The TV adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is about to return for its final run following a two year wait – and it's shaping up to be an epic finale for the beloved series.
Based on the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, the new run will sees Lyra and Will attempt to aid Lord Asriel in a huge battle against the Authority, introducing them to a variety of new characters – and a couple of old ones – in the process.
Of the many great aspects of the show, including the tremendous production design and great scripts, the stellar cast has always been a highlight – and that's the case once again this time with the likes of Ruth Wilson, Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Scott all returning.
Meanwhile new faces this time around inclide Sian Clifford and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – read on for everything you need to know about the stars who have appeared in all three seasons so far, starting with the leading lady herself.
His Dark Materials season 3 cast
Dafne Keen is Lyra Belacqua
Who is Lyra Belacqua? A young orphan raised by the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford, Lyra’s never happier than roaming the city with her friends – but revelations about her true heritage take her on a dangerous journey, where her talent with the future-predicting alethiometer is put to the ultimate test. Her dæmon, Pantalaimon, has yet to settle in one form.
The second season found her in the world of Citagazze, where she meets a new ally in Will Parry as she continues in her quest to find out what the Magisterium is up to and the true meaning of Dust – leading to an epic battle in season 3.
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What else has Dafne Keen been in? British-Spanish actor Keen shot onto the world stage after starring as the young female clone/daughter of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in his final X-Men movie Logan.
She has also appeared in the British and Spanish coproduction The Refugees alongside her father Will Keen (below), and the Puerto Rican comedy drama Ana and will have a key role in the upcoming Disney Plus Star Wars series The Acolyte.
Ruth Wilson is Mrs Coulter
Who is Mrs Coulter? The beautiful and elegant Mrs Coulter enchants Lyra in season 1, but proves to have a dark side when her true schemes are revealed. Her dæmon takes the form of a golden monkey.
In the second season, Mrs Coulter was desperate to get her daughter Lyra back into her care after she escaped in the first season, while she is also heavily involved with events at the Magisterium – and season 3 begins with Lyra back in her clutches.
What else is Ruth Wilson been in? Wilson is probably best known for her roles as Alice Morgan in BBC crime drama Luther and as Alison Lockhart in US drama The Affair. She has also appeared in TV dramas including Jane Eyre (in which she played the title role), Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary, Suburban Shootout, The Prisoner, Small Island and Mrs Wilson, which was based on her own family history.
Film roles include Rebecca in The Lone Ranger, Margaret Goff in Saving Mr Banks, Caroline in The Little Stranger, Madeleine in Suite Française and Petula Spencer in See How They Run.
Amir Wilson is Will Parry
Who is Will Parry? A young boy from our own modern world, Will crosses paths with Lyra in the second season and becomes a main character as he travels with her between various worlds.
Over the course of the season, he became the bearer of the subtle knife, giving him great importance in Lyra's battle against the Magisterium – which will continue in the third season,
What else has Amir Wilson been in? Young actor Wilson previously appeared in short film Special Delivery, TV series The Letter for the King and Arthurian film The Kid Who Would Be King, the latter in an uncredited role. Alongside His Dark Materials series two, 2020 saw him star in the remake of The Secret Garden while more recently he played Anton Milanesi in The Magic Flute.
Will Keen is Cardinal MacPhail
Who is Father MacPhail? MacPhail is the president of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, an important part of the Church, and he has designs to track down Lyra or have her assassinated. His dæmon is a lizard.
What else has Will Keen been in? Keen may be most familiar to viewers as royal press secretary Michael Adeane in The Crown, and he has also appeared in Deep State, Genius, and Victor Frankenstein.
Other credits include The Scandalous Lady W, Wolf Hall, The Musketeers, Silk, Sherlock, Titanic, Garrow’s Law and Spanish series Dime quién soy.
Keen is the real-life father of Lyra actor Dafne Keen, and has previously acted with her in British/Spanish drama The Refugees.
James McAvoy is Lord Asriel
Who is Lord Asriel? A fierce and formidable man from an aristocratic background, Lord Asriel plans a momentous scientific expedition that could bring serious repercussions down on Lyra. His dæmon, Stelmaria, takes the form of a Snow Leopard.
While Asriel continues to have great relevance to the story, the character himself was absent from the second season – but he's back with a vengeance for the third and final run as he leads the battle against the Authority.
