3:00 pm EDT, September 12, 2018

‘His Dark Materials’ BBC, HBO TV adaptation: Everything we know

A few bits and pieces of casting and creative news for the BBC production of His Dark Materials have trickled in over the last few months. Here is the complete list!

Update (September 12, 2018): Big news for His Dark Materials today: HBO is getting on board. They’ll help produce and distribute, which likely means the series will air in the United States around the same time that it premieres in the U.K. This is great news for Americans!

Also this week BBC renewed the series for a second season, suggesting that the network has big hopes for the series.

Original story (July 27, 2018): The BBC Media Center has officially confirmed the full cast list for their upcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Fans of the previous announcements will be happy to see that Lin-Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy, and Dafne Keen all appear.

The announcement is beautifully spun as a synopsis of the book series that weaves in and out of the plot to reveal the characters and their actor counterpart. We’ve compiled the full cast list here:

His Dark Materials BBC adaptation cast

Dafne Keen as Lyra
James McAvoy as Lord Asriel
Clarke Peters as The Master
Ian Gelder as Librarian Scholar Charles
Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter
Will Keen as Father MacPhail
Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal
Georgina Campbell as Adele Starminster
Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa
James Cosmo as Farder Coram
Lucien Msamati as John Faa
Mat Fraser as Raymond Van Geritt
Geoff Bell as Jack Verhoeven
Simon Manyonda as Benjamin de Ruyter
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby
Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow
Daniel Frogson as Tony Costa
Tyler Howitt as Billy Costa
Archie Barnes as Pantalaimon

The casting list rounds out with Archie Barnes who will presumably be lending his voice and possibly his body for a CGI rendering of Lyra’s dæmon.

Philip Pullman provided a statement with the announcement saying, “I’m delighted that the production is under way, and I’m looking forward immensely to seeing how it looks. Bad Wolf has assembled a wonderful cast and I’m sure every HDM reader is as keen as I am to see it all coming together.”

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With the author’s blessing the creative team also chimed in with their excitement.

His Dark Materials creative team

Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), writer
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables), director episodes 1-2
Dawn Shadforth, director episode 3
Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) director, episodes 4-5
More directors to be announced

Thorne says, “His Dark Materials are the most beautiful set of books, taking us into a world of constant imagination. Reading them I was a massive fan, in adapting them I’ve increasingly felt in awe of them. It’s the constant invention, the way the story never sits still, and that the characters constantly surprise you. It’s been a joy being part of a creative team for this; from Tom [Hopper]’s incredible analytic mind and amazing eye, to Joel [Collins]’s beautiful world building, to everyone else involved. And then there’s the cast, which has proved to be the cast of dreams, we are so lucky to have been able to entice them in.”

Joel Collins, who will be leading the production design team, is happy to find the work so challenging. He says, “I wanted to be part of a show that would challenge every bone in my body. I was looking for something that would be a true test of my mettle. The hardest thing in fantasy is trying to show a mass group of people what they’ve only previously seen in their minds.”

And while His Dark Materials has been adapted previously in 2006, the scale of this production already appears to be far beyond anything that could have happened over a decade ago. The quotes provided in the release from all levels of the creative team are not only build the excitement previously brewing following the annoucement of this project.

While the filming kicks off, there are plenty of ways to re-immerse yourself in Pullman’s world. You can reread the original trilogy and also be sure to check out The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

His Dark Materials is currently beginning principle photography in Cardiff, Wales.

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