1. #1

    [TV] Denis Villeneuve's Dune: The Sisterhood (Bene Gesserit)


    New Dune TV show - what we know.

    The upcoming Dune movie from visionary sci-fi director Denis Villeneuve has been generations in the making.

    Called, "unadaptable" because of its many failed movie and TV versions, Dune remains one of the most beloved science fiction stories of all time—one that has never been made into a worthy film or television series.

    But that might all be about to change, as Villeneuve's upcoming Dune film—due out November 20, 2020—has a lot of promise, with a cast that includes Timothée Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto Atreides), and more.

    Now, according to new reports, Villeneuve's exploration of Frank Herbert's vast universe won't end with the Dune movie. As Variety reports, WarnerMedia has ordered a Dune: The Sisterhood series for its upcoming streaming service that focuses on the mysterious Bene Gesserit.

    What does that mean, exactly? Well, in the books the Bene Gesserit are an ancient order of women who have mastered their minds and bodies through mental conditioning to gain superhuman powers. The Sisterhood uses its knowledge and power to help guide humanity according to their own plan of the future. And while their history—and purpose—isn't well known, members of the Sisterhood often work as advisors, wives, or concubines to leaders of the Great Houses, crafting alliances that help drive events toward their own goals.

    In Dune, Ferguson will be playing Lady Jessica, the mother of the protagonist, Chalamet's Paul Atreides, who is the concubine of Issac's Duke Leto Atreides. Though she's not Leto's wife, she is in fact a member of the Bene Gesserit, who works as a close companion, lover, and advisor to Duke Leto, who is the head of the great House Atreides.

    Villeneuve will direct the pilot with Jon Spaihts—who co-wrote the film screenplay with Eric Roth—will pen the series.

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

    While it's not clear when exactly this series will take place in the thousands of years of history that have been explored in the Dune Saga, this description from The Hollywood Reporter gives us some idea:

    Herbert’s Dune novel examines a future in which humanity has spread across the galaxy to thousands of worlds, all ruled by the Padishah Emperor, The Imperium. Dune: The Sisterhood takes place in the same universe and explores the future through the eyes of a mysterious order of women: the Bene Gesserit. Given 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.

    This sounds like the series will take place leading up to the events of Dune and the Bene Gesserit's political maneuvers throughout the universe. It's unclear when, exactly, this series will air, but considering the movie isn't slated until 2020 and the currently unnamed WarnerMedia streaming service won't launch until the end of the year at the earliest, we'll have to wait a little bit longer.

    But, the promising thing for fans of Dune, is that THR reports that this series and movie is all part of Legendary Entertainment's “larger plan for Dune, which also includes video games, digital content packages and comic book series.”


    Objectives of the Bene Gesserit

    The primary objective of the Bene Gesserit was to attain further power and influence and help to direct humanity along a path of insight and stability. Up until the emergence of Leto Atreides II, the anticipated means of reaching this goal was through the Kwisatz Haderach - the one who can be all places at once (a male Bene Gesserit "Reverend Mother Superior", a "super-being", and ultimately a Messiah-figure to serve the Missionaria Protectiva), and the ultimate objective of their age-old breeding program. The triumph of their plan was supposed to occur when the daughter of Leto Atreides I bred with Feyd Rautha Harkonnen.

    However, their plans were thrown into turmoil by Jessica Atreides, when she consciously gave Leto Atreides I a son (Paul Atreides) instead of a daughter. Paul was assumed the Kwisatz Haderach, and, much to the dismay of the Bene Gesserit, arrived a generation too soon. Whether the order could have fully controlled the Kwisatz Haderach as they hoped remains debatable.

    The Bene Gesserit’s plans are further disrupted when Paul bred with Chani, the Fremen daughter of Liet Kynes, stirring up rogue and unpredictable genetic traits. Their son, Leto Atreides II, and his actions as the God-Emperor, radically altered the long-term destiny of the Bene Gesserit: their primary goal became the re-establishment of their power-base, an intention that was severely tested by the emergence of the Honored Matres.

    This objective was largely met, thanks to the merger of the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres but it remained clear that their fate is still very much out of their own hands.

