It was back in November 2015 that the BBC first announced they planned to adapt Philip Pullman classic His Dark Materials. In the years since, the eight-part series has acquired a writer (National Treasure and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child scribe Jack Thorne) and a seriously star-studded cast that includes the likes of James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
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But – besides a brief teaser back in February – we’ve seen previous little of the fruits of their labours. Until now.
A new 45-second trailer – featuring dialogue from the drama for the first time – gives us a better glimpse than ever into Pullman’s alternative universe and the hefty CGI budget the BBC signed off on for the series (look out for impressive digitally realised polar bear Iorek Byrnison).
The footage also offers up a first proper glimpse of some key characters, including protagonist Lyra (played in the BBC series by Logan’s Dafne Keen), Mrs Coulter (Wilson on deliciously evil form), Lord Asriel (McAvoy), The Master (portrayed by The Wire’s Clarke Peters) and Texan balloonist Lee Scorseby (Miranda).
The series is set in a pre-industrial world where people are constantly accompanied by ‘dæmons’: a physical manifestation of a person’s soul, which takes the form of an animal.
Orphan Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, are living in an Oxford college when the arrival of glamorous Mrs Coulter upends their happy existence and they are forced to confront a world of child abduction and experimentation – as shown in the trailer’s nightmarish peek at the ominous machine ripping children from their dæmons.
Also starring James Cosmo, Anne-Marie Duff and Georgina Campbell, His Dark Materials is due on TV screens later in 2019.