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Dune prequel director reveals why he left the TV spinoff (and how it ties into the Dune movies)

The spice decided to flow in a different direction.

Dune: Part One (2021) - Bene Gesserit
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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You might still be riding a spice high and/or a sandworm after Dune: Part Two's spectacular opening weekend, but you may not be aware that a prequel TV series for Max has been in the works for a long time. In fact, it's been almost entirely reworked following the success of the first of Denis Villeneuve's movies.

The recent-ish title change was only another step in the series' bumpy road to release, as it recast some key roles last year due to the strikes that froze most major productions, swapped showrunners, and even changed the overall direction to better incorporate elements from the highly successful movies despite taking place thousands of years before Paul Atreides' story and focusing on the secretive and powerful Bene Gesserit.

As part of The Playlist's interview with Spaceman director Johan Renck (of Chernobyl fame), new details about what happened with Dune: Prophecy (formerly Dune: The Sisterhood) have emerged. For starters, it sounds like Renck bears no ill-feelings towards those in power nor the people that are now shepherding the series (he was set to direct the first two episodes) now: "I mean, this is what kind of happens sometimes. I’ve been through similar things before. Like I said before, I’m not tremendously interested in episodic television as a director. Anyway, it’s been many years since I was involved in that [show] in any shape or form."

According to him, Legendary Television's original idea for the series wasn't as tied to Villeneuve's movies, making the most of the huge distance between the two settings and letting Renck and the other creatives have more fun creating the world and story. At some point, however, that obviously changed. The filmmaker explained: "The reason I got involved to some extent with Dune was that I’m a massive fan of the David Lynch Dune movie, the original one from the eighties. I love that movie. It’s so absurd, bizarre, weird, dark, and twisted. So, for me, it was like, ‘Yeah, okay, if they’re doing a TV series, that would be interesting to see if they because what they said earlier on was like, 'This doesn’t have to have anything to do with the movies, the [Denis] Villeneuve movies, this is its own animal, and we can do whatever we want with it,' so that’s where it started."

He later added that "the original idea of the story completely changed course also because it used to be called, 'Dune: Sisterhood,' and then it changed names and became a completely different thing." He didn't get into details, as the show has yet to unveil a single piece of promotional material and he's not involved anymore, but made sure to underline the change wasn't necessarily bad, as he simply wasn't interested in the new direction: "Again, that’s something that can happen in episodic TV, and it’s just like, either you are okay being in and functioning in that environment of that kind, but it never has been or will it be something for me." It's important to highlight how he previously said he was interested in limited series, which seems to suggest that was the original plan for 'The Sisterhood' before it became 'Dune: Prophecy' (which might be designed to be a multiple-season show).

No matter how much Dune: Prophecy is actually tied to the movies, its title alone will surely make it one of the biggest TV shows dropping in late 2024, so we'll be keeping an eye on it for sure.


Need more spice (heh) in your life? Popverse has all the Dune coverage you could want. From Dune: Part Two's ending explained, to details on the sequels and TV show prequels that are planned, to how to prep for the next film with a Dune watch order, to which Frank Herbert story Denis Villeneuve believes would make a great Dune: Part Three, and even which movies to watch after you've finished Dune.

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