It’s been dubbed “the cast of dreams” by Jack Thorne, the screenwriter for the BBC1 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials – and we’re tempted to agree.
The full line-up for the forthcoming series features a dizzying number of A-list names from both sides of the pond, from X-Men’s James McAvoy to Hamilton creator and Mary Poppins Returns star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
But who else is starring in this ensemble cast – and where have you seen them before?
Who is Lyra? The hero of Philip Pullman’s trilogy, Lyra Belacqua iss an 11-year-old girl living in Oxford – in a parallel universe. An orphan, she’s been allowed to grow up half wild amongst the cloisters of Jordan College – but with the arrival of the mysterious and glamorous Mrs Coulter, that’s all about to change.
Where have I seen Dafne Keen before? Thirteen-year-old British and Spanish actress Dafne Keen is best known for her role as the mutant Laura Kinney / X-23 alongside Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in the X-Men film Logan.
James McEvoy plays Lord Asriel
James McAvoy (Getty)
Who is Lord Asriel? Lord Asriel is Lyra’s uncle: an explorer, academic, military leader and all-round Type-A personality. He’s a visionary with a savage temper, and his daemon (a physical manifestation of a person’s soul, in the form of an animal) is a snow leopard.
Where have I seen James McAvoy before? McAvoy has starred as the young Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men prequel films, including X-Men: First Class and, more recently, Marvel’s Deadpool 2. He’s also appeared in various blockbusters, including Atonement and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Ruth Wilson plays Mrs Coulter
Ruth Wilson (Getty)
Who is Mrs Coulter? The beautiful Mrs Coulter is magnetic and intimidating in equal measure, and charms people as easily as her golden monkey daemon frightens them.
Where have I seen Ruth Wilson before? Wilson is best known for her starring roles in The Affair and as Alice Morgan in Luther. She’s also set to play her grandmother in the upcoming drama Mrs Wilson.
Who is Lee Scoresby? Scoresby is an “aëronaut” balloonist from Texas. He has an arctic hare daemon who goes by the name of Hester.
Where have I seen Lin-Manuel Miranda before? Pulitzer prize winning actor, rapper, lyricist and singer Lin-Manuel Miranda is probably best-known as the creator and star of the musicals Hamilton and In The Heights. He’s also starring alongside Emily Blunt in the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns.
James Cosmo plays Farder Coram
James Cosmo (Getty)
Who is Farder Coram? Coram is the elderly advisor to the “Gyptian” ruler, Lord Faa. An old acquaintance of the witch Serafina Pekkala, Coram also befriends Lyra when their paths cross.
Where have I seen James Cosmo before? You’ll recognise Scottish actor James Cosmo for his role as Jeor Mormont in Games of Thrones, and for starring in various films including Braveheart and Trainspotting.
Ruta Gedmintas plays Serafina Pekkala
Ruta Gedmintas (His Dark Materials)
Who is Serafina Pekkala? Serafina Pekkala is the Queen of the Lake Enara clan of witches, and an old friend of Farder Coram.
Where have I seen Ruta Gedmintas before? Gedmintas is best known to fantasy fans as computer hacker-turned-vampire slayer Dutch in The Strain. She also starred alongside boyfriend Luke Treadaway in the film A Street Cat Named Bob, and as psychotic killer Sophie in BBC2 comedy Stag.
Clarke Peters plays the Master of Jordan
Clarke Peters (Getty)
Who is the Master of Jordan? The Master oversees Jordan College, Oxford (based on Exeter College, where Pullman lived during his own university years). He’s also fiercely protective of his ward, Lyra.
Where have I seen Clarke Peters before? Clarke Peters is best known for his role as detective Lester Freamon on HBO’s The Wire alongside Dominic West.
Georgina Campbell plays Adele Starminster
Who is Adele Starminster? Adele Starminster is a young journalist who takes an interest in Mrs Coulter, and whose daemon takes the form of a butterfly.
Where have I seen Georgina Campbell before? Campbell is best known for her Bafta-winning performance in Murdered by My Boyfriend, and for appearing in the series four Black Mirror episode Hang the DJ.
Anne-Marie Duff plays Ma Costa
Anne-Marie Duff (Getty)
Who is Ma Costa? Ma Costa is a fierce and proud Gyptian woman, and mother to Lyra’s friend Billy Costa.
Where have I seen Anne-Marie Duff before? Duff won acclaim playing Fiona Gallagher on Channel 4’s Shameless, and has gone on to appear in films like Suffragette (2015).
Lucian Msamati plays John Faa
Lucian Msamati in James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner directed by Rufus Norris at the National Theatre in London (Getty)
Who is John Faa? Ruler of the western Gyptians, Lord Faa is a formidable presence whose daemon takes the shape of a crow.
Where have I seen Lucian Msamati before? Thespian Lucian Msamati is best known off the stage as Salladhor Saan in Game of Thrones and for his role as Mma Ramotswe’s suitor JLB Matekoni in the BBC drama The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.