For many of us, the Harry Potter books and films were like one of our best childhood friends, and nothing quite like it (except maybe Game of Thrones) has come close to replacing that nostalgia. But the BBC is bringing us His Dark Materials, an adaptation of the novel trilogy of the same name, written by Sir Philip Pullman.
Set in an alternate universe where human souls take the physical form of an animal companion, it follows Lyra Belacqua, a young orphan who finds herself in the middle of a huge controversy around a mysterious, powerful particle known as Dust. There's magic, witchcraft, armoured polar bears and a whole heap of intense fantasy adventure. After devouring the books, you might remember a brief wave of excitement at the first screen adaptation back in 2007. Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman starred in The Golden Compass, the film adaptation of Northern Lights, the first novel in the trilogy, and though we thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kidman portray Mrs Coulter, aka one of the most glamorous, terrifying and deceptive fictional villains in the world, the film didn't quite satisfy the hunger of His Dark Materials fans.
Lyra's relationship with the Witches, aeronaut Lee Scoresby, Billy Costa and Lord Asriel are wildly underplayed and we didn't get to meet Will Parry, the young boy crucial to the plot of the second novel, The Subtle Knife. The film didn't manage to tie up all the loose ends that the novel explains in far more detail, so here's hoping the TV series does a better job of retelling the story. The series has already been renewed for a second season so the outlook is already positive.
His Dark Materials will boast a seriously stacked cast. Ruth Wilson will be stepping into the role of Mrs Coulter following her exit from The Affair and performance in incredible three-part drama Mrs Wilson. In an interview, Wilson said she wasn’t allowed to tell us why she left The Affair — maybe this epic trilogy has something to do with it? Also in the show are Lin-Manuel Miranda as Scoresby, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, and Dafne Keen as young Lyra.
The trailer doesn’t reveal much of the award-winning story from the books, but it does show us some magical action, including Wilson shooting someone with a gun and staring evilly into the screen. But as we learned from our other favourite fantasy novels, characters that seem like the villain may end up being the most courageous characters of all. If you like your fantasy with complex moral compasses, His Dark Materials is the series for you.
The BBC have not indicated when the show will air, but you can watch the teaser below.