WarnerMedia’s presumptive Dune franchise is facing some reshuffling: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Jon Spaihts is stepping down as the showrunner of the spinoff series Dune: The Sisterhood to focus instead on the screenplay for the expected sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming feature film.
Villeneuve is helming the two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, the first installment of which is set to hit theaters in December 2020. In addition to that project, WarnerMedia ordered a companion series, Dune: The Sisterhood, for HBO Max’s streaming service.
THR says that Spaihts turned in a script and an outline for the series, but the studio “was not happy with the early work,” and is searching for a new showrunner to helm the series. What this means for the production of the series is unclear, but it doesn’t seem as though Spaihts is being cut out completely—he’ll remain an executive producer on the series and will work on the upcoming film sequel, which has not yet been officially announced by Legendary.
The series appears to be an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s novel Sisterhood of Dune, a prequel to Herbert’s original novel, and helps set up the Bene Gesserit who play a pivotal role in the story. Alongside the film, the series is set to be part of a much larger effort on the part of WarnerMedia to forge a new major science fiction franchise for the studio, one that will appear in both cinemas and on streaming services (along with video games, comics, and other offerings), much like Disney has done with its Star Wars franchise. But first, the company has to get the project up off the ground.