she had to leave.