BBC orders season 2 of His Dark Materials before season 1 release


The BBC is feeling confident about the success of its adaptation of the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.

Season 1 hasn’t hit the small screen yet, but the BBC has already ordered an 8-episode second season, according to Deadline. The show, which is being produced by Bad Wolf and New Line, just started filming season 1 this month in Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff. With its starry cast and big-name director, the scripted series is believed to be one of Britain’s most expensive to date.

The epic fantasy, which takes place in a parallel universe, will star Dafne Keen, who played Wolverine’s daughter in Logan, as an orphan named Lyra. Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, will also star as adventurer Lee Scoresby. The series includes a number of other big names in key roles, including James McAvoy (Split, X-Men: First Class), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), and Clarke Peters (The Wire).

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Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will be the lead director for the series, which will be written by Jack Thorne (National Treasure).

Pullman’s series is made up of three books: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. The story centers on Lyra and Will, two children who travel through several parallel universes where they encounter oddities including witches and armored polar bears.

The first book was adapted into the 2007 movie The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig and directed by Chris Weitz. Despite its impressive talent roster and beautiful visuals, the film failed to score with audiences or critics. It bombed at the box office, nixing the possibility of further big screen adaptations of the His Dark Materials books, and received only a 42% rating amongst critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie removed the more controversial elements of the source material, leaving only a limp, uninspired story in its wake.

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Clearly, the BBC believes its series will be considerably more involved, and therefore much more satisfying for viewers. A television series format may be the best vehicle for the complex story of His Dark Materials anyway. The show must set up the alternate universe its characters inhabit as well as delve into heady philosophical and theological issues.

Audiences will have the opportunity to judge for themselves when the series is released. No word yet on exactly when that will happen.

Are you excited to watch the BBC’s His Dark Materials series? Share your thoughts in the comments.