'His Dark Materials' series two heading to screens in autumn 2020

·3-min read
'His Dark Materials' was a hit for the BBC last year. (Credit: BBC)
'His Dark Materials' was a hit for the BBC last year. (BBC)

The hit BBC/HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials will return to screens in the autumn for its second series.

Production on the show was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but the lion’s share of filming on the second run had already been completed before the first series even aired.

The latest news was revealed in a press release from Penguin Random House announcing the publication of a previously unseen Sir Philip Pullman manuscript written in 2004.

Read more: James McAvoy says shooting His Dark Materials was “a nightmare”

The release stated that His Dark Materials series two is “confirmed for this autumn”.

Lee Scoresby (LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA), Lyra Belacqua (DAFNE KEEN) - (C) Bad Wolf - Photographer: Alex Bailey
Lee Scoresby and Lyra Belacqua (Bad Wolf)

Series two will tell the story of second novel The Subtle Knife and executive producer Jane Tranter previously hinted the show could also also cover third book The Amber Spyglass in this second series.

However, HBO’s Casey Bloys said in January that a potential third series is being discussed in order to complete the story.

Logan actor Dafne Keen plays the lead role of Lyra Belacqua, joined by a starry ensemble which included James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Clarke Peters.

Read more: Dafne Keen was hired for Logan after punching Hugh Jackman

Keen told Screen that she believes series two of the show is even better than the first and that it felt “darker” when they were filming it.

She added: “In season one, we were just sort of figuring the out, but now we can play around more.

Dafne Keen attends 'La Materia Oscura' Madrid Photocall on October 26, 2019. (Photo by Samuel de Roman/Getty Images)
Dafne Keen plays Lyra Belacqua. (Getty Images)

“The thing that you will really see is that there is more blood, more death. It’s more morbid. More raw.”

The first series earned strong ratings when it began airing in November 2019 with an initial audience of more than seven million people.

Read more: UK and US critics split over His Dark Materials debut

It was also a hit with critics, gaining an 80% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The critical consensus reads: “The daemon is in the details and while His Dark Materials’ visual splendour and exceptional performances deftly capture the essence of Philip Pullman's seminal novels, it could use a little more magic.”

Sir Philip Pullman poses with his medal after receiving a knighthood at Buckingham Palace on May 16, 2019. (Photo by Yui Mok/AFP via Getty Images)
Sir Philip Pullman receives his knighthood at Buckingham Palace. (AFP via Getty Images)

The new series of His Dark Materials will be part of a bumper autumn for fans of Pullman.

Serpentine – the aforementioned manuscript – is a stand-alone short story featuring a teenage Lyra and will be released on 15 October as a hardback and in an e-book narrated by Olivia Colman.

Pullman has since continued Lyra’s story with a new trilogy known as The Book of Dust, following an infant Lyra in the first book and revealing her as an adult for second adventure The Secret Commonwealth.

Read more: Fantasy novels heading to small screen

The 73-year-old author said: “When I wrote Serpentine, I had no idea that I was going on to write another trilogy, showing Lyra as an adult, but she and her world wouldn’t leave me alone.”

October will also see the release of Pullman essay collection Dæmon Voices and a 25th anniversary edition of His Dark Materials opener Northern Lights.

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