Indira Varma, who played Ellaria Sand of Dorne in Game of Thrones, has joined the cast of the Dune prequel HBO Max series. It was recently announced that Emily Watson and Shirley Henderson would lead the cast of Dune: The Sisterhood, which will focus on the Harkonnen Sisters who found the Bene Gesserit. It is set 10,000 years before the events of Denis Villeneuve’s two Dune movies.
Varma has also starred in television series Obi-Wan Kenobi, Carnival Row and Rome. Her first film role was in Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra (1996), alongside Naveen Andrews and Sarita Choudhury. She also starred in Gurinder Chadha’s Bride & Prejudice (2004) alongside Aishwarya Rai and Virgin River‘s Martin Henderson. Varma is set to have a major role in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One (to be released in 2023).
In Dune: The Sisterhood, Varma will play Empress Natalya, described to Deadline as “a formidable royal who united thousands of worlds in her marriage to Emperor Corrino.” The series is adapted from the novel Sisterhood of Dune, co-written by Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert.
In Villeneuve’s successful film adaptation of Dune, Paul Atreides’ (Timothee Chalamet) mother Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson) is a devoted member of the Bene Gesserit sect, and she tries to teach Paul their skills including ‘the voice’ – which is similar to the Jedi mind trick. Charlotte Rampling plays Reverend Mother Mohiam, one of the leaders of the sect.
In the prequel series Watson and Henderson will portray Valya Harkonnen and Tula Harkonnen, the formidable Harkonnen Sisters, who have risen to power in the Sisterhood, a secret organisation of women who will go on to become the Bene Gesserit. They must combat forces that threaten the future of humankind, before establishing the fabled sect of powerful women.
While we wait for more news on Dune: The Sisterhood, check out our guide to House Atreides and House Harkonnen.