Season 2, premiering later this year, adapts the events of author Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife.

By Nick Romano
July 23, 2020 at 04:02 PM EDT

At the end of His Dark Materials' first season finale, Lyra Belacqua walked through a tear in the fabric of reality and into another a world. In season 2, we'll see where that door took her — though readers of author Philip Pullman's fantasy work already know what's in store. Cittàgaze.

HBO and BBC's panel during Comic-Con@Home on Thursday came prepped with a first-look teaser trailer for His Dark Materials season 2, the first official glimpse at the new batch of episodes coming later this year. Not only does it reveal new characters and cast members, but it also shows Cittàgaze, the glimmering city Lyra (Dafne Keen) first saw floating in the sky on Lord Asriel's (James McAvoy) projector and where she now meets Will Parry.

Amir Wilson debuted in season 1 as Will, a boy from our world who's on the run from Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and those investigating the disappearance of Will's father, John Parry (Andrew Scott). He takes a larger role in this next season, which will adapt the events of The Subtle Knife, Pullman's second novel of the trilogy that began with The Golden Compass.

Also announced ahead of the panel, Oscar nominee Terence Stamp joins the cast as Giacomo Paradisi, the bearer of the Subtle Knife who lives in the Tower of the Angels in Cittàgazze. Jade Anouka (Turn Up Charlie) will also appear as witch queen Ruta Skadi, who joins forces with Serafina Pekkala (Ruta Gedmintas) against the Magisterium; and Simone Kirby (Peaky Blinders) will play Dr. Mary Malone who heads up the Dark Matter Research Team at an Oxford university in our world.

Thursday's panel (virtually) brought out Keen, Wilson, Bakare, and Scott alongside Ruth Wilson (Mrs. Coulter), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Lee Scoresby), Jane Tranter (lead executive producer), and Jack Thorne (writer, EP). His Dark Materials also features Joe Tandberg as Iorek Byrnison, Lucian Msamati as John Faa, and Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa.

Season 2 will premiere later this fall on HBO in the U.S. and on the BBC internationally. However, there will be seven episodes instead of eight. As Tranter explained, "we were in a peculiar situation."

"Our main unit wrapped just before Christmas 2019," she said. "And we had one standalone episode that we were filming in March, and it was separate from the other seven episodes." This episode, which Thorne wrote with the "blessing and the input from Philip Pullman," would've "looked at what Asriel was had been doing between going through the anomaly in season 1 and when we see Lord Asriel at the beginning of Book 3, The Amber Spyglass." Season 3 has yet to be formally greenlit, but the producers developed the series keeping in mind that they would tackle the events of book trilogy's final installment with a third season.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, filming could not continue on that eighth episode. "Maybe at some point in the future we can revisit it as a standalone, but essentially our adaptation of The Subtle Knife had been complete. So, we were really lucky."

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