Programme Name: The Nest - TX: n/a - Episode: Portraits (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Siobhan (SHIRLEY HENDERSON) - (C) Studio Lambert - Photographer: screen grab

Dune: The Sisterhood Loses Actress Shirley Henderson and Johan Renck

HBO Max’s upcoming Dune spinoff series has been plagued by setbacks almost from the start. However, the show is now facing some of its biggest obstacles yet. Production on Dune: The Sisterhood officially kicked off in Hungary back in November. But Deadline is reporting that actress Shirley Henderson is vacating her role as one of the series’ leads. Additionally, Johan Renck, who signed on to direct the first two episodes last April, is stepping down as well.

Shockingly, that’s not all. New details have also surfaced regarding the departure of co-showrunner Diane Ademu-John, who exited The Sisterhood just as filming was getting underway and left her former collaborator, Alison Schapker, as the last showrunner standing. This apparently led to a massive shift in the series’ creative direction. Because Ademu-John’s withdrawal happened so late in the game, Schapker and her team felt pressured to “make major rewrites on the fly,” all while cameras were starting to roll.

As for Renck, who previously won several awards for his work on HBO’s Chernobyl, his “auteur approach” to the series didn’t line up with what the producers had planned for the show. His vision was also too far-removed from the look of Denis Villeneuve’s original Dune film that premiered in 2021. Renck’s replacement will ultimately be the one to decide if any of the footage he shot during his short-lived stint on the series will be used in the final cut. In the meantime, Renck has apparently scrubbed his Instagram account of any references to the project. 

“As Dune: The Sisterhood (wt) has entered a pre-scheduled hiatus, there are some creative changes being made to the production in an effort to create the best series possible and stay true to the source material,” said an HBO Max spokesperson in a new statement. “Johan Renck has completed his work on the series and a new director will be brought on; through mutual agreement, Johan is moving on to pursue other projects. Additionally, Shirley Henderson will be exiting the series and will no longer be playing Tula Harkonnen.”

There’s also some debate over the cause of the aforementioned production hiatus. Some of Deadline’s sources claim that it was always the plan to stop filming during the winter months. But others allege that Shapker and her writers are getting seven extra months to re-tool the story while the producers search for a new director to replace Renck. Whatever the case, the pause is currently “wreaking havoc” on the remaining actors’ schedules. If the situation isn’t resolved soon, more exits and recastings could be in order.

HBO Max hasn’t announced a release date for Dune: The Sisterhood.

What do you think about the latest developments with this series? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Sisterhood of Dune

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