What else has James McAvoy been in? Breaking out in Channel 4 drama Shameless (alongside now ex-wife and His Dark Materials co-star Anne-Marie Duff, below), McAvoy is probably now best known for his role as the telepathic Professor X in the X-Men movie franchise and as the Chronicles of Narnia’s faun Mr Tumnus.
He has also had lead roles in films including Split, Glass, Victor Frankenstein, Filth, Starter for 10, Atonement, Becoming Jane and the horror sequel It Chapter Two.
Voice credits include Arthur Christmas, Watership Down and the two Gnomeo and Juliet movies.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is Lee Scoresby
Who is Lee Scoresby? A Texan aeronaut and adventurer, Scoresby finds himself pulled into Lyra’s adventure when he’s hired to transport her across the north. His dæmon, Hester, takes the form of an Arctic Hare.
In the second series, Lee continued his efforts to help Lyra by finding the mysterious explorer and shaman Stanislaus Grumman, also known as Jopari – but wond up dead in the season finale. That hasn't stopped the character from returning for season – albeit he will now be in a rather different form.
What else has Lin Manuel Miranda been in? Miranda is probably best known for composing, writing and starring in smash-hit stage musical Hamilton, which made him a pop culture sensation following the earlier success of his musical In the Heights.
As an actor he has appeared in series including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sesame Street, How I Met Your Mother and BoJack Horseman, and he has also starred in films like Mary Poppins Returns and In the Heights, while he made his directorial debut in 2021 with Tick Tick Boom.
He has also provided music for films including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Moana and the upcoming Little Mermaid live-action remake.
Jade Anouka is Ruta Skadi
Who is Ruta Skadi? In the books, Queen Ruta Skadi is the queen of the Lake Lubana clan of witches who had previously taken Lord Asriel as a lover– although she has a slightly altered role in the series.
What else has Jade Anouka been in? Anouka's past credits include roles on ITV dramas Trauma and Cleaning Up and Channel 5's The Drowning, while she has also worked extensively on the stage. She's also had small roles on Doctor Who, Chewing Gum, and Stan Lee's Lucky Man. Film roles include Last Christmas, The Rhythm Section and Ear for Eye.
Ruta Gedmintas is Serafina Pekkala
Who is Serafina Pekkala? The clan queen of the witches of Lake Enara, Serafina forms a close bond with Lyra as she helps her on her journey. Her dæmon is a snow goose called Kaisa.
What else has Ruta Gedmintas been in? Gedmintas has previously starred in The Strain, Ripper Street, The Borgias, Lip Service, The Innocence Project, The Tudors, Do No Harm and Stag.
Andrew Scott is Jopari/John Parry
Who is Jopari? An explorer and shaman who also goes by Stanislaus Grumman, Jopari is revealed to be Will's father in season 2 – and will return in season 3 despite his death. His dæmon is an osprey called Sayan Kötör.
What else has Andrew Scott been in? Best known for playing the villainous Moriarty in Sherlock and the Hot Priest in Fleabag, Irish actor Scott has also appeared in James Bond movie Spectre, Black Mirror, Pride and many other films and TV shows. Recent credits include 2021 TV show The Pursuit of Love and 2022 film Catherine Called Birdy.
Simone Kirby is Mary Malone
Who is Mary Malone? Mary is an astrophysicist and neuropsychologist who is investigating how dark matter affects human consciousness, whom Lyra meets when she first travels to Will's Oxford as she attempts to learn more about dust – and soon become integral to their mission.
What else has Simone Kirby been in? Irish actor Kirby has previously appeared in a range of film and TV productions, with notable roles including Oonagh in Ken Loach film Jimmy's Hall, Irene O'Donnell in series 2 of Peaky Blinders, and Tyva Hightopp in Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is Commander Ogunwe
Who is Commander Ogunwe? The leader of Lord Asriel's military forces, who is introduced in the third and final season.
What else has Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje been in? Akinnuoye has a number of notable credits to his name, with highlights including Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns, Nykwana Wombosi in The Bourne Identity, Heavy Duty in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Kurse in Thor: The Dark World, Killer Croc in Suicide Squad, Mr Eko in Lost and Malko in the fifth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Jamie Ward is Father Gomez
Who is Father Gomez? A new character for season 3, who is ordered by the leader of the Magisterium to find Lyra "dead or alive".
What else has Jamie Ward been in? Ward has previously appeared in a number of TV shows including The Durrells, Ride and The Tyrant.
Lewin Lloyd is Roger Parslow
Who is Roger? Lyra’s best friend in Oxford, Roger’s disappearance sparks off her adventures as she attempts to rescue him from danger. His dæmon has yet to settle into one form. He is another character to returns in season 3 despite his death earlier in the series.
