BBC has already renewed His Dark Materials for a second season - despite the fact that production is still underway on season 1. The adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy is currently filming in Wales. The cast includes Logan standout Dafne Keen, fellow X-Men actor James McAvoy, The Affair's Ruth Wilson, and Hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda - just to name a few. The project is being written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables).
His Dark Materials is composed of three books: The Golden Compass (called Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. They tell the story of Lyra Belacqua (played by Keen) and her adventures, which take her to alternate universes. The first book in the series is a mystery as Lyra tries to rescue her missing friend and find out more about how his and other children's kidnappings connect to the mysterious Dust the adults are so obsessed with. The other books in the trilogy see Lyra traveling to other worlds and meeting new friends, including the serious and brave Will Parry, who has yet to be cast, and foes as well as grappling with the changes that come with growing up.
Deadline has reported that the BBC has ordered eight episodes for a second season of His Dark Materials. There is no news yet if the seasons will be broken up by book, with the first focusing on The Golden Compass and so on. The show has already been described as expensive and ambitious, so it's safe to say that BBC is happy with the little they've seen so far and expect a good response from audiences.
Fans of the book should be happy with the news of additional episodes for His Dark Materials. One of the biggest complaints about the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass directed by Chris Weitz was how it glossed over the events of the book and substantially changed the ending (which in turn affects the rest of the series). More episodes means more time to accurately adapt the beloved books and more time to spend building the fantastical worlds. While the book series was originally marketed for children, His Dark Materials also deals with heavy themes such as science vs. religion and good vs. evil and the additional episodes also give the writers more space to explore these topics.
With Game of Thrones ending, networks are scrambling to make the next big fantasy show. Amazon is tackling Lord of the Rings and Netflix is taking on The Witcher with adaptations of The Kingkiller Chronicle and The Wheel of Time also in the works. His Dark Materials combines epic battles with talking polar bear kings, witches, and philosophical arguments. It is going to be a massive undertaking for a VFX department, but if the show looks good, (mostly) sticks to the books, and has a good script, the BBC could look to have a hit on their hands.
His Dark Materials does not yet have a premiere date.