His Dark Materials Teaser: BBC and HBO’s Adaptation Stars James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and More

The Philip Pullman adaptation stars James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and more.


Does everyone have their dæmon in one hand and Alethiometer in the other? No? How about your DIY’d spyglass or, perhaps, a subtle knife? Well, gather whatever instruments in your possession attract the most Dust, because it’s time to dive deep into the recently released 30-second teaser trailer for His Dark Materials, the BBC and HBO‘s joint upcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy.

If you haven’t read the books, the above paragraph likely made little sense to you, but it’s OK because here are the bare-bones basics of the story—or, at least, the first part: In a world similar to but not exactly our own, some time in the past, orphan Lyra Belacqua is a ward of Jordan College at Oxford, where she gets into all kinds of mischief. She spies on a meeting led by her Uncle Asriel in which he discusses a mysterious particle called Dust that seems to have something to do with opening the doorway to other realms. Soon, Lyra and her dæmon (like a pet, for our purposes) Pantalaimon are caught up in an adventure involving Asriel, the glamorous Mrs. Coulter, the rescue of Lyra’s best friend Roger, and, eventually, talking armored polar bears. There’s magic and witches, but it’s also about religion and science. The books are very good, unlike the 2007 adaptation of the first in the series, The Golden Compass, which was only OK.

Which brings us back to the teaser trailer! It begins, as the book does, with Lyra (Dafne Keen) spying from inside a wardrobe in a room in the Jordan library, with her Uncle Asriel (James McAvoy) just back from his latest exploration. From there, we see Lyra running through the streets, perhaps avoiding the Child Snatchers that have lately plagued her community, and then a glimpse of Ruth Wilson as the icy Mrs. Coulter. In the 2007 film, Nicole Kidman played Coulter with the bright blonde hair she’s mentioned as having in the books, but, quite frankly, the brunette is better on Wilson and, anyway, it makes her look more like a certain character she may or may not later be revealed to be related to, so this discrepancy is forgiven.

We don’t get to hear any dialogue in the clip, since it mostly centers on all the action up in the Arctic, but we do get glimpses of Clarke Peters as Dr. Carne, Master of Jordan College, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, an Aëronaut, which is a fancy way of saying that he has a hot air balloon.

Take a look at what the BBC and HBO have in store for us in the upcoming big-budget series, which has already been renewed for a second season.

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