Fans will be able to return to the cherished fantasy worlds of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on 16th November as the programme’s premiere date has been confirmed on its social media accounts.
His Dark Materials announced the HBO Max premiere date in the US with the hashtag #NewWorldsAwait.
It’s not yet confirmed when the new season will begin on BBC One, but if it follows the example of the first season the co-production will screen on the UK broadcaster the Sunday before HBO Max – Sunday 15th November.
— His Dark Materials (@daemonsanddust) October 12, 2020
Season two of His Dark Materials is based on Pullman’s second book, A Subtle Knife and, fortuitously, it was almost completely filmed before the industry-wide COVID-19 shutdown occurred in late March.
The only victim of the season two production was a stand-alone episode featuring James McAvoy as Lord Asriel.
His Dark Materials executive producer Jane Tranter explained why it was cut: “Because Asriel isn’t actually in The Subtle Knife. He’s very much talked about, his presence is very much felt, but he’s not actually there. So we played kind of detective with The Subtle Knife and figured out what Asriel might have been doing.”
McAvoy had only just started filming when the lockdown happened and after a while the production made the tough decision to axe the episode – a choice that screenwriter Jack Thorne said left them “absolutely gutted”.
Lyra (Dafne Keen) followed Lord Asriel into a new world at the climax of season one, just as a new character, Will (Amir Wilson), crossed into another universe. In A Subtle Knife, Lyra and Will venture into a town called Cittagazze (“city of the magpies” in Italian), while many characters from season one desperately try to track her down in season two.
Some Lyra will be pleased to see, others she will want to avoid if she hopes to live.
Returning to His Dark Materials for season two are Luther’s Ruth Wilson as the terrifying Mrs Coulter, Lin Manuel-Miranda as aeronaut Lee Scoresby, Ruta Gedmintas as witch queen Serafina Pekkala and Joe Tandberg and Helen McCrory as the voice of armoured bear Iorek Byrnison and Lord Asriel’s demon Stelmaria.
New cast for season two include Terence Stamp (the Superman films), Jade Anouka (Turn Up Charlie), Simone Kirby (Peaky Blinders) and, with the big Fleabag connection, Phoebe Waller-Bridge providing the voice of the daemon belonging to John Parry, played by Andrew Scott.
The BBC has been contacted for comment but has not yet confirmed the premiere date.