What else has Lewin Lloyd been in? Young actor Lloyd has previously starred in Sky’s Fortitude as Petter Hansen, Tom Hardy drama Taboo as a young urchin called Temple and as Beansie in The Alienist. He also appeared in the 2020 Doctor Who episode Orphan 55 and has had film roles in The Aeronauts, Judy and Pinocchio.
Chipo Chung is Xaphania
Who is Xaphania? Xaphania is the leader of the rebel angels who ally with Lord Asriel to overthrow The Authority.
What else has Chipo Chung been in? Chung has had recurring roles in TV shows such as Camelot, AD The Bible Continues, and Into the Badlands.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is Balthamos
Who is Balthamos? An angel who serves Xaphania in the rebellion against the Authority.
What else has Kobna Holdbrook-Smith been in? You might recognise Hodbrook-Smith from roles in TV shows such as The Split, Motherland and Red Election, or films such as Ghost Stories, Justice League and Paddington 2.
Simon Harrison is Baruch
Who is Baruch? Balthamos's lover and another rebel angel, Baruch was a human before he became an angel.
What else has Simon Harrison been in? Harrison has appeared in small roles in films including Transformers: The Last Knight, Everest and London Has Falling, and had a recurring role as DCI Ronnie Box in Endeavour.
Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe is Ama
Who is Ama? A young girl from a Himalayan village who crosses paths with Lyra and Mrs Coulter.
What else has Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe been in? This is a screen debut for young actor Fitzgerald-Woolfe.
Sian Clifford is Agent Salmakia
Who is Agent Salmakia? A Gallivespian spy who works for Lord Asriel and accompanies Lyra and Will on their perilous quest.
What else has Sian Clifford been in? Clifford is probably best known for her role as Claire in Fleabag, while other prominent credits include Vanity Fair, Quiz, Two Weeks to Live, Life After Life and See How They Run.
Jonathan Aris is Commander Roke
Who is Commander Roke? Lord Asriel's Gallivespian spymaster.
What else has Jonathan Aris been in? Aris had a recurring role as Philip Anderson in Sherlock, while other TV credits include The Game, Humans, The Night Manager, The End of the F***ing World, and the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch. On the big screen, he's been in The Martian, Rogue One and Radioactive.
Kit Connor is Pantalaimon
Who is Pantalaimon? Lyra's daemon, who has not yet settled on his final shape.
What else has Kit Connor been in? Connor rose to huge fame this year with his lead role in the mega Netflix hit Heartstopper and previously appeared in the CBBC series Rocket's Island, BBC One's War & Peace adaptation and the films Get Santa, Rocketman and Little Joe.
David Suchet is Kaisa
Who is Kaisa? The dæmon of witch queen Serafina Pekkala, Kaisa appears as a gyrfalcon in the TV series – despite being a snow goose in the books.
What else has David Suchet been in? One of the most revered British actors of his generation, David Suchet is best known for his role as the eponymous Belgian detective in Agatha Christie's Poirot – a role he held from 1989-2013.
Victoria Hamilton is Stelmaria
Who is Stelmaria? Lord Asriel's dæmon, an elegant snow leopard.
What else has Victoria Hamilton been in? Hamilton replaces Helen McCrory in the role following her tragic death in 2021. She previously played the Queen Mother in The Crown and has also been seen in The Game, Doctor Foster, Life and COBRA.
Joe Tandberg is Iorek Byrnison
Who is Iorek Byrnison? Iorek is an armoured bear who has been exiled from his home in Svalbard and forms a close bond with Lyra and Lee Scoresby.
What else has Joe Tandberg been in? Tandberg's voice resume also includes a voice role as Josera Snow in the video game Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series and a small part in Netflix series The Innocents.
Sope Dirisu is Sergi
Who is Sergi? Ruta Skadi's daemon, who takes the form of a bluethroat.
What else has Sope Dirisu been in? Dirisu is best known for his role as Elliot Finch in Gangs of London, and has also appeared in Humans, The Casual Vacancy and the Black Mirror episode Nosedive. Film roles include His House, Mothering Sunday and Silent Night.
Lindsay Duncan is Octavia
Who is Octavia? Father MacPhail's daemon.
What else has Lindsay Duncan been? In addition to an award-winning stage career, Duncan is known for roles in Rome, Doctor Who and Sherlock among many others.
