As His Dark Materials season 3 comes to a close, fans may be wondering what’s next for Lyra, Pan, and the other denizens of Oxford.


Season 3 ended with Lyra and Will parting ways, with a series of title cards explaining that the two would grow up separately and likely never see one another again.

However, the final title card introduced a ray of hope to fans of His Dark Materials, by teasing a continuation of Lyra’s adventures:

“Lyra went on to be educated at St Sophia’s College in Oxford, where she was taught how to once again read the alethiometer…

“Which would come in useful one day, when Lyra and Pan would go on to have a further great adventure.”

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Although His Dark Materials was originally planned as a trilogy – consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – series author Philip Pullman has since written a number of spin offs and sequels, including an entirely new trilogy of books.

If the BBC decides that it ever wants to return to the world of His Dark Materials, they’ll have plenty to draw from. Here are just a few things they could adapt in the future.

Lyra’s Oxford

Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua in His Dark Materials.
Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua in His Dark Materials. Bad Wolf/BBC/HBO

In 2003, Philip Pullman released a novella that took place two years after the events of His Dark Materials and starred a now-15-year-old Lyra.

In the novella, Lyra encounters a daemon in the shape of a bird, which claims that its human (a witch) has an illness that causes daemons to be severed from their hosts. Lyra tries to help the daemon, but soon realises that she is being tricked, and that the witch wishes the kill her as revenge for the death of her lover, who perished in the conflict which took place towards the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy between Lord Asriel’s forces and the forces of heaven.

In contrast to the more serious tone of the original trilogy, the story has more of a fairy tale quality, and at only 64 pages is very much a self-contained entity.

Due to the nature of the plot, and the fact that the book is quite short in comparison to some of the other books in the series, it’s unlikely this could be stretched to a full season. However, it could make a nice one-off or Christmas special if the BBC ever wants to test the waters for a longer follow-up.

If they wanted to pad the content a little bit, they could even combine it with the next book in this list…

Once Upon A Time In The North

Lee Scoresby looking back over his shoulder with a gun in the forest.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby in His Dark Materials. BBC

Pullman released this novella in 2008, and it chronicles a meeting between aeronaut Lee Scoresby and the armoured polar bear Iorek Byrnison which takes place prior to the events of Northern Lights.

In the book, a 24-year-old Scoresby and his daemon Hester have their first encounter with the race of intelligent polar bears who populate Pullman’s world when he lands his air ship in the harbour town of Novy Odense. Along with Byrnison, he becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue that leads to a war between factions vying for control of the town. In one particularly violent scene, a man is executed when he and his daemon are tied to separate horses which are make to run in opposite directions, severing the spiritual bond between them.

In the novella, Scoresby plays the role of wandering gunslinger or ronin, who blows into a town full of problems and gets caught right in the middle of them. The western theme is even reflected in the title, a play on the title of the Sergio Leone film Once Upon A Time In The West. If an adaptation is able to capture that tome, it could add an interesting additional dimension to the franchise, which is largely fantasy-oriented.

Both Scoresby and Byrnison are fan favourite characters, and characters certainly wouldn’t complain about a miniseries or one-ff that gave them another chance to spend a little time with both. It would also give us an excuse to see a little more Lin Manuel Miranda on our television screens, which is never a bad thing.

The Book of Dust

James McAvoy in His Dark Materials.
James McAvoy in His Dark Materials. Bad Wolf/BBC/HBO

In October 2017 Philip Pullman released the first in a new trilogy of novels set within the His Dark Materials universe. The series, comprising of La Belle Sauvage (2017), The Secret Commonwealth (2019), and an as-yet unreleased third novel, acts as both a sequel and a prequel to the original His Dark Materials trilogy.

In La Belle Sauvage, readers learn the origins of Lyra’s alethiometer in a story set roughly 11 years before the events of Northern Lights. The book follows 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead and 15-year-old Alice as they protect an infant Lyra from dark forces. The book also sheds some light on the ascension of the Magisterium, and their preoccupation with the Dust particles that form the central conflict of the first three books.

The Secret Commonwealth picks up several years after the conclusion of His Dark Materials, and follows the exploits of a 20-year-old Lyra Silvertongue. Malcolm, now an academic at Jordan College, also reappears. Together the two are drawn into a murder mystery that takes them far across Europe into Asia, where they uncover new information about the nature of Daemons and Dust.

In October 2022, Pullman was asked about the status of the third book on Twitter, to which he replied “I'm writing it now. I'm up to page 275.” It’s possible that the BBC is waiting for him to finish the trilogy, so that it doesn’t find itself in a Game of Thrones situation where the TV writers find that they have to finish the story themselves.

Similarly, they probably don’t want to commit to another three-season television if there’s even a small possibility that it could end with the phrase “and then she woke up and found that it was all a dream.”

This trilogy is the most likely candidate for a follow-up adaptation, both due to its length and its subject matter. However, it may be a tricky sell to the audience since Lyra wouldn’t actually show up until at least season two, and viewers would have to acquaint themselves with a largely-new cast of characters.

Prequels in general are difficult, because they tend to have fairly low stakes owing to the fact that viewers have already seen the outcome play out elsewhere. It’s difficult to believe baby Lyra is in any actual peril when we’ve already seen her alive and healthy in the future.

That being said, the world of His Dark Materials is so complex that viewers may well appreciate a series that delves into the show’s deeper lore and unties some of those later mysteries. The books have more of an epic feel to the first trilogy, and could probably sustain even more seasons if the BBC were so inclined.

Something New

His Dark Materials season 3
The cast of His Dark Materials season 3. HBO

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the BBC decides instead to make something completely new, using the characters and setting of His Dark Materials to tell a new story set in the same universe.

That probably wouldn’t be a popular idea with fans of the novels, but it would allow them to bring back fan favourite characters who have been definitively killed off or otherwise removed from the books’ universe (the most prominent being Will).

It's unlikely that they’ll go this route, considering the wealth of source material on offer, but the world of His Dark Materials is so rich it must be tempting to build something new with all those puzzle pieces.

What do you think? Should there be more adaptations? Or should they leave well enough alone? Let us know in the comments below.

His Dark Materials seasons 1-3 are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer in full. Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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