Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials has captivated readers since it was published in the late ‘90s. It received a film adaptation in 2007 which did not fare too well in the box office, and amongst critics. This time, BBC and HBO have teamed up to create a television series for His Dark Material, and if their newly released trailer is anything to go by, it seems like fans of the series have something to look forward to.
The series is set in an alternate world where everyone has animal companions called daemons, which are essentially manifestations of the human’s soul. His Dark Material follows young orphan Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen), who embark on a quest to look for her missing best friend Roger, who is just one child out of many who have gone missing. On her search, she stumbles upon a conspiracy involving the domineering Church and its opponents, one of which is her uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy).
In the trailer, which was first released at the San Diego Comic-Con, we also see Lyra being taken care of by Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson), though it is made abundantly clear soon after that Mrs Coulter is definitely up to no good. The TV adaption of His Dark Material will expand more on Mrs Coulter’s character, accomplishing what the 2007 movie adaptation could not. Viewers will finally get to see why Mrs. Coulter’s daemon is a monkey, and just how different their relationship is from other human-daemon pairs.
On her journey to find her missing friend, Lyra receives a device called the aletheometer, recruits aeronaut Lee Scoresby (Lin Manuel Miranda) and his armoured polar bear friend, Iorek Byrinson, to help her free her friends and foil the Church’s plans.
Pullman’s His Dark Material was a dark, anti-authoritarian trilogy that explored the themes of religion and the abuse of power, as well as the nature of ethics. A large reason as to why the 2007 film adaptation, The Golden Compass failed was due to critics lambasting the film’s inability to properly handle the dark themes strongly prevalent in the novel, reducing the film to just pretty visuals, filled with “lax storytelling”. Fans can only wait and hope that the TV adaptation follows the key themes explored in the novel much more faithfully.
The TV series was first greenlit by the BBC in 2015, with HBO stepping in as co-producer and international distributor in 2018. The series has no release date yet but HBO has teased that the series will be released sometime this fall.