When talking about HBO's upcoming adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials book series, it's hard not to look back on the controversy that surrounded 2007's The Golden Compass film.
The first on-screen adaptation of Pullman's His Dark Materials series was met with criticism from religious groups. In addition to the Catholic League calling for a boycott, even secular groups also had issues with the film, saying it diluted the novel's original message in an effort to appease religious groups.
HBO seems to be trying to get ahead of the controversy this time, with His Dark Materials' executive producer Jane Tranter making it a point to tell the media that the series “is not an attack on religion.”
When talking to Variety, Tranter seemed to suggest the series would more closely follow the books than the 2007 film did. “We’re adapting the books across the broad expense of television, one of the things that can happen when you adapt a book for film is that you have to cut down the middle for the story."
“The religious controversy that was around the film was not relevant to the books themselves," she continued. "Philip Pullman talks about depression, the control of information and the falsification of information… there is no direct contrast with any contemporary religious organization.”
His Dark Materials is directed by Tom Hooper and stars Dafne Keen as Lyra, Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby. It doesn't currently have a release date, but rumors suggest it will premiere sometime in 2019.