“I literally come into this singing a duet with my daemon. On a hot air balloon,” Lin-Manuel Miranda proclaimed on the San Diego Comic-Con Hall H stage. And thus begins the fantastical exploration of HBO and The BBC’s take on His Dark Materials, the re-imagined, but faithful adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s classic novel of the same name.
Writer Jack Thorne, who won a Tony and an Olivier for his work bringing Harry Potter to the stage, said he did 43 drafts of the pilot before he and showrunner Jane Tranter were satisfied with the final product. “I always describe [adapting] as doing a PhD.” When asked why she felt it was time to bring the books to television, Tranter’s answer was simple: “I felt it was time for the books to be liberated.”
The creators were most excited about expanding on villain Marisa Coulter. Pullman gave the showrunners license to dig further into the character. Why does Ms. C have a monkey? Why can she separate from her animal when no one else can? “I get to do something quite nasty to a child. It was quite fun,” actress Ruth Wilson noted with a glee that only she could successfully pull off.
“Fall 2019" remains the only clue as to when His Dark Materials will hit televisions worldwide. Starring Logan’s Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, the star-studded series will touch on religious and institutional oppression. His Dark Material will be HBO’s first return to sci-fi since the conclusion of Game of Thrones.