HBO will partner with the BBC for the previously announced television adaptation of author Philip Pullman's acclaimed fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.
BBC One previously ordered a second season while the first, planned for eight episodes, is still in production. With a big-name cast and the kind of source material that will demand a hefty special-effects budget, the series is one of the most ambitious projects in the BBC's history.
Pullman's His Dark Materials novels -- The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass -- explore themes of childhood and growth through their inter-dimensional setting and the character of Lyra, a rebellious orphan on the brink of adulthood. On a quest to rescue her kidnapped friend, Lyra travels from her own world of an alternate-universe Oxford into ours and others, learns of her own ability to read truth from a magical device, and encounters otherworldly creatures who become her allies and enemies.
Lyra will be played by Dafne Keen, acclaimed for her performance in Logan, while James McAvoy will portray Lord Asriel, a dauntless explorer and Oxford scholar, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has been cast as Lee Scoresby, a hot-air balloon pilot.
The cast also includes Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, Clarke Peters as the Master of Jordan College, Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal, Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, Ian Gelder as Charles the Librarian, Georgina Campbell as Adèle Starminster, Lewin Lloyd as Lyra's friend Roger Parslow, Lucian Msamati as John Faa, James Cosmo as Farder Coram, Daiel Frogson as Tony Costa, Tyler Howitt as Billy Costa, Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala, Mat Fraser as Raymond van Gerrit, Geoff Bell as Jack Verhoeven, and Simon Manyonda as Benjamin de Ruyter. Dafne Keen’s own father, Will Keen, will also appear in an important role, the character of Father MacPhail.
Jack Thorne will be executive producer and writer for the series, while Tom Hooper is executive writer and director and Deborah Forte is another executive producer. Philip Pullman is credited as an executive producer as well as the author of the book series. Additional executive producers include Dan McCulloch, Jane Tranter, and Julie Gardner of Bad Wolf; Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood of New Line Cinema; and Ben Irving and Piers Wenger of BBC One.