In the first series of Philip Pullman adaptation His Dark Materials, fans were in for a shock when crucial character Will Parry was introduced to the TV version a whole year earlier than anyone expected (the character only appears from the second book onwards in Pullman’s work).
“They wanted to have a bit of Will’s backstory that you didn’t get as much of in the book,” Amir Wilson, who plays Will in the BBC adaptation told RadioTimes.com at the Radio Times Covers Party. “So they decided to put that into season one.
“It was quite hard, because obviously I’d talk about the show, and say that I was involved in it, but no-one knew that I was involved with season one, so it was quite hard to keep it a secret. So when it came out it was a big relief.”
Now, though, with season two already mostly filmed and expected to air this autumn, Wilson is free to spill the beans about what’s next for Will and Lyra (Dafne Keen) as they travel between parallel worlds – and from the sounds of it, things are about to get a lot more serious.
“It’s bigger, better, darker. A lot darker,” Wilson said. “Three words to describe it? I’d say adventure, bravery…and knives.”
Given that the second series is based on Pullman’s book The Subtle Knife, that last word shouldn’t be a surprise, and Wilson noted that a particular scene from the text – where Will battles for control of the titular magical artefact – was his favourite filming experience.
“The knife fight. That’s my favourite part,” he told us. “We had a lot of stunt training for the fight, yeah.”
And after filming separately to the main cast for his secretive series one scenes, he says it was nice to finally be a part of the main crew.
“I didn’t know what to expect from meeting everyone, it was a big show to be going into, and I hadn’t done much before,” Wilson said.
“But everyone was really nice, I got along with everyone really well. Yeah, it was a really good time.”
In fact, there was one actor in particular that he was pretty keen to cross paths with – but to this day, he still hasn’t managed to catch him on set.
“I mean I never got to work with him and I still haven’t met him, but James [McAvoy],” Wilson said when we asked who he’d been most keen to meet. “I was really excited when I found out he was doing it, I’m a big fan of his work.
“They haven’t shot his bits yet,” he explained, despite filming wrapping for the bulk of the second series around Christmastime.
Beyond series two, Wilson says he’s still not sure whether a third series of the fantasy drama (which would adapt Pullman’s novel The Amber Spyglass to conclude the trilogy) will actually be made, but he has hopes to finish Will and Lyra’s story.
“I don’t know. I mean I hope there is [a series three],” Wilson told RadioTimes.com.
“There’s always talk, but I don’t know.”
Fingers crossed we don’t end up in a world where this particular trilogy is cut short.
His Dark Materials is expected to return this autumn to BBC One