Aeronaut Lee Scoresby and John Parry are in their own "buddy movie" in season 2.

By Nick Romano
November 20, 2020 at 04:20 PM EST
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Credit: HBO (2)
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Lin-Manuel Miranda basically got his own "buddy comedy" between aeronaut Lee Scoresby and his arctic hare daemon Hester (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) in BBC and HBO's His Dark Materials season 1. Now, in season 2, Lee is going on a "very different journey" with newcomer character John Parry, the actor told EW in previewing the upcoming episodes.

Fleabag heartthrob Andrew Scott plays John, the missing father of the young Will Parry (Amir Wilson). But he goes by another name in Lee's alternate reality: Dr. Stanislaus Grumman. Lee is on a mission to track him down, after consulting with the witches in the premiere episode.

"We meet Andrew Scott's character under such mysterious circumstances," Miranda says. "It's almost this Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness quest to get to him. You couldn't meet two more different people, that is Stanislaus Grumman and Lee Scoresby. It becomes a bit of a buddy movie while we're in this hot air balloon together."

Miranda looks back on his working relationship with Scott as "surreal on a meta level." "Everyone was falling in love with Fleabag last summer while we were filming this," he recalls. "I remember when Bad Wolf Productions [the production company on His Dark Materials] sent the little leak, the cheeky tweet that he was gonna be on our show and my phone started buzzing with the many men and women who are in love with Hot Priest."

Scott and Fleabag star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge actually reteam for His Dark Materials later in season 2, as Waller-Bridge voices John's osprey daemon.

"He obviously is an incredible actor," Miranda remarks of Scott's performance. "I actually got to see him in a play on the West End [in London] a week before he started filming with us. And we had a blast together, just figuring this out in this hot air balloon on a green screen that will travel the world but we're in a balloon in Wales."

Miranda, a fan of the original His Dark Materials trilogy by author Philip Pullman, further promises that season 2 honors the same kind of "disorientation" book readers felt in the transition from The Golden Compass (which served as inspiration for season 1) and The Subtle Knife (the inspiration for season 2). At the end of season 1, Lyra (Dafne Keen) walks through a portal into another reality. In season 2, we find her in the city of Cittàgazze, where she meets Will, who found his own way there through a portal in his reality.

"We have spent the whole first book in this very richly imagined world and then book two starts and you're in a completely different universe and you start to get a glimpse of how big and epic the scope of this story is gonna be," Miranda says. "I think season 2 of our show honors that."

Bigger scope means bigger productions. Even though Lee doesn't spend much time in Cittàgazze beyond flying over it in his balloon, Miranda equates the new set to an Italian town. "I have been to towns in Italy smaller than the sets in Cittàgazze," he says with the same kind of giddy laugh as a true fan of the source material. "It's one of those things where on my lunch breaks I would run over and try to find Dafne and have her show me around 'cause you will get lost if you don't have someone to show you around. It's probably six city blocks."

His Dark Materials airs Mondays in the U.S. on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max.

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His Dark Materials

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