The BBC’s lavish adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials saga is still a ways off—but that’s not stopped the broadcaster from commissioning a second run of episodes already.
According to reporting from Deadline, the deal for a second season of eight episodes has come just weeks after filming on the first began in Cardiff. The series, which spent years in the works at the BBC, is expected to adapt all three books in the original trilogy—Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in some regions), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass—about a young orphan named Lyra (played by Logan’s Dafne Keen) and her adventures across a fantastical multiverse of interconnected parallel realities. It’s unknown yet if each season will adapt a single book, or if the BBC has plans to make much more of a meal out of what is reportedly one of the most expensive scripted TV series in British TV history.
The news of the second season comes at a very interesting time in the wake of comments (also reported by Deadline) from BBC Director General Tony Hall this morning to a panel of UK politicians on a committee for the department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (we do love a good overstuffed governmental department, we Brits do). Hall alluded to the vast expense of the first season...while maybe undercutting it a bit in regards to its competitors on services like Netflix and Amazon:
[His Dark Materials] is expensive because of all of the computer graphics to make the demons. I was on set with them two weeks ago and I’m really pleased we’ve pulled off something there where the cost per episode is high. I don’t think it’s in the Netflix/Amazon territory but it’s really ambitious. All of us felt that was the sort of piece that the BBC should make given the nature of the book and the nature of who Phillip Pullman is, and we’re showing ambition on that.
Ruth Wilson and James McAvoy are also set to star in His Dark Materials, which has yet to get a release date. We’ll bring you more on the BBC’s apparently rather ambitious take on Pullman’s novels as we learn it.