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SYFY WIRE His Dark Materials

'His Dark Materials' will plunge the Subtle Knife into alternate realities for third and final season on HBO

By Josh Weiss
His Dark Materials

HBO's small screen adaptation of His Dark Materials will officially come to an end after a third and final season, the premium cable network announced on Tuesday. Production on Season 3 (like its predecessors, it will consist of eight episodes) is scheduled to kick off in Cardiff, Wales, sometime in 2021, which means the final installment probably won't debut until 2022.

“Bringing Phillip Pullman’s epic, intricate, and culturally resonant body of work to television has been a tremendous privilege," Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President of HBO Programming, said in a statement. "We thank our incredible partners at the BBC and the entire Bad Wolf team, led by the indefatigable Jane Tranter, for their exceptional work on the first two seasons. We look forward to completing the trilogy with this final chapter in Lyra’s journey.”

"It’s been a joy to see how His Dark Materials has brought British TV audiences of all ages together on BBC One and BBC iPlayer,” added Ben Irving, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, Wales. “Fans of Phillip Pullman’s incredible books, and newcomers alike, have been enthralled by adventuring with Lyra and Will through multiple worlds. We are thrilled that they will be able to continue their journey in a third series of this beautifully realized drama. Our thanks to our partners at HBO and the dedicated creative team at Bad Wolf for making a landmark series that will continue to be watched and enjoyed on the BBC for years to come."

Speaking with Empire Magazine earlier this year, series writer Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) revealed that there was already a plan for Season 3: "Series 1 was about Lyra looking for a path. Now she needs to know what person she's going to be on that path. And in Series 3, you see what she's going to do with that path."

Based on Pullman's beloved trilogy of fantasy novels — The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber SpyglassHis Dark Materials takes place in a pseudo-steampunk world where humans are born with animal counterparts known as dæmons. That's only the tip of the strange iceberg, as the plot also explores the concept of alternate realities and parallel dimensions. Dafne Keen, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and James McAvoy are among the ensemble cast for HBO's translation.

His Dark Materials has been a truly global TV experience and a personal career highlight,” executive producer Jane Tranter said in a statement about the show's conclusion. “The creative team at Bad Wolf in Cardiff made the impossible possible and brought Philip Pullman’s worlds into vivid life. To see that hard work and dedication applauded and embraced by fans around the world has made all the hard work worthwhile. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful commitment and conviction of the BBC and HBO. I am excited, thrilled and honored to be making the third part of Philip Pullman’s trilogy with their support and encouragement. Diolch ['thank you' in Welsh]."

The Season 2 finale premieres on HBO next Monday (Dec. 28) at 9:00 p.m. EST.