Even if the rest of the world seems like it’s on fire now, there is at least some tiny bit of good news coming out of the San Diego Comic-Con. In the panel on Thursday, July 23rd, the cast of His Dark Materials held a virtual panel and Q&A session to address how the first season of the show went and what to expect for season 2.
Fans will be relieved to know that Season 2 is scheduled to premiere as originally planned in the fall. While many of our favorite shows are taking indefinite breaks from filming as crews try to navigate how to shoot around all of the necessary COVID restrictions, the HDM team lucked out when they wrapped up the majority of their filming in December 2019.
It seems the only episode to be affected by the pandemic mandates was one that was being shot back in March and is one not original to the second book of the series, The Subtle Knife, that this season is based on. Instead, the episode in question focused on Lord Asriel who is nowhere to be seen in the second book and is only ever alluded to. This episode was meant to update the fans on what he’s been up to the whole time after killing Roger and opening the portal, but now showrunners believe it is going to be shelved and picked up again at another time. In the meantime, the majority of season 2 is ready to go.
Thank God. As intriguing as Lord Asriel was, we can wait for his episode.
With that anxiety quelled, the cast and writers reflected on the challenges and successes of the first season. As anyone who’s read Phillip Pullman’s work knows, and as the head writer Jack Throne confirmed, His Dark Materials is seriously dense, and translating it into a TV show was a gargantuan task. Explaining the ins and outs of this world while also telling the story, all within eight episodes, did not leave much room for errors or distractions. Not to mention that since the season digressed from the book adaptation in some vital ways, and there were also serious concerns that original fans of the books would spurn the new series.
However, as Executive Producer, Jane Tranter, explained, it has been immensely gratifying to see these fans embrace the changes they made in their interpretation of the series, and hope they will enjoy season two.
We got our first look at the next season when the first official trailer premiered during the panel. While the overture about the “strange new times” and the “call for the Magisterium to take control” seems a little too on the nose for our current global climate, it did give us a glimpse into what we can expect. There’s a lot going on, but we can see that Mrs.Coulter and Lord Boreal are racing through the worlds to find Lyra, who finally meets Will in a parallel world. Also, we did get a shot of Dr. Mary Maloney being introduced next season, and she is the final pivotal character in the series. All of which promises that there will be a lot of action as the story moves forward.
From discussion on the panel, it seems that season 2 will focus on both Lyra and Will meeting but also learning to trust one another after they’ve each endured their own set of horrific events. Mrs. Coulter will likewise be alone most of the season and will be focused on her own self-discovery. Other than that, we don’t really know what’s in store for the rest of the cast members. Lord Boreal will be thirsting for power, but really what’s new about that?
We will just have to wait until the fall to find out more, but at least we know we won’t be waiting longer than that. Fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong until then.