What You Need to Know About the Dune Television Series From Denis Villeneuve

The upcoming Dune movie from visionary sci-fi director Denis Villeneuve has been generations in the making. Called, “unadaptable” because of its many failed movie and TV versions, Dune remains one of the most beloved science fiction stories of all time—one that has never been made into a worthy film or television series.

But that might all be about to change, as Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune film—due out November 20, 2020—has a lot of promise, with a cast that includes Timothée Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto Atreides), and more.

Now, according to new reports, Villeneuve’s exploration of Frank Herbert’s vast universe won’t end with the Dune movie. As Variety reports, WarnerMedia has ordered a Dune: The Sisterhood series for its upcoming streaming service that focuses on the mysterious Bene Gesserit.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, in the books the Bene Gesserit are an ancient order of women who have mastered their minds and bodies through mental conditioning to gain superhuman powers. The Sisterhood uses its knowledge and power to help guide humanity according to their own plan of the future. And while their history—and purpose—isn’t well known, members of the Sisterhood often work as advisors, wives, or concubines to leaders of the Great Houses, crafting alliances that help drive events toward their own goals.

In Dune, Ferguson will be playing Lady Jessica, the mother of the protagonist, Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, who is the concubine of Issac’s Duke Leto Atreides. Though she’s not Leto’s wife, she is in fact a member of the Bene Gesserit, who works as a close companion, lover, and advisor to Duke Leto, who is the head of the great House Atreides.

Villeneuve will direct the pilot with Jon Spaihts—who co-wrote the film screenplay with Eric Roth—will pen the series.

“The Bene Gesserit have always been fascinating to me,” Villeneuve told Variety. “Focusing a series around that powerful order of women seemed not only relevant and inspiring but a dynamic setting for the television series.”

While it’s not clear when exactly this series will take place in the thousands of years of history that have been explored in the Dune Saga, this description from The Hollywood Reporter gives us some idea:

Herbert’s Dune novel examines a future in which humanity has spread across the galaxy to thousands of worlds, all ruled by the Padishah Emperor, The Imperium. Dune: The Sisterhood takes place in the same universe and explores the future through the eyes of a mysterious order of women: the Bene Gesserit. Given abilities by their mastery of the body and the mind, the Bene Gesserit expertly weave through the feudal politics and intrigue of The Imperium, pursuing plans of their own that will ultimately lead them to the enigmatic planet Arrakis — known to its inhabitants as Dune.

This sounds like the series will take place leading up to the events of Dune and the Bene Gesserit’s political maneuvers throughout the universe. It’s unclear when, exactly, this series will air, but considering the movie isn’t slated until 2020 and the currently unnamed WarnerMedia streaming service won’t launch until the end of the year at the earliest, we’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

But, the promising thing for fans of Dune, is that THR reports that this series and movie is all part of Legendary Entertainment’s “larger plan for Dune, which also includes video games, digital content packages and comic book series.”