What do we know about Dune Prophecy, the spin-off TV series airing on Max? More than you might think!

What Do We Know About Dune Prophecy? More than you may think. With the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel a critical and box office success, it is going to be several years before we see the next feature film in the series, Dune Messiah. Luckily, production on the small-screen prequel /spin-off was concurrent with Dune: Part Two which means before the end of the year we are going to return to the fictional realms of Arrakis, Geidi Prime, and more via Max.

While not much in the way of footage has made its way online, there have been quite a few reveals about Dune Prophecy, so let’s jump in and discuss.

Denis Villeneuve is not directing any episodes

The original plan was for Villeneuve to helm the series in addition to his big screen directorial duties. The series, originally announced as Dune: The Sisterhood, went into production in November 22 with Chernobyl director Johan Renck behind the camera. Why wouldn’t the visionary director of the feature films be making the series? It all came down to timing. With Legendary originally acquiring the rights to the Herbert novels in 2016 and announcing Villeneuve as director in 2017, he was deep into the project by the 2019 announcement of Dune: The Sisterhood. While Jon Spaihts was showrunner for the series, he departed in 2019 to focus on Dune: Part Two, something Villeneuve also opted to make his primary project. That shifted the series to Dana Calvo as showrunner alongside executive producers including novelist Kevin J. Anderson, co-writer of dozens of Dune prequels and sequels alongside Brian and Kim Herbert, the children of Frank Herbert.

What is it about?

Taking things way back, Dune Prophecy is set ten thousand years before Paul Atreides joined the Fremen to lead an uprising on Arrakis to take down House Harkonen. Using the deep mythology created by Frank Herbert and the expanded novels including Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, the series centers on sisters Valya and Tula Harkkonen, the founders of the mysterious all-female order called the Bene Gesserit. For the layperson, these are the witch-like advisors seen in the films played by Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Rampling, and Florence Pugh. In Dune Prophecy, the siblings, played by Emily Watson as Valya and Olivia Williams as Tula, combat forces that threaten the future of humankind. That leads to the next question.

emily watson in dune prophecy

What is the threat against humankind?

This is something we do not know for certain, but excuse me while I nerd out a little here. In Dune Part Two, Princess Irulan notes the time as being the year 10191 and Prophecy is set ten thousand years earlier. Fans of the Dune novels know that the lack of any computers in the world of Dune is due to an event that happened known as the Butlerian Jihad. This was a massive conflict throughout the known universe between an A.I. consciousness that enslaved humanity and the people who fought back. When humans defeated the machines, computers were outlawed, leaving the world a different place, hence the use of complex machines instead of computers. The Butlerian Jihad occurred more than 10000 years before Dune which means Prophecy will find the houses of Atreides, Harkonnen, and Corrino in a very different place than we have seen before. While I would imagine if the films keep making money for Warner Bros, we may see a Butlerian Jihad series of its own while Prophecy will focus on the early conflicts between the human families as they begin their exploration of the galaxy.

dune prophecy pic

Who is starring in the series?

Prophecy has a solid cast, led by the aforementioned Watson and Williams. Shirley Henderson, originally set to play Tula Harkonnen, left the production early along with director Johan Renck. Indira Varma, who was going to play Empress Natalya, was replaced by Jodhi May. The cast also includes the great Mark Strong as Emperor Javicco Corrino with Josh Heuston as his illegitimate son, Constantine. Sarah Sofie Boussnina plays Princess Ynez a woman struggling with her pressures as heir to the throne. There are some familiar names with Vikings star Travis Fimmel playing a soldier named Desmond Hart while Chris Mason portrays Keiran Atreides, a swordsman with an unexpected connection to the royal family. Shalom Brune Franklin will play Mikaela, a Fremen servant to the royal family. There are more names sure to come out as we get closer to release, but you can already see the seeds planted similar to how House of the Dragon connects to Game of Thrones.

Who made the series?

While Villeneuve and Spaihts departed to make Dune Part Two, Prophecy underwent some shifts behind the scenes. Dana Calvo was replaced by Diane Ademu John  as showrunner, who in turn was replaced by Alison Schapker. Renck left early in 2023 and was replaced as director by Anna Foerster, best known for helming the Netflix action movie Lou as well as episodes of Outlander, Carnival Row, and Westworld. Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi was set as composer but was replaced by Volker Bertelmann in October 2023. We also know that production kept going during the SAG AFTRA strike thanks to the cast and crew in Budapest being aligned with the UK based union Equity. Production began in late 2022 and wrapped December 2023. We also know that the series did not use StageCraft technology revolutionized by Disney and Lucasfilm series The Mandalorian and Ahsoka, instead opting for physical production values and practical sets.

When will we see it?

In the recently released teaser trailer, it was revealed that the six-episode series is due for a Fall 2024 on Max. The trailer included some tantalizing imagery, including a cool fight/ sparring session using the shield technology we saw Paul using with Gurney (Josh Brolin) in Dune: Part One.

What do you expect to see in the upcoming Dune series? Let us know in the comments and click the like and subscribe to follow all of our latest original videos.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/dune-prophecy-everything-we-know/

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