A third season, adapting the finale to Philip Pullman's book trilogy, has been quietly in development since October.

By Nick Romano
December 22, 2020 at 11:01 AM EST
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Credit: HBO

His Dark Materials will get its chance to adapt Philip Pullman's book trilogy in full.

HBO and BBC announced that the fantasy-drama series has officially been renewed for season 3, which will adapt the events of The Amber Spyglass, the third installment of Pullman's His Dark Materials literary works.

The news was formally announced ahead of the U.S. premiere of the season 2 finale, which already aired in the U.K. However, development on the new season 3 arc had already begun in October, EW has learned.

His Dark Materials has been a truly global TV experience and a personal career highlight,” showrunner Jane Tranter said in a statement. “The creative team at Bad Wolf in Cardiff made the impossible possible and brought Philip Pullman’s worlds into vivid life. To see that hard work and dedication applauded and embraced by fans around the world has made all the hard work worthwhile. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful commitment and conviction of the BBC and HBO. I am excited, thrilled and honored to be making the third part of Philip Pullman’s trilogy with their support and encouragement. Diolch.”

Season 1, which premiered on HBO in the U.S. in November 2019, adapted the first book, The Golden Compass. Logan's Dafne Keen starred as Lyra Belacqua, an orphan girl from a world parallel to our own in which a human's soul exists outside the body as a talking animal companion, called a daemon. When a mysterious woman, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson), arrives at Lyra's home of Jordan College, the young girl is thrown into a mystery surrounding Dust, a particle that ignites a religious war involving the authoritarian Magisterium.

Season 2 picked up directly after the events of season 1 in adapting Pullman's second novel, The Subtle Knife. Lyra walks through a portal from her reality into another and finds herself in the city of Cittàgazze. There, she meets a boy named Will (Amir Wilson), who hails from another reality with a fate entwined with her own.

Tranter prefaced during virtual Comic-Con this year that season 2 would only consist of seven episodes. They planned a stand-alone episode to focus on James McAvoy's Lord Asriel, but the spread of COVID-19 prevented them from finishing. "Maybe at some point in the future we can revisit it as a stand-alone, but essentially our adaptation of The Subtle Knife had been complete," she said at the time.

Tranter and series writer Jack Thorne developed the show with a third season in mind to adapt the full trilogy, though news of a renewal was only made known this week.

"The world of season 3 is exceedingly weird and complicated," executive producer Joel Collins told Radio Times. "The complexity is stepped up in terms of the story, the visuals, and the narrative. There’s very few of us in a very secret group doing early work, which is exciting and complex. We’re trying to solve the puzzle away from all the eyes and the noise. And it’s that kind of really precious time you get before hundreds of people start asking questions."

The cast also highlights Lin-Manuel Miranda as aeronaut Lee Scoresby, Ariyon Bakare as reality-hopping Lord Boreal, Ruta Gedmintas as witch Serafina Pekkala, and Andrew Scott as Col. John Parry.

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