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Dune: The Sisterhood - What We Know So Far

The first half of Denis Villeneuve's sprawling sci-fi film "Dune" has arrived, and unlike the previous attempts to bring Frank Herbert's epic novel to the screen, it has generally managed to impress critics and fans alike. The series has even earned praise from Herbert's son, Brian, who himself co-wrote more than a dozen novels exploring the "Dune" universe.

Brian Herbert hugely expanded the universe that his father established in the original six "Dune" novels, giving the already complex science fiction world a remarkable degree of depth. It appears that HBO Max thinks that audiences will be interested in exploring some of that backstory as well, as Variety has confirmed that work continues on the long-awaited prequel series "Dune: The Sisterhood." While details regarding many of the specifics of "Dune: The Sisterhood" remain thin, the series does revolve around the mysterious but powerful Bene Gesserit organization, although its direct connection to the newest film remains unclear.

Even though HBO has largely kept quiet about what fans will see when the prequel series arrives, there are some hints out there that might give fans a couple of clues about what to expect. Here is everything that fans need to know about the release date, characters, and plot of "Dune: The Sisterhood."

When is the release date for Dune: The Sisterhood?

Even though "Dune: The Sisterhood" has been in development for a couple of years now, HBO Max has not provided any official release date or hints regarding the progress of the production. As such, the absolute earliest that fans should expect to see "Dune: The Sisterhood" is probably the latter half of 2022, with a 2023 arrival date more likely.

While there have been rumors about an accompanying prequel series to the new adaptation of "Dune" for some time, "Dune: The Sisterhood" became a reality when Deadline reported that WarnerMedia had authorized a straight-to-series order for the show. However, the project sat in limbo for a while, with the only significant news coming through the pipeline being the departure of prospective showrunner Jon Spaihts, via The Hollywood Reporter, who moved on to focus on writing the proposed "Dune" movie sequel.

The project remained dormant as the film industry reeled from the challenges introduced by COVID-19, but fans finally got some good news in July 2021 when Variety revealed that "Dune: The Sisterhood" had found a new showrunner, Diane Ademu-John. Ademu-John will also serve as a writer and executive producer. While the show may still be a ways out, Ademu-John's involvement is a good indication that the project is back on track.

What characters will appear in Dune: The Sisterhood?

The combination of secrecy surrounding the potential storyline of "Dune: The Sisterhood" and the universe's expansive lore, which covers hundreds of thousands of years, makes it difficult to predict who viewers can expect to see depicted on the show. However, the focus on the legendary Bene Gesserit organization might point fans in the right direction.

Bene Gesserit is a shadowy religious group with a history that begins, at the very least, about 10,000 years before the events depicted in the 2021 adaptation of "Dune," although aspects of the novels indicate that the organization may be far older than that. In the new film, the most prominent characters associated with Bene Gesserit are Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling). Lady Jessica is the mother of one of the movie's central characters, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), while the Reverend Mother is a high-ranking member of the Bene Gesserit.

There is a possibility that the prequel series could investigate the origins of these characters, which might even allow the actresses currently portraying them to continue in the roles. However, there are no guarantees that the characters (or either actress) will be involved.

What is the plot of Dune: The Sisterhood?

Once again, without more information from the production about what aspect of the massive "Dune" timeline HBO Max's new series will explore, it remains difficult to pinpoint what events fans will see depicted in the series.

One of the most detailed log lines regarding "Dune: The Sisterhood" was provided to The Hollywood Reporter. That description noted that the women of the Bene Gesserit would "weave through the feudal politics and intrigue of The Imperium" while pursuing their mysterious agenda. That agenda will apparently lead them to Arrakis, where the events of "Dune" take place. This could indicate that "Dune: The Sisterhood" will serve as a direct prequel to the events depicted in the new film.

It is also worth noting that there is a book within the official "Dune" canon with a remarkably similar title and focus — and that is the 2012 prequel novel by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, "Sisterhood of Dune." That book is set after the Butlerian Jihad event that eliminated AI from the "Dune" universe and thus takes place 10,000 years before the film's events, and goes in-depth into its exploration of the Bene Gesserit. However, its position on the "Dune" timeline could be too far removed from the events of the new film franchise to be the focal point of the new HBO Max series.