His Dark Materials seasons 1-2 cast
Ariyon Bakare is Lord Boreal
Who is Lord Boreal? An associate of Mrs Coulter, Lord Boreal has a mysterious and dark purpose when he crosses paths with Lyra. His dæmon is a serpent. He is able to travel between worlds and aims to dupe Lyra such that he can steal the alethiometer from her.
What else has Ariyon Bakare been in? Bakare appeared as the lion-like Leandro in Doctor Who, the demon Ligur in Good Omens and the haunted manservant Stephen Black in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Other credits include The Dark Knight, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Life, Carnival Row and Jupiter Ascending.
Terence Stamp is Giacomo Paridisi
Who is Giacomo Paradisi? Giacomo Paradisi is a resident of Cittàgazze, and is the bearer of the subtle knife when Will and Lyra meet him at the Torre degli Angeli.
What else has Terence Stamp been in? Stamp is an esteemed actor whose long career has seen him play iconic roles such as General Zod in Superman, Chancellor Valorum in The Phantom Menace, and Bernadette Bassinger in cult favourite The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Way back in 1962 he was nominated for an Oscar for playing the lead role in his film debut, Billy Budd while recent roles have included Murder Mystery and the Edgar Wright film Last Night in Soho.
Sophie Okonedo as the voice of Xaphania
Who is Xaphania? Xaphania is the leader of the rebel angels who ally with Lord Asriel to overthrow The Authority.
What else has Sophie Okonedo been in? Okonedo appeared in just a voice role in the series before the role was taken over by Chipo Chung in the third season. You may recognise her voice from a number of high profile TV and film appearances including Doctor Who, Hotel Rwanda, Wild Rose, Ratched, Undercover, The Hollow Crown and Death on the Nile.
Bella Ramsey is Angelica
Who is Angelica? Angelica was a young girl who lives in Cittàgazze and is one of the first people Will and Lyra encounter in the seemingly deserted city.
What else has Bella Ramsey been in? This is not Ramsey's first appearance in a mega fantasy series – she previously played Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones. Other roles have included Mildred Hubble in CBBC's The Worst Witch, the voice of Hilda in the Netflix series of the same name, the title role in Lena Dunham film Catherine Called Birdy and Ellie in the upcoming The Last of Us series.
Ella Schrey-Yeats is Paola
Who is Paolo? Angelica's sister, Paola is another Citagazze resident who Will and Lyra meet. In the books, this character is a boy called Paolo, but this has been changed for the series.
What else has Ella Schrey-Yeats been in? This is by far Schrey-Yeats' biggest role to date, although she also has some stage credits to her name.
Frank Bourke is Fra Pavel
Who is Fra Pavel? A Magisterium official with the ability to read the alethiometer, Fra Pavel is a useful man – but he holds a secret.
What else has Frank Bourke been in? Bourke has previously appeared in Dumbo, The Last Kingdom, 1916 Seachtar Dearmadta, Bone in the Throat and Mr Nice among other projects.
James Cosmo is Farder Coram
Who is Farder Coram? The second-in-command to Gyptian King John Faa, Coram is a staunch ally to Lyra. His dæmon, Sophonax, is a larger than average, 'autumn-coloured' cat.
What else has James Cosmo been in? Cosmo will be familiar to many as the no-nonsense Lord Commander Mormont in TV series Game of Thrones, though he has also appeared in Sons of Anarchy, SS-GB, Chernobyl, Hold the Sunset, Shetland, Merlin and many other projects.
Alongside James McAvoy’s Mr Tumnus he played Father Christmas in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and other film appearances include Wonder Woman, T2: Trainspotting, Ben-Hur, Outlaw King, Troy, Babe: Pig in the City and many others.
Anne-Marie Duff is Ma Costa
Who is Ma Costa? A Gyptian woman whose son goes missing, Costa has a deep connection to Lyra from their shared past. Her dæmon is a hawk.
What else has Anne-Marie Duff been in? Rising to promise as Fiona Gallagher in Channel 4’s Shameless, Duff has appeared in TV series including The Virgin Queen, Margot, Parade’s End, From Darkness and Watership Down, and films like Suffragette, On Chesil Beach, Nowhere Boy and Notes on a Scandal.
Lucian Msamati is John Faa
Who is John Faa? The Lord/King of the western Gyptians, John Faa is a wise and brave leader and close friends with Farder Coram. His dæmon is a black crow.
