Everything we spotted in the new His Dark Materials teaser trailer

There's a first look at some major characters, key scenes and a certain magical device...

His Dark Materials

“We wanted fans to have a tiny glimpse of His Dark Materials,” said executive producer Jane Tranter alongside the first teaser for the much-anticipated BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s beloved fantasy trilogy.

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And on one hand, she’s right, it is a tiny glimpse – just 31 seconds, including credits and end titles – of an eight-part series. On the other hand, there’s actually a lot crammed in there, including introductions to a number of major characters, possible moments from key scenes in the story, plus a first look at a very important magical device…

Watch the teaser for yourself before we unpack everything we spotted…

Lyra

As you might expect, we glimpse our young hero Lyra Belacqua – played by newcomer Dafne Keen – several times in the teaser, including in two of the scenes mentioned below.

We’re guessing this particular shot shows her out in the snowy northern wastes of Bolvangar where she finds Mrs Coulter’s research facility.

Dafne Keen as Lyra in His Dark Materials

Lord Asriel

Here’s our first look as James McAvoy as Lyra’s father Lord Asriel, explorer and academic whose work focuses on the mysterious elementary particles known only as dust…

James McAvoy as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials

Mrs Coulter

Ruth Wilson immediately looks every inch the arch, calculating and (despite the actress’s name) ruthless Mrs Coulter, the woman with a diabolical plan in mind…

Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter in His Dark Materials

Lee Scoresby

Creator and star of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays the Texan aeronaut who becomes one of Lyra’s closest allies.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby

Master of Jordan College

Our first look at The Wire’s Clarke Peters, the head of the Oxford college where Lyra lives, who tries to murder her father Lord Asriel.

Clarke Peters as Master of Jordan College in His Dark Materials

Lyra spying at Jordan College…

There are two early scenes in the first His Dark Materials novel Northern Lights in which Lyra conceals herself and learns something she is not supposed to.

Firstly, when she sees the Master of the college add poison to Lord Asriel’s wine and then when she witnesses her father explaining his theories about the mysterious dust.

His Dark Materials

…and a first glimpse of Pan?

These shots could represent either or both (or neither!) of those moments but it’s worth noting that the characters’ daemons – their ever-present animal companions – are conspicuous by their absence in the trailer, and although it may be wishful thinking we can’t help but wonder whether that indistinguishable smudge in the image below might just be a first tiny glimpse of Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon…

His Dark Materials

Is this Iorek Byrnison’s escape?

What’s on the other end of this shot of a rather frightened looking man? We’re putting our our money on it being a giant bear and this being the scene in which Iorek Byrnison reclaims his sky-iron armour and, with Lyra and Lee Scoresby’s help, escapes his miserable life as an alcoholic labourer and heads off for adventure with his new friends …

His Dark Materials

The intercision machine

A switch is thrown; Lyra screams as she witnesses something horrible – this looks very much like the moment when we first see Mrs Coulter and the General Oblation Board using their ‘intercision’ machine to separate children from their daemons…

His Dark Materials
Dafne Keen as Lyra in His Dark Materials

The alethiometer

Right at the end of the teaser, Dark Materials fans will have spotted the alethiometer – the ‘Golden Compass’ that allows Lyra to harness the power of dust and get truthful answers to the questions she asks of it.

Alethiometer in His Dark Materials

It’s such a brief glimpse that we can’t make out the detail of any of the symbols around the dial – but we can see that it comes in it’s own rather neat little (square, rather than round) case, which snaps shut rather pleasingly – a bit like the clam-shell mobile phone of its time…

Alethiometer in His Dark Materials
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His Dark Materials begins on BBC1 later this year