HBO will co-produce and distribute outside of the United Kingdom the forthcoming British fantasy adventure series, His Dark Materials. Based on the popular trilogy of novels - The Golden Compass aka. Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass - of the same name authored by Philip Pullman, the small screen project centers on two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they travel through a series of parallel universes. Throughout their journeys, the two will encounter various fantastical elements like witches and armored polar bears. While mostly rooted in fantasy, the narrative also alludes to concepts of physics, philosophy, and theology, which makes it more intriguing.
Announced in 2015 by BBC, His Dark Materials TV adaptation was supposed to premiere sometime in 2017, but it wasn't ready by then. In fact, casting announcements only came early this year starting with Logan star, Dafne Keen who will play Lyra. Soon after, a slew of actors were confirmed for the project including Lin Manuel Miranda (Lee Scoresby), James McAvoy (Lord Asriel), Ruth Wilson (Marissa Coulter), and Clarke Peters (Dr. Carne), although it remains to be seen who will portray Will.
Dubbed to be one of the most expensive British dramas to date, His Dark Materials is written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Hooper with the first season confirmed to have eight episodes. Given the buzz for the series, not to mention the star-studded cast, HBO understandably wanted to get involved in the show, partnering up with BBC and New Line Cinema to co-produce, Deadline reports. Further, the network has also acquired its worldwide rights, meaning they'll be distributing it globally outside of the U.K. where it will air on BBC One.
With Game of Thrones wrapping up after eight seasons next year, it makes sense that HBO wants to get involved in His Dark Materials, which also boasts the same fantastical elements that people loved in their adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novels. Looking at the bigger picture, other networks are also gearing to tap on people's interest in fantasy series having seen how big the fanfare is with Game of Thrones. Netflix is in the process of adapting The Witcher, which is going to be headlined by Henry Cavill, while Amazon is making a Lord of the Rings TV series. HBO has the Game of Thrones prequel series on the way, but they also need fresh material to lure new viewers who weren't particularly a fan of Game of Thrones, but might be interested in His Dark Materials.
The news of HBO joining His Dark Materials comes after it was announced that the show has already been picked up for another season, which will also consist of eight episodes despite the fact that principal photography is still underway. No official release date has also been confirmed. And while it's always better to reserve final judgment once the show is finally airing, its early renewal is a good indication of the show's potential to become a huge hit.