What else has Lucien Msamati been in? A British-Tanzanian film, television and theatre actor, Msamati played pirate Salladhor Saan in Game of Thrones, and has also appeared in Taboo, Kiri, Black Earth Rising, Death in Paradise, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Doctor Who, Ashes to Ashes, The Hollow Crown and Luther among other shows.
Peter Serafinowicz is Iofur Raknison
Who is Iofur Raknison? Iofur Raknison is an armoured bear who serves as the king of the panserbjørne and ruler of Svalbard. He is not on good terms with Iorek Byrnison.
What else has Peter Serafinowicz been in? Serafinowicz probably remains best known for voicing Darth Maul in the Star Wars prequel films. He has a huge range of TV and film credits to his name including appearances in Shaun of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Tick.
Robert Emms is Thomas
Who is Thomas? Thomas doesn't appear in the His Dark Materials trilogy of books, but is introduced in episode two of the show as he works with Lord Boreal to track down John Parry.
What else has Robert Emms been in? Emms has appeared in several acclaimed TV shows such as Happy Valley and Chernobyl. His films roles include War Horse, Borg/McEnroe and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Daniel Frogson is Tony Costa
Who is Tony Costa? A Gyptian boy who has just come of age, Tony Costa accompanies Lyra and his fellow Gyptians as they venture North to rescue the children captured by The Gobblers – including his brother Billy.
What else has Daniel Frogson been in? 17 year-old Frogson's only previous on-screen experience came in the CBBC mini-series Joe All Alone, in which he played the titular character, and in 2018 film The Devil Outside.
Ian Gelder is Librarian Scholar Charles
Who is Librarian Scholar Charles? A close friend and ally of Jordan College’s Master.
What else has Ian Gelder been in? Another Game of Thrones veteran, Gelder played Ser Kevan Lannister in a number of episodes of the HBO series. He has also appeared in Torchwood: Children of Earth, the TV series Snatch, Queers, Riviera, Ripper Street, Mr Selfridge, Endeavour, Silent Witness and Robin Hood among other productions.
Tyler Howitt is Billy Costa
Who is Billy Costa? Brother of Tony and son of Ma, Billy is one of the children held captive by the much-feared Gobblers. There are suspicions that for the purposes of the TV show, Billy might have been combined with another character from the books – Tony Makarios.
What else has Tyler Howitt been in? This is Howitt's first major role - and he is also scheduled to appear in Netflix's upcoming adaptation of Behind Her Eyes.
Nina Sosanya is Elaine Parry
Who is Elaine Parry? The mother of Will and wife of John, Elaine first appears in The Subtle Knife where she is struggling with mental health problems.
What else has Nina Sosanya been in? Sosanya has appeared in a wealth of British TV favourites, including Last Tango in Halifax, W1A and Doctor Who. Recently she appeared as an MI6 agent in the second series of Killing Eve.
Georgina Campbell is Adele Starminster
Who is Adele Starminster? Adele is a young journalist who tries to find out more of Mrs Coulter’s plans from Lyra. Her dæmon is a butterfly.
What else has Georgina Campbell been in? Campbell won a Bafta for her performance in one-off BBC3 drama Murdered by my Boyfriend, and has also starred in Death in Paradise, Freak, Tripped, Flowers, Broadchurch, Black Mirror, Krypton and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword among other projects.
Harry Melling is The Sysselmann
Who is the Sysselmann? A high-ranking official in Trollesund, the Sysselmann causes problems for Lee and Lyra.
What else has Harry Melling been in? Melling is probably best known for his role as Dudley Dursley, cousin to the titular Harry in the Harry Potter film series. He has since had a long stage career, and has also appeared in films like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and The Lost City of Z as well as TV shows like Merlin, Garrow's Law, The Musketeers and Just William.
Clarke Peters is the Master of Jordan college
Who is the Master of Jordan College? Dr Carne is the Master of Jordan College and the man who gives Lyra her all-important alethiometer. His dæmon takes the form of a raven.
What else has Clarke Peters been in? US actor Clarke Peters is probably best known for his roles as detective Lester Freamon and Albert "Big Chief" Lambreaux in David Simon HBO series The Wire and Treme respectively.
Other TV work has included London Spy, The Tunnel, Midsomer Murders, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, The Tunnel, The Deuce, Person of Interest, Holby City, Waking the Dead, True Detective and Bulletproof. He has also appeared in movies including John Wick, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Nativity!, Marley & Me and The Bad Education Movie.
His Dark Materials season 3 airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 18th December. Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.