His Dark Materials season 3: UK release date, trailer, and BBC series cast with James McAvoy and Amir Wilson

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Season three of dark BBC fantasy series His Dark Materials, based on the Philip Pullman novels will air in the UK later this year

His Dark Materials was the BBC’s most expensive show ever when the first season came out in 2019, though the show was made in conjuction with bug-budget titan HBO. Season three will follow on from the dramatic end of the last season, which hinted at the upcoming Great War. It will see the return of main characters Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, and Lord Asriel.

His Dark Materials returns in DecemberHis Dark Materials returns in December
His Dark Materials returns in December | Bad Wolf/BBC/HBO

Is His Dark Materials season 3 based on a book?

Yes, His Dark Materials is based on a fantasy novel series of the same name by author Philip Pullman. The first season was adapted from the first novel in the series, Northern Lights (alternatively titled The Golden Compass), season two was based on the second novel The Subtle Knife, and the third series is adapted from the third and final novel in the series, The Amber Spyglass.

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The young adult novels, which were published between 1995 and 2000, follow two children, Lyra and Will, as they travel through parallel universes and meet magical creatures. The book trilogy has sold more than 17 million copies and been translated into 40 languages.

Northern Lights was adapted into 2007 film The Golden Compass starring Danie Craig and Nicole Kidman but the planned sequels were never made because it flopped at the box office. The TV series learned from the film’s mistakes and has been very successful with British and American audiences.

What is His Dark Materials season 3 about?

In The Amber Spyglass, Lyra has been kidnapped by her mother, Mrs. Coulter, and Will sets out to rescue her. The novel sees Will and Lyra travel to the world of the dead as Lord Asriel goes to war against The Authority, the head of a tyrannical religious regime. As Will and Lyra work together to defeat the forces of evil, the pair begin to fall in love.

Season three of His Dark Materials will largely follow the plot of the novel. Speaking on The One Show, James McAvoy, who plays Lord Asriel, said: “What can I tell you? It’s war. At the end of the second season we sort of declare war on the Kingdom of Heaven, so yeah, it gets pretty down and dirty, and there’s gonna be a lot of fisticuffs and a lot of explosions and all that stuff. But at its heart it’s about a wee girl and a wee boy… and not the adults with the egos.”

James McAvoy returns as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials season 3James McAvoy returns as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials season 3
James McAvoy returns as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials season 3 | BBC/ YouTube

Who is in the cast of His Dark Materials season 3?

  • Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua
  • Amir Wilson as Will Parry
  • Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter
  • Will Keen as Cardinal Hugh MacPhail
  • James McAvoy as Lord Asriel Belacqua
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby
  • Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala
  • Jade Anouka as Ruta Skadi
  • Simone Kirby as Dr Mary Malone
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Commander Ogunwe
  • Jamie Ward as Father Gomez
  • Lewin Lloyd as Roger
  • Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Balthamos
  • Simon Harrison as Baruch
  • Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe as Ama
  • Chipo Chung as Xaphania
  • Sian Clifford as Agent Salmakia
  • Jonathan Aris as Commander Roke
  • Kit Connor as Pantalaimon (voice)
  • David Suchet as Kaisa (voice)
  • Joe Tandberg as Iorek Byrnison
  • Sope Dirisu as Sergi (voice)
  • Lindsay Duncan as Octavia (voice)

Is there a trailer for His Dark Materials season 3?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

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When is the release date of His Dark Materials season 3?

The BBC has confirmed that the series will air in the UK in December, but an official air date has not been given. In the US, the series will air on HBO, with two episodes being released each week between Monday 5 December and Monday 26 December. There are eight episodes in season three. Episodes will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the UK shortly after they first air on BBC One. All of season one and two are available to watch on Iplayer now.

Will there be a season 4 of His Dark Materials?

No, season three will be the final season of His Dark Materials. Executive Producer Jane Tranter originally wanted to make four seasons to tell the whole story but had to settle for three. Each season follows one book in the series, so the third season will complete the story.

Philip Pullman began a prequel trilogy, The Book of Dust in 2017 - the first two novels have been published and the third is upcoming, though no publication date has been announced. There are currently no plans for the BBC or HBO to adapt The Book of Dust trilogy.

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