WarnerMedia greenlights Dune TV series with director Denis Villeneuve

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WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service has given the go-ahead to produce a series based on Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, according to a report in Variety. The series, Dune: The Sisterhood, “is told through the eyes of a mysterious order of women known as the Bene Gesserit. Given extraordinary 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.” Film director Denis Villeneuve (The Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) will direct the pilot episode and co-produce the series.

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

The description doesn’t expressly say the series is a prequel to Villeneuve’s planned Dune movie, an upcoming adaptation of Herbert’s 1965 series-starting novel Dune. But Jon Spaihts, the screenwriter for the film, will also be writing the series and co-producing alongside Villeneuve, so it seems clear that the show and movie are meant to be part of the same continuity.

And if the Bene Gesserit — a secret order who manipulate bloodlines and spread their teachings in order to improve and enlighten humanity — haven’t yet made their way to Arrakis in the series, the show certainly takes place before the film. It seems unlikely, however, that it’d arrive on the WarnerMedia streaming service before the film hits theaters in November 2020. The service doesn’t yet have an official launch date, though it’s expected to launch later this year, and be “fully up and running” by March 2020.

Compared to Apple and Disney, which have been heavily touting the original content planned for their upcoming streaming services, WarnerMedia has announced relatively few titles, and is concentrating more on its ownership of popular titles like Friends and on serving as an adjunct to HBO, which WarnerMedia owns.

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