BBC/HBO's new fantasy series His Dark Materials is a lavish adaptation of the book trilogy by Philip Pullman, and boasts an impressive cast that includes James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Dafne Keen and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The series is set an a parallel universe where people's souls exist outside of their bodies in the form of animal companions called daemons, who shapeshift throughout childhood before eventually settling into a final form. A young orphan, Lyra Belacqua, is embroiled into a sprawling mystery that could forever upset the balance of power in this world.
Season 2 of His Dark Materials completed filming before season 1 even premiered, and the biggest piece of casting for the second season is Amir Wilson as Will Parry, the deuteragonist of the novels. Will is introduced in the second book, The Subtle Knife, and finds his way from our world into Lyra's world. Also joining the cast in season 2 is Andrew Scott as Will's father, John Parry (also known as Stanislaus Grumman or Jopari).
As Lyra's journey gets underway in His Dark Materials season 1, we've put together a guide to the main characters and their daemons, and where you might have seen the cast members before.
His Dark Materials Main Cast
Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua - An orphan who lives at Oxford University's Jordan College in the care of her uncle, Lord Asriel. Lyra has a daemon called Pantalaimon (voiced by Kit Connor), who does not yet have a settled form, but likes to appear as an ermine (a type of weasel). Dafne Keen is best known for her role as the feisty young mutant Laura in Logan.
James McAvoy as Lord Asriel - Lyra's uncle, who embarks on a mysterious mission to the frozen north, leaving Lyra behind. Lord Asriel's daemon is called Stelmaria (voiced by Helen McRory), and has settled into the form of a snow leopard. James McAvoy is known for his role as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies.
Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter - A powerful, intelligent, and dangerous woman to whom Lyra is apprenticed after Lord Asriel leaves. She usually goes by the name "Mrs. Coulter," and her daemon (whose name is not known) has settled into the form of a golden monkey (voiced by Brian Fisher). Ruth Wilson played Jane Eyre in the 2006 miniseries adaptation, and more recently starred in Showtime series The Affair.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby - A Texan aeronaut who pilots a hot air balloon and becomes a friend and travelling companion to Lyra. Lee's daemon is called Hester (voiced by Cristela Alonzo), and has settled into the form of an arctic hare. Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known for writing and starring in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.
Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala - The queen of a clan of witches, who believes that Lyra will play a key role in fulfilling a prophecy. All witches' daemons take the form of a bird, and Serafina's daemon, Kaisa (voiced by David Suchet), has settled into the form of a snow goose. Ruta Gedmintas is known for playing Dutch Velders in horror series The Strain.
Joe Tandberg voices Iorek Byrnison - Iorek belongs to a species of intelligent armored bears called panserbjørn, and is the king of an archipelago called Svalbard. Joe Tandberg guest-starred in Netflix series The Innocents.
His Dark Materials Supporting Cast
Clarke Peters as Dr. Carne - The Master of Jordan College, who gives the alethiometer to Lyra. Dr. Carne's daemon has settled into the form of a raven. Clarke Peters played a hitman called Harry in John Wick.
Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow - A kitchen boy and friend of Lyra's who goes missing, along with many other children. Roger's daemon is called Salcilia (voiced by Eloise Little), and hasn't yet settled into a final form. Lewin Lloyd also appears in Amazon's upcoming movie The Aeronauts.
Ariyon Bakare as Lord Carlo Boreal - An untrustworthy man who is a member of the Magisterium's General Oblation Board. His daemon takes the form of a snake. Ariyon Bakare starred in the sci-fi horror movie Life.
Gary Lewis as Thorold - A loyal servant of Lord Asriel. His daemon, Anfang, has settled into the form of a pinscher.
Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa - A member of a group of nomadic people called the gyptians, Ma Costa has known Lyra since she was a baby. Her daemon has settled into the form of a hawk. Annie-Marie Duff is known for playing Fiona in the UK version of Shameless.
Daniel Frogson as Tony Costa - Ma Costa's son and another member of the gyptian clan, Tony is determined to rescue his little brother,Billy, who has also gone missing. His daemon, Lyuba, settles into the form of a hawk. Daniel Frogson starred in the TV miniseries Joe All Alone.
James Cosmo as Farder Coram - Coram is second in command to the gyptian king, John Faa, and had a relationship with Serafina Pekkala. His daemon, Sophonax, settled into the form of a cat. James Cosmo is best known for playing Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones.
Lucian Msamati as John Faa - The king of the gyptians. John Faa's demon has settled into the form of a crow. Lucian Msamati is known for his roles in Taboo and Black Earth Rising.