When Philip Pullman‘s best-selling His Dark Materials series was first adapted for film back in 2007, it lacked the intensity and darkness of the source material. Now, HBO is re-adapting the series for television, which is better for several reasons. The serialized format will give the writers significantly more room to explore Pullman’s deeply nuanced tale, which is still expanding through his newest trilogy, The Book of Dust. Plus, putting the series on HBO gives the show a chance to encompass every element of the books, including the deeply terrifying and utterly vicious main plot.
On Friday, HBO released the first real trailer for His Dark Materials, which doesn’t yet have an official release date. Dafne Keen, the break-out star of FOX’s Logan, plays main character Lyra Belacqua, also known as Lyra Silvertongue for her ability to tell convincing lies. In the first book, Lyra and her daemon Pan discover a sinister plot to separate children from their daemons, which essentially kills them, as their daemons are physical manifestations of their souls.
To stop this from happening, Lyra and Pan journey throughout the multiverse, meeting friends and foes alike as they race to fulfill a prophecy they don’t even fully understand. His Dark Materials functions, in part, as an inversion of Milton’s Paradise Lost; the series has long received backlash for its critique of Christianity. The first season of the HBO series appears to adapt the first book, titled Northern Lights everywhere but the U.S. Here, the book is called The Golden Compass.
At any rate, the trailer indicates that writer Jack Thorne and producers Toby Emmerich, Deborah Forte, Jane Tranter and Piers Wenger completely understand Pullman’s books and intend to adapt them faithfully — perhaps Pullman himself co-producing is one of the reasons for that. Keen is joined in His Dark Materials by superstar actors James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Check out the trailer below and stay tuned for more news about the upcoming His Dark Materials series on HBO.
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bitch Media, The Mary Sue, Bustle, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is the managing editor at The Beat, as well as the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Montana with her partner and cats.