‘Dune: The Sisterhood’ Creator Diane Ademu-John Exits as Co-Showrunner Ahead of Production

Ademu-John, who replaced Jon Spaihts in 2021, will remain involved as executive producer on the HBO Max project

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in "Dune" / Chiabella James / Warner Bros.
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica in "Dune" / Chiabella James / Warner Bros.

“Dune: The Sisterhood” creator, writer and executive producer Diane Ademu-John (“The Haunting of Bly Manor”) has stepped down as co-showrunner of the HBO Max series ahead of production, TheWrap has confirmed. Ademu-John, who replaced former co-showrunner Jon Spaihts in 2021, will remain involved in an EP capacity.

Veteran TV writer-producer Alison Schapker (“Lost”) will now be the sole showrunner for the “Dune” prequel series.

Announced back in 2019 during HBO Max’s nascent stages, “Dune: The Sisterhood” (working title) is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic sci-fi novel, exploring the mysterious order of women known as the Bene Gesserit, who have honed extraordinary capabilities due to their control over their bodies and minds. Set 10,000 years ahead of the events of “Dune,” which sees the ascent of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the drama follows the Harkonnen Sisters (Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson) as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind and establish the fabled sect.

Denis Villeneuve, who directed, co-wrote and produced 2021’s “Dune” and who will be back in the same capacity for its sequel due for release next year, is executive producing with Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Matthew King, John Cameron and Cait Collins. Byron Merritt and Kim Herbert are EPs for the Frank Herbert estate. “Sisterhood of Dune” co-author Brian Herbert is EP, while co-author Kevin J. Anderson serves as co-producer. HBO Max and Legendary Television co-produce the series.

In July 2019, Spaihts was tapped as co-showrunner alongside Dana Calvo (“Good Girls Revolt”), who had stepped into the role through her multiyear overall deal at Legendary, which is also behind the film franchise. Spaihts, who was Oscar nominated for his part in adapting “Dune,” exited shortly after in November as both writer and co-showrunner to focus on penning the screenplay for “Dune: Part Two” ahead of the film’s eventual greenlighting. In July of 2021, Ademu-John was tapped to replace Spaihts.

Filming on “Dune: The Sisterhood” commenced Tuesday in Budapest, where the film sequel is also shooting. The pilot will be directed by Johan Renck, who is also serving as EP on the episode. He wrote in an Instagram post announcing the news, “On this day, we commence filming Dune: The Sisterhood for HBO Max. Through machinations taking place millenia before the story you all know, we descend into the coven that one day shall be named the Bene Gesserit. Say it with me: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.” ?”

Deadline was first to report the news.