    Credo of the Bene Gesserit

    Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the hidden assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is 'Thou shall not question!' But we question. We break that commandment as a matter of course. The work to which we have set ourselves is the liberating of the imagination, the harnessing of imagination to humankind's deepest sense of creativity.

    Structure of the Bene Gesserit

    Women unquestionably ruled the Bene Gesserit, and while men did maintain some important roles, they were always answerable to at least one woman - the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Superior.

    • The Reverend Mother Superior: maintained ultimate control of the entire order, and invoked almost unquestioned loyalty among the subordinate Reverend Mothers. A Reverend Mother chooses her successor prior to her death, and imparts her memories and personality to her. The inheritance of the Reverend Mother Superiors, at times, diverged among multiple Reverend Mothers, usually for strategic reasons.

    • Kwisatz Mother: possessed the strongest tie to the other voices, in charge of the program to breed the Kwisatz Haderach; She solely directed the breeding program.

    The subordinate Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit fulfilled many diverse roles, including intelligence gathering, diplomacy, and breeding to continue the objectives of the breeding program. They also pursued more menial roles, with their occupation determined by the quality of their genetic make-up.

    • Reverend Mothers: Have undergone the Spice Agony and survived. They fill the role of advisors, faculty, historians, geneticists. General authority of the Order for most members and the outside populace.
    • Proctor Superiors: In charge of a chapter house, each chapter house has a Proctor Superior.
    • Truthsayer: taught the ways to invoke the truth trance.
    • Sister: agents, concubines, potential wives.
    • Initiate

    Powers and Abilities

    The Bene Gesserit schools were designed to maximise the physical and mental potential of humanity, especially females. As a result, Bene Gesserit adepts possessed abilities that could not be rivalled by anyone else in the known universe.

    Physically, a Bene Gesserit could control every muscle and nerve in their body, right down to the individual fibers. They were supreme in the disciplines of prana and bindu. The results of this training were numerous abilities, including:

    • Oral Analysis: Upon tasting an item, a Bene Gesserit can break down the food into its ingredients, right down to its chemical composition;
    • Internal Organic-Chemical Control: Alteration of metabolism to render poisons harmless. This ability was used when potential Reverend Mothers took the Water of Life;
    • Prana Bindu: Alteration of blood flow, body temperature, heart rate, and level of consciousness, for the purposes of survival in harsh environments, or escaping from bonds;
    • Weirding Way: Superior hand-to-hand combat abilities; martial arts. Bene Gesserit trained men and women unrivalled in their fighting abilities. Only Imperial Sardaukar and the Fremen of Arrakis could approach the abilities of a Bene Gesserit in regards to combat techniques, attack speed, and resourcefulness. Later, in the Age of The Tyrant, and even later, in the times after The Scattering, new abilities were developed in humans by means of genetic breeding, in extremis situations (see Miles Teg, a Bene Gesserit Bashar), or designed into ghola abilities (see "Heretics Of Dune" era Duncan Idaho).
    • The Voice: Ability to influence people directly by giving them orders with a certain sound frequency. When a person is ordered to do something by the use of Voice it is almost irresistable not to comply. A Bene Gesserit is trained to resist the Voice. The downside of it is the phenomenon of entire population becoming immune to it if The Voice is being overly used upon a population. Mentats can especially become immune to the Voice if he understands how it works.
    • Sensing the Truth: Truthsayer is trained to sense if someone is telling the truth or not, but the other Bene Gesserit can also spot if someone is holding something back. Example: When Dr.Yueh was supposed to betray the Duke Leto of the Atreides, he felt guilty and anxious about it. Jessica had conversations with him and sensed that he is holding something back. Being informend that Bene Gesserit can sense his guilt about what he was about to do he exploited/manipulated his own emotions (remembering his wife in the grasp of baron Harkonnen) and mentioning her every time he thought Jessica was studying him and searching for more reasons why he felt so disturbed.
    • Fertility Control
    Bene Gesserit are able to control their own fertility, choosing when to get pregnant and the gender of their child in order to produce children when and where the order wishes in order to meet with the Bene Gesserits breeding program.

