HBO and BBC have teamed up to bring Phillip Pullman’s seminal His Dark Materials trilogy to life as a TV series. The show stars Logan’s breakout star Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as two children who embark on an adventure through parallel universes.
The first title in the trilogy, Northern Lights, was published in 1995. And in the decades since, the books won numerous awards and earned millions of fans. The story has always been ripe for a live-action adaptation; like all the best fantasy fiction series, it features magical tools, talking animals, and menacing villains. The new trailer looks like it perfectly captures the spirit of the books. Take a look:
His Dark Materials trailer:
This isn’t the first live-action adaptation of Pullman’s seminal fantasy work. In 2007, The Golden Compass arrived in theatres with the aim of launching an epic fantasy trilogy. Even with its fantastic cast (Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen, and Daniel Craig), the film received a lukewarm reception from audiences. Despite earning a respectable $300 million at the foreign box office, the picture only made $70 million domestically, which was essentially a kiss of death. Fortunately, a lack of support doesn’t seem to be the case with HBO/BBC’s joint project. His Dark Materials has already been picked up for (and is currently shooting) a second season.
One can argue that Pullman’s work is better suited to the small screen. A movie trilogy gets split into three two-hour chunks, whereas as a TV season consists of 8-13 one-hour episodes. Imagine what a cinematic Game of Thrones adaptation would look like. How could anyone cram one novel’s worth of GoT’s complex characters and rich world-building into a single movie?
His Dark Materials synopsis:
His Dark Materials stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets Will, a determined and courageous boy. Together, they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living — and the dead — in their hands.
His Dark Materials premieres Sunday, November 3, on BBC in the U.K. and, on Monday, November 4 on HBO.