his dark materials season 2

His Dark Materials is back and it’s not being subtle. All bets are off with the second season of the HBO/BBC fantasy series, which adapts the second book, The Subtle Knife, in the acclaimed trilogy by Philip Pullman and is set to take its audience onto a whirlwind adventure through multiple worlds. And feelings about a Fleabag reunion.

The virtual Comic-Con at Home panel for His Dark Materials brought together cast members Dafne KeenRuth WilsonAriyon BakareAmir Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda with executive producers Jane Tranter and Jack Thorne and the show’s newest cast member Andrew Scott, who revealed a surprise Fleabag reunion in season 2 of His Dark Materials.

His Dark Materials Season 2 Trailer

The panel kicked off with the first official trailer for His Dark Materials season 2, which teased the exciting meeting of Lyra (Keen) and Will (Wilson) in the strange, otherworldly city of Cittàgazze. The action-packed trailer follows the two children as they’re hunted across multiple worlds and as they stumble across the titular knife which has the ability to “cut between worlds,” Scott’s mysterious new character John Parry reveals.

But that’s not the only thing Scott revealed, dropping a real humdinger in the middle of the virtual Comic-Con panel. Like most characters in His Dark Materials, John Parry will have his own daemon, the manifestation of his soul in the form of a talking animal. And his daemon will be played by none other than his Fleabag co-star (and star-crossed lover) Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Scott said:

“I do have a relationship with my daemon. And this is the first time we’re revealing this, but my daemon is going to be played by someone who is close to me in real life, which is a writer and performer named Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I’m really thrilled about that because it’s all about friendship and companionship and loyalty, and that’s what I feel about Phoebe in my real life.”

What to Expect in His Dark Materials Season 2

Scott’s other frequent companion in season 2 will be Lin Manuel-Miranda‘s Lee Scoresby, the aeronaut who makes it his mission in his second season to find Lyra, feeling “this incredible sense that this girl got dealt the worst hand when it comes to parents, I’m going to do what I can to have her back,” Miranda said in the panel.

Meanwhile, Lyra and Will strike a wary friendship, as the pair of mistrusting kids learn to depend on each other while they’re both stuck in a world that is not their own. That is the major part of their journeys in season 2, writer Jack Thorne said in the panel.

“I think what Philip’s written in The Subtle Knife is a beautiful poem about trust. About the way that characters have to learn to trust again,” Thorne said. “Will, his life has taught him to trust nothing. Lyra has learned through season 1 that she can’t trust anything. And then slowly, this beautiful flower emerges between them.”

What of the journey of His Dark Materials breakout Ruth Wilson, whose cold and calculating take on Mrs. Coulter was by far the most riveting part of the series? Wilson said that the second season will see Mrs. Coulter on her own journey of self discovery. “She does such horrific things that you really need to balance that with potential reasons why. And we know by season 3, we see her as a completely different person,” Wilson said of her character’s arc in the second season. “So you need to find the journey through the three seasons to see why she gets where she is by the end of the books. It’s much more about self-discovery, she’s on her own a lot in season 2. It’s more about her relationship with herself and her monkey.”

A Standalone Asriel Episode Was Written, But Not Shot

What you can expect not to have in season 2 is more of James McAvoy‘s Lord Asriel, who doesn’t make an appearance in the book either. But that was an element that Tranter and Thorne were actually planning to change with the screen adaptation — and then the pandemic hit. Thorne had written a standalone episode centering around Lord Asriel, separate from the other episodes that faithfully adapt the book, that would have been filmed in March. However, they were unable to shoot it due to the pandemic. But they were lucky that the main unit had wrapped on the other 7 episodes, which will make it to air at the same time they had scheduled His Dark Materials to return. Tranter said:

“It was a standalone episode which Jack had written with the blessing of and input from Philip Pullman which looked at what Asriel had been doing between going through the anomaly at the end of season 1 and what we see him doing at the beginning of book 3. Throughout The Subtle Knife, Asriel never appears but he’s talked about. So we played detective” with what Asriel was up to during the events of season 2.

The pandemic forced the team to shelve the Asriel standalone episode episode, but it may be “revisited” in the future, perhaps moved to season 3. In the meanwhile, His Dark Materials season 2 is set to premiere on HBO this fall. See the full virtual panel below.

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