Hit BBC show His Dark Materials is set to return this Sunday with its second series, promising even more epic fantasy, political intrigue and magical beasts.
The fantasy epic – which is based on author Philip Pullman’s novels of the same name – will pick up right from where series one ended, with Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) stepping through a portal into an unknown world.
The show is set to loosely follow the events of The Subtle Knife, Pullman’s second novel in the series, and it promises to see action intensify now that Lyra has firmly left her childhood days in Oxford behind.
Fantasy epic: Hit BBC show His Dark Materials is set to return this Sunday with its second series, promising even more epic fantasy, political intrigue and magical beasts
Our protagonist is naturally traumatised after having just watched her best friend Roger be murdered by her father, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy).
But no sooner has the series 2 started than she finds finds a new companion in Will Parry (Amir Wilson), who hails from our own world rather than Lyra’s own universe that is ruled by the terrifying Magisterium.
The duo set out on their own quest together, involving the subtle knife – a weapon that can cut through universes – as well as Will’s own mysterious father, who is excitingly set to be played by hot priest Andrew Scott.
Star: No sooner has the series 2 started than Lyra finds a new companion in Will Parry (Amir Wilson)
Lethal: The new series is set to revolve around Lyra and Will’s quest to find the Subtle Knife, which can cut through worlds. Will is shown here in a tussle up over who should get control of the knife
Evil: Lyra’s evil mother Mrs Coulter – memorably played by the brilliant Ruth Wilson – is not far behind the duo, determined as she is to regain control over her wayward daughter
Wow: The BBC’s trailers promise the return of other memorable aspects of the show, including witch Serafina Pekkala shown here flying through the sky
Lyra’s evil mother Mrs Coulter – memorably played by the brilliant Ruth Wilson – is not far behind the duo, determined as she is to regain control over her wayward daughter.
The BBC have released two teaser trailers in advance, which show Mrs Coulter angry and desperate to find Lyra, while she and Will are shown getting to know each other in another universe.
Andrew Scott is also in the trailer, explaining the significance of the subtle knife, and how it can cut through worlds.
Members of the Magisterium are also shown dressed in black and looking angry as they declare: ‘Troubled times call for the magisterium to take control’.
An ally: Lyra’s friend Lee Scorsby (Lin Manuel Miranda), who flies a hot air balloon around the world, is also returning for the new series
Epic: Armoured bear Iorek Byrnison is also returning for series 2, ready to offer Lyra and Will his support
Mrs Coulter is seen dramatically screaming ‘Lyra’, as well as sullenly standing still while terrifying grey wraiths swoop around behind her.
Interviews with cast members provide further insight into the series ahead.
Lin Manual Miranda, who plays adventurer Lee Scorsby, says that his character ‘discovers the existence of the subtle knife, and makes it his mission to find Stanislaus Grumman and get the knife.
‘He doesn’t know about the specifics, he just knows its an enormously powerful weapon and if it’s on Lyra’s team it will help her. He just wants to keep Lyra safe and give her the best chance of succeeding.’
Protagonist: Lead actress Dafne Keen says of Lyra, ‘She’s a young girl, very determined, very intelligent and very adventurous. She is just trying to find out what’s going on in the world’
Elaborating on how The Subtle Knife will be different to Series One, Miranda continues: ‘The scope of the world is so much bigger – but it’s not random, it’s that in following Lyra’s journey the world just grows ands grows and grows.
‘We get to see all these variations of Philip Pullman’s world. So it’s a bigger journey – and it just expands the world of the first one.’
Amir Wilson, who plays Will, also gives insight into his character: ‘He’s a bit of an outcast, compared to everyone else. He dedicates his life to his mum and making sure she’s ok, because his dad disappeared when he was younger.’
Dafne Keen, meanwhile, says of Lyra: ‘She’s a young girl, very determined, very intelligent and very adventurous. She is just trying to find out what’s going on in the world – she’s very curious.’
Backstage: images from behind the scenes show the scale of the BBC show, whose first series cost a huge £50 million
Grand scale: Executive Producer Jane Tranter explains that the new series is ‘where you really begin to learn about multiple worlds and it sets up Lyra’s quest’
Intense: Lin Manuel Miranda says of the new season, ‘We get to see all these variations of Philip Pullman’s world. So it’s a bigger journey – and it just expands the world of the first one’
Fearsome: Mrs Coulter actor Ruth Wilson says of the new series, ‘Mrs Coulter has completely underestimated Lyra, and she’s also underestimated her feelings for Lyra’
Ruta Gedminta, who plays witch queen Serafina Pekkala, says: ‘For centuries witches have heard whispers of a prophesy – and she has realised this is Lyra, and Lyra is the key to the world surviving.’
Ruth Wilson adds of her character: ‘This season Lyra’s proven a match for Mrs Coulter. She’s completely underestimated Lyra, and what she’s capable of, and she’s also underestimated her feelings for Lyra.’
Executive Producer Jane Tranter explains that The Subtle Knife is ‘the novel which really begins to build a bridge through to maturity for Lyra; it’s the novel where you really begin to learn about multiple worlds; and it sets up Lyra’s quest.’
The first series was a massive hit for the BBC last Christmas, and it was also broadcaster’s most expensive series ever with a massive budget of £50million.
Exciting: The new series, based on Philip Pullman’s novel The Subtle Knife, promises to see action intensify now that Lyra has firmly left her childhood days in Oxford behind
It followed the story of Philip Pullman’s novel The Northern Lights, as it showed the apparent orphan Lyra leaving her home in a pre-industrial Oxford to rescue her kidnapped friend, Roger.
Lyra encountered witches, armoured polar bears and terrifying spectres, and became involved in a sinister plot to separate all children form their demons – which are a manifestation of the soul into an animal companion.
All major cast members are set to return in Season 2, including the big stars James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
His Dark Materials will be showing at 8pm on Sunday 8th November on BBC One.
This weekend: The new series of His Dark Materials will be showing at 8pm on Sunday 8th November on BBC One.