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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO's His Dark Materials introduces Cittàgaze in its first season 2 trailer

Illustration for article titled HBO's His Dark Materials introduces Cittàgaze in its first season 2 trailer
Screenshot: HBO

As much as we enjoyed the first season of HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, we couldn’t help but deem it a missed opportunity. As Myles McNutt wrote in his review of the season one finale, the series felt as if it was made by “producers had read enough of Pullman’s series to deliver a close facsimile of the plot, but not enough to understand what was important to the heart and soul of His Dark Materials.”

That leaves us curious about its upcoming second season, which just received its first trailer in conjunction with the show’s Comic-Con@Home panel. The world-hopping journeys of Lyra (Dafne Keen) and Will (Amir Wilson) are peppered with glimpses of new characters played by Andrew Scott, Jade Anouka, and Simone Kirby, as well as the city of Cittàgaze. It looks beautiful, but that’s not surprising—the first season had plenty of problems, but the world remained immersive throughout.

Check it out below.

Here’s a synopsis:

In the second season of His Dark Materials, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) has opened a bridge to a new world, and, distraught over the death of her best friend, Lyra (Dafne Keen) follows Asriel into the unknown. In a strange and mysterious abandoned city she meets Will (Amir Wilson), a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.


Alas, don’t expect to see much of James McAvoy’s Lord Asriel in the second season. Speaking on the Comic-Con@Home panel, executive producer Jane Tranter revealed that a standalone episode following the character had to be cut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, its exclusion doesn’t impact the overall arc of the season, but it did chop the episode count from eight to seven.

Per Tranter: “It was separate from the other seven episodes because it was a standalone episode which [writer] Jack [Thorne] had written with the blessing and input of Philip Pullman, which looked at what Lord 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.”

“It meant that we could continue post-production on the seven episodes that make up The Subtle Knife and just put the Asriel standalone episode to one side and maybe in the future we can revisit it as a standalone,” she continued.”But essentially our adaptation of The Subtle Knife had been completed.”

Watch the full panel below.

No premiere date has been announced, but HBO is teasing a fall premiere.


Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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