Emily Watson & Shirley Henderson Cast in ‘Dune’ Prequel at HBO Max

Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson
John Lamparski/Getty Images; Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

HBO Max‘s upcoming Dune prequel series, Dune: The Sisterhood, has found its lead stars, as Emily Watson (Chernobyl) and Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley) have been cast in the highly anticipated sci-fi drama.

According to Variety, Watson and Henderson will play sisters Valya Harkonnen and Tula Harkonnen, who have risen to power in the Sisterhood, a secret organization of women. The sisters come together to combat forces that threaten the future of humankind and establish the fabled sect known as the Bene Gesserit.

Inspired by Frank Herbert’s classic novel, the series is set 10,000 years before the events of Dune and is based on the novel Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Diane Ademu-John (The Haunting of Bly Manor) serves as creator, writer, co-showrunner, and executive producer, with Alison Schapker (Westworld) on board as co-showrunner and exec producer.

Watson most recently appeared in the TV shows Too Close and The Third Day. In 2019, she earned an Emmy nomination for her role in the HBO limited series Chernobyl. She is also a two-time Best Actress Oscar nominee, having received nods for her performances in Breaking the Waves and Hilary and Jackie. Her other credits include Punch-Drunk Love, War Horse, and The Theory of Everything.

Henderson, meanwhile, is perhaps best known for playing Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She also starred in Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’s Diary, as well as their respective sequels. Her TV credits include British series such as Happy Valley, Death in Paradise, and Doctor Who.

This isn’t the first time Watson and Henderson have starred alongside one another, as both women appeared in the 2012 historical romantic drama film Anna Karenina.

Denis Villeneuve, who directed, co-wrote, and produced the 2021 Dune film, is executive producing with Herbert, Jon Spaihts, Scott Z. Burns, Matthew King, John Cameron, Cait Collins, Byron Merritt, and Kim Herbert. Johan Renck will direct the premiere episode and executive produce, while author Anderson serves as co-producer.

Dune: The Sisterhood, TBA, HBO Max