Saturday 25 July 2020

Strange new times in His Dark Materials

HBO dropped an official trailer for the second season of His Dark Materials during ComicCon@Home. Whilst the upcoming season has one less episode, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it does see the reunion of Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott.

"I'm really thrilled about that because it's all about companionship and friendship and loyalty and that's what I feel about Phoebe in my real life so it's wonderful that it's happening," said Scott, who will play explorer Colonel John Parry.

A standalone episode starring James McAvoy (Lord Asriel) has been cut. This would have explored Asriel's journey into an alternate world in the wake of killing Lyra’s (Dafne Keen) best friend Roger (Lewyn Lloyd) in the season one finale.

“Really we did have an incredible piece of luck,” executive producer Jane Tranter said during a special His Dark Materials panel at Comic-Con@Home. “We were filming when the pandemic hit, and we did have to stop filming.

“But we were in a peculiar situation where our main unit had wrapped just before Christmas 2019. And we had one standalone episode that we were filming in March, and it was separate from the other seven episodes, because it was a standalone episode.”

“Jack had written [the episode] with the blessing and with input from Philip Pullman, which looked at what Asriel had been doing between going through the anomaly at the end of season one, and when we see Lord Asriel at the beginning of book three, the Amber Spyglass,” Tranter said.

“Because Asriel isn’t actually in The Subtle Knife. He’s very much talked about, his presence is very much felt, but he’s not actually there. So we played kind of detective with The Subtle Knife and figured out what Asriel might have been doing.”

McAvoy can be heard in Audible's The Sandman (affiliate link), an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's seminal comic book series, directed by Dirk Maggs (Batman: Knightfall).

His Dark Materials, my favourite drama series of 2019, is scheduled to return on HBO and BBC One this autumn.

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