British actresses Emily Watson and Olivia Williams take centre stage in a prequel series for the science fiction franchise Dune, a trailer has shown.

Watson, known for Punch-Drunk Love and Breaking The Waves, and Williams, who has been in Miss Austen Regrets and The Sixth Sense, will be in Dune: Prophecy on US streaming platform Max.

Set thousands of years before the 2021 movie Dune, which stars Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, and also inspired by works from US science-fiction author Frank Herbert, it will tell the story of sisters Tula (Williams) and Valya Harkonnen (Watson).

It will chronicle how secretive sect the Bene Gesserit, a sisterhood of people who have superhuman powers, became a force in the empire and started pulling the strings of major events.

The teaser shows Valya describing how the group started 10,000 years before the birth of Paul Atreides (Chalamet) to help the great houses “sift truth from lies”.

She adds: “We created a network of influence throughout the Imperium but power comes with a price.”

It also shows the soon-to-be Bene Gesserit scheming to arrange marriages and appearing to face criticism from Sister Theodosia, played by His Dark Materials star Jade Anouka.

Theodosia says: “This is us playing god and we will be judged for it.”

Kingsman film series star Mark Strong also appears as Emperor Javicco Corrino while The Witcher actress Jodhi May plays Empress Natalya and Vikings actor Travis Fimmel will reportedly take on the role of soldier Desmond Hart.

Dune: Prophecy is based on the book Sisterhood Of Dune, written by Frank Herbert’s son Brian and Kevin J Anderson.

The series will stream this autumn on Max.