Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

'His Dark Materials': TV adaptation of Sir Philip Pullman's bestselling trilogy to be released later this year

The trailer premiered after the 'Game of Thrones' finale and two seasons are already confirmed

Game of Thrones is over, but HBO has a new reason for you to watch its shows: a big-budget TV adaptation in collaboration with the BBC of Sir Philip Pullman’s best-selling fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials.

As the season finale credits rolled for the cast in Westeros, the trailer for His Dark Materials promised something new and epic to look forward to. Starring James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the eight-part series will air later this year. From the trailer, it looks as though its first season will be based on the first book, Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass in North America). No release date has been announced yet.

Watch the full trailer above.

Dafne Keen plays Lyra, the girl at the centre of the plot, which is set in a world dominated by an international theocracy. Humans’ spirits exist outside of their bodies in the form of “daemons”, there’s a mysterious substance at the heart of the universe called “Dust” and the story incorporates child abduction, witches and a rather scary-looking polar bear.

“You once asked me what evil was,” says Lord Asriel (McAvoy) at the start of the trailer (presumably to Lyra). “There are things that you’re better off not understanding.”

Mrs Coulter (Wilson) then chimes in: “In every child’s nightmare, there’s an element of truth.” As the trailer wraps up, she looks very seriously at Lyra. “Now is the time to choose a side.”

It certainly has all the makings of great TV.

The reveal comes three months after Pullman announced the second volume in his second trilogy, The Book of Dust, is set to be released on October 3, 2019. The first book in the series, La Belle Sauvage, was set about 12 years prior to Pullman’s original trilogy. The second instalment, called The Secret Commonwealth, will take place seven years after the end of The Amber Spyglass, the final book in His Dark Materials.

British author Philip Pullman poses with a copy of 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' at the Bodleian Libraries, in Oxford, southern England. AFP 
British author Philip Pullman poses with a copy of 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' at the Bodleian Libraries, in Oxford, southern England. AFP

Northern Lights was first published in 1995. It was followed by The Subtle Knife in 1997 and The Amber Spyglass in 2000. The trilogy went on to sell more than 17.5 million copies and was translated into 40 languages.

The BBC has reportedly already committed to an eight-episode second season of the new show. HBO is co-producing both seasons and will have worldwide distribution rights outside Britain, reports Variety.

In 2007, a film adaptation of The Golden Compass was released, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. But it wasn’t very well received – The Guardian actually described it as “rubbish”.

Let’s just hope this new show doesn’t fall as flat as the Game of Thrones finale.

Updated: May 22, 2019 12:03 PM

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