The His Dark Materials' SDCC Trailer Is Grand as It Is Gorgeous

Dafne Keen stars in HBO and BBC’s His Dark Materials.
Dafne Keen stars in HBO and BBC’s His Dark Materials.
Image: HBO
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The future of the world—and possibly so much more—is at stake. And it all depends on one girl. The first full trailer for HBO and BBC’s His Dark Materials arrived at SDCC, hinting at an epic battle for freedom, faith, and a power that’s much bigger and scarier than any of them realize.

The latest trailer was revealed during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Stars Dafne Keen (Logan), James McAvoy (Dark Phoenix), Ruth Wilson (Luther), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) were on hand to share new details about the series and hint at the epic fantasy that lies in store.

Based on the books by Philip Pullman, the series centers around an orphan named Lyra Belacqua (Keen) whose world is turned around when she learns about Dust, a mysterious particle that’s connected to everything and everyone in the universe. It’s mostly drawn to adults, though—for reasons I won’t get into because it’s kind of a spoiler. Lyra is gifted a special compass, powered by Dust, that allows her to ask any question and be given an answer. With her new device and natural curiosity, Lyra finds herself in the center of a power struggle around Dust, as Mrs. Coulter (Wilson) and others yearn to control it.


The new trailer sets up Lyra’s journey into a dangerous magical world, introducing the major players in her life, like McAvoy’s Lord Asriel, Ruth Wilson’s antagonist Marisa Coulter, and Lee Scoresby, the charismatic explorer played by Lin Manuel Miranda. Also, of course, we meet a giant armored polar bear named Iorek Byrnison, a friend to Lyra and Scoresby. It’s fast and thrilling, as Lyra moves from a cloistered life to something much more dangerous.

The series has already been picked up for a minimum of two seasons, with Amir Wilson set to join the cast later on as Will Parry. His Dark Materials debuts on HBO and BBC in the fall of this year.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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Assuming this sticks around long enough to cover The Amber Spyglass, I will full-on weep the second I see a full-fledged proper CG mulefa on screen. Fun little story: Back in 1st grade, the librarian at my school had us pick out a book from any section of the library and try to read a sentence. Before this, I’d primarily read just kids’ books with a smattering of picture-assisted adapted classics, so my reading comprehension was solid enough with almost subzero exposure to anything outside classical mythology or standard 19th century British lit; on a whim, I happened to pick up The Amber Spyglass because the name sounded pretty cool, and managed to flip to the section where Pullman was first describing how the mulefa/seed adaptation actually operated. Reading that aloud and truly making the fantasy come real in my imagination unaided was probably the single most magical experience of my youth, and pretty much triggered my literary preferences up through the present, so having as wonderful an adaptation of my first “real” literary experience as this seems is truly a gift of gifts. Counting down the seconds until the premiere!