His Dark Materials producer teases “exceedingly weird and complicated” season 3

Exclusive: As season two comes to the BBC, the crew behind the Philip Pullman adaptation are already looking to his next book The Amber Spyglass.

His Dark Materials season 2

While His Dark Materials hasn’t been officially confirmed for a third series yet, the crew behind the smash-hit Philip Pullman adaptation seem fairly confident about their chances, with screenwriter Jack Thorne revealing earlier this year that he was at work researching next novel The Amber Spyglass.

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And now one of the key creative figures behind the series has offered more hints about what we can expect from a third outing, with executive producer and production designer Joel Collins telling Radio Times that the project is currently “in the early stages of development.”

“The world of season three is exceedingly weird and complicated,” Collins told us. “The complexity is stepped up in terms of the story, the visuals and the narrative.

“There’s very few of us in a very secret group doing early work, which is exciting and complex. We’re trying to solve the puzzle away from all the eyes and the noise. And it’s that kind of really precious time you get before hundreds of people start asking questions.”

And Collins, who has worked with the His Dark Materials team since 2017 developing the visual style of the series, already has plenty of ideas for what he’ll be creating for the next season.

“It’s all complicated, but I utterly have an idea of the Mulefa and what their world is, Asriel’s Republic is an amazing place,” Collins said.

“We obviously go to the land of the dead, and what an exciting thing to think about and journey through. It’s literally a huge, complicated and brilliantly fun puzzle.”

Of course, another piece of the puzzle is exactly how the series will get made given the ongoing coronavirus restrictions afflicting TV, which His Dark Materials largely dodged thanks to early season two filming in late 2019.

Dafne Keen Lyra His Dark Materials
Dafne Keen as Lyra in His Dark Materials season two (BBC)
BBC

Still, Collins says the team aren’t overly worried about restrictions going forward.

“I don’t think there’s a lot we’d do differently – we’re very very lucky in that we have built a studio that’s the home of the show, and the studio now has extraordinary COVID restrictions in place,” he said.

“There are temperature scanners at the door, and if there’s any issues they get dealt with pretty quickly. And I think that when it comes to controlling the environment, you’re really lucky if you have a studio environment that you can appropriately control.

“I don’t think it’ll change anything in terms of our ability to make the show, and create its scale. VFX can be done and has been done all the way through lockdown – it’s not easy, but it’s done in a different way. Instead of hundreds of people sitting next to each other at desks, everyone’s working remotely to do the same work.

“Let’s be honest – six months with everyone at home, they’ve gone through a huge amount of content online! And everyone’s going to need more!” he added. “We’re going to need a lot more His Dark Materials.”

Check out our full interview with Joel Collins about His Dark Materials season two in the new issue of Radio Times, on sale now.

You can also hear Joel and fellow behind-the-scenes creatives in the BFI and Radio Times festival panel Creating Cittágazze, available online from Wednesday 4th November. (Learn more about the His Dark Materials virtual panels.)

Read more about the His Dark Materials cast (including Ruth Wilson’s Mrs Coulter), the His Dark Materials release schedule and the His Dark Materials age rating, plus find out where His Dark Materials is filmed, including the scenes set in Cittàgazze.

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His Dark Materials comes to BBC One on Sunday 8th November at 8pm. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.