    Bene Gesserit mental abilities included supreme levels of discipline. A Bene Gesserit mind could alter its level of consciousness, for the sake of relaxation, and hyper-alertness in times of potential danger. Moreover, a Bene Gesserit trained individual could:

    • Petit Perception: monitor minutiae in others to detect concealed emotions, motivations, agendas, or even physical things such as concealed weapons, a false accent, surgery, or deception in general. This particular skill was useful in detecting face dancers.

    Emergence as a Universal Power

    "She nodded. "We have two chief survivors of those ancient schools: the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild. The Guild, so we think, emphasizes almost pure mathematics. Bene Gesserit performs another function." "Politics!" he said. "
    ―Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
    For millennia, the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood chose to exercise its power by acting in the background of imperial politics. Through their breeding program, their placement of agents in the imperial court and Great Houses, and their provision of services such as the training of noble females, mediation in disputes, and overseers of negotiations, the Bene Gesserit carved out a significant niche in the structure of the Imperium. They were also silent partners in CHOAM along with the Bene Tleilax.

    This all changed when House Atreides wrested the imperial throne from House Corrino. After the reign of Paul Atreides and his son Leto Atreides II, there came into existence a power vacuum. This vacuum was filled by both the Bene Gesserit and Bene Tleilax, who sought to maintain control over the remnants of the empire after humanity exploded across the universe in The Scattering. The Bene Gesserit came to believe that if they were to avoid coming under another tyrant, they would have to take a more active role in politics and universal events.

    The Honored Matres

    It came to the point where the Bene Gesserit came to open conflict with both the Bene Tleilax and the Honored Matres, a bastardisation of Bene Gesserit + Fish Speakers that returned from The Scattering. Indeed, the Sisterhood found themselves in a position of champion of the Old Order when the Honored Matres began attacking planets of the Old Imperium.

    During the Return of the Honored Matres, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Superior Darwi Odrade, a descendant of Paul, realized only through the Sisterhood combining with the Matres could both organizations survive into the future. First, Odrade trained her captive Murbella, a captured Matre, in the ways of the sisters. Then she and a ghola of Miles Teg, set up a plan to attack the Honored Matre base on the Guild-world of Junction. As Odrade was killed in the ensuing battle, Murbella also killed the Honored Matre leader, Logno. Murbella then decided to unite both groups into the New Sisterhood.

    Sheeana Escapes

    There was immediate resistance to the concept of the merger, as Sheeana, a rebel Reverend Mother, escaped from Chapterhouse in a No-ship, with a hundred of her fellow sisters; taking a few sandworms with them. They escaped with Miles Teg and Duncan Idaho, who had their own reasons for leaving; but Sheeana's group's intention was one to set up a "pure" Gesserit outpost, far away from civilization. As the no-ship fold-spaced throughout the cosmos in an attempt to escape the tachyon net of the mysterious elderly couple, Daniel and Marty, the sisters aboard the no-ship held true to their training and structure.

  2. #2
    Well... okay, I guess?

    I guess I'm doubtful as to what kind of storyline they're going for with that TV series. The BG rely on monstrous amounts of exposition before you really understand them, delivering that well is quite the task. What would they adapt? Heretics/Chapterhouse? Without knowledge of the God Emperor's times that might be a tough sell. Pre-Dune era? Also complicated.

    I'm not saying it can't be made to work, but I'm a little skeptical.

  3. #3
    Well, it's by Denis Villeneuve who made Blade Runner 2049 so I feel he could deliver. If it was some random director, I'd be worried..

    That they give him both the movie n then the series says the company has great faith in him, this is unusual to get both a movie n a tv show I would think (honestly I have never heard of such a deal before)

    A plus would be they could re-use sets from the film, that's one way to save monies, that would be an argument to get this deal approved

    A big sell for the movie would be if this series came out before n would be a prequel show, but seeing how long the movie has been in production I would bet against that timing..unless the show has secretly been hiring actors n shooting for a while now..

    Another move could be to change when the movie comes out, so it does well, it will probably be awesome but blade runner 1 & 2 didn't make a lot of money even though they are loved..on the other hand blade runner is noir n a lot less action oriented so Denis' prior work shouldn't give people fears? If anyone can deliver an awesome sci-fi saga it's him, I'm so sick of star wars, I want something else..
    Last edited by Ihavewaffles; 2019-06-12 at 07:33 PM.

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