For a show that boasted some major star power (with the likes of James McAvoy, Dafne Keene, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Ruth Wilson), a clearly massive budget, and a built-in fanbase from Phillip Pullman’s original groundbreaking novels, His Darkest Materials didn’t exactly make the splash HBO was hoping it would in a post-Game of Thrones world. So confident had the cable provider been in this co-production with BBC that it greenlit two seasons before we’d ever even seen an episode. The first season was definitely leaps and bounds better an adaptation of Pullman’s iconoclast fantasy series than cinematic dud The Golden Compass was, but it also didn’t blow anybody away or create a ton of buzz. It just ended being quietly good enough.
HBO is clearly hoping things will ramp up for the show’s second season though, which had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the show’s [email protected] panel held last night, it was revealed that joining the cast for the new season will be Fleabag’s Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Scott will be playing Colonel John Parry, while Waller-Bridge will voice his daemon, an animal manifestation of the soul of every person in this fantasy world. Or rather worlds. Plural.
That was the big twist revealed surprisingly early in the first season which ended with McAvoy’s Lord Asriel sacrificing the daemon of Lyra’s friend Roger in order to fuel a bridge into the Multiverse. Season two will pick up with Lyra following Asriel into the Multiverse and discovering all new worlds as can be seen in the first trailer released during the panel.
In the second season of HIS DARK MATERIALS, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) has opened a bridge to a new world, and, distraught over the death of her best friend, Lyra (Dafne Keen) follows Asriel into the unknown. In a strange and mysterious abandoned city she meets Will (Amir Wilson), a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.
During the panel, producer Jane Tranker spoke about how moving the big twist of the existence of the Multiverse to much earlier in the story than in Pullman’s original novels actually got a very positive reception from fans as well as the author himself.
That was probably, I mean one of the most interactive and exciting audience experiences we could have hoped for. And we’re just very proud that the fans responded. I’m pleased and relieved the fans responded in the way they did. You’re all very wonderful.
That was a very gratifying thing to actually watch Sir Philip Pullman’s reaction to our adaptation, along with all of his fans. He was very appreciative.
It was also revealed that a release date for season two has not been confirmed yet, and that the episode count of the season has been dropped from eight to seven. This dropped episode would have been a standalone episode focusing just on McAvoy’s Asriel, which does occur in the original novels Writer Jack Thorne penned it with Pullman’s blessing, but it ended up getting the chop after production in the UK had to be halted in March.
You can check out the full panel below.
Last Updated: July 24, 2020