Development: HBO grabs His Dark Materials, Wreck-It Ralph will go VR, plus Alan Wake

Contributed by
Sep 12, 2018, 5:50 PM EDT

Hot on the polar bear heels of the news that the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's acclaimed book series His Dark Materials would be getting an additional season, there is even better news today for those who are highly anticipating this new take on Lyra Silvertongue and her adventures in parallel worlds. 

Deadline is reporting that HBO has come on board as co-producer and distributor for the new series. They will partner with the BBC, Bad Wolf, and New Line Cinema to co-produce two eight-episode seasons. In addition, HBO has snapped up the worldwide rights to the project, giving them control over it outside of the U.K. American viewers will likely be watching this show on HBO, instead of on BBC America. 

The property (which had a false start cinematically with New Line's The Golden Compass in 2007) is, according to Deadline, believed to be one of the "biggest in scope and most expensive British dramas to date." It makes sense that HBO would be interested in this fantasy-based series, as the prestige juggernaut is about to have a Game of Thrones-sized hole in its lineup. 

The adaptation is written by Jack Thorne, the writer of the Tony-winning fantasy play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) is the lead director, and will direct the first two episodes. The breakout star of Logan, Dafne Keen, will play the lead role of Lyra, and the cast will also include James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as Lord Asriel, and Ruth Wilson ("Luther") as Marisa Coulter. Hamilton star/scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda will play the gunslinging balloonist Lee Scoresby. 

The series is set to cover Pullman's original trilogy: Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the U.S.), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. There is no word yet as to whether or not the increased episode order affects these plans — Pullman is working on another trilogy based in the same world, called The Book of Dust. The first book in that series, La Belle Sauvage, takes place before the events of His Dark Materials; the second book in the new series will take place after it. 


Wreck-it Ralph is set to break the internet fairly soon in Ralph Breaks the Internet, but the Disney creation isn't stopping there. He's going to be getting the full virtual reality experience. 

/Film is reporting that Disney, Lucasfilm, and ILMxLAB are once again teaming up with The VOID for a VR experience based on the character. This is the same team that banded together to create the incredible Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire hyper-reality experience, and if this new project has the same quality as that one does, then fans are in for a treat. 

Described by Slashfilm as a "multi-sensory adventure," the experience will put guests in the various realms of the internet alongside Ralph himself. Ralph Producer Clark Spencer was quoted as saying, "Our filmmakers and the terrific people at ILMxLAB have collaborated to bring an incredible hyper-real experience, for all ages, to The VOID. We can’t wait for people to be immersed in the worlds of the internet and online gaming with Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope.”

There's no word yet as to what exactly this experience will be like, but again, if Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is anything to go by, then the sky's the limit. 



Finally today, Variety is reporting that a live-action TV series is in development based on the video game Alan Wake. Peter Calloway (Cloak and DaggerLegion) has signed on as showrunner, and the creator of the game, Sam Lake, will serve as executive producer. Remedy Entertainment will be partnering with Contradiction Films for the project. 

Tomas Harlan of Contradiction films was quoted as saying that he plans to start shopping the show around in October, and that he's "already seen initial interest from a number of studios." 

“ ‘Alan Wake’ was basically a TV series that was put into a game,” Harlan told Variety, adding, “That was Sam’s vision. It was influenced by The Twilight ZoneSecret Window, Hitchcock, Northern Exposure, a lot of U.S. television.”

The game was originally released in 2010, and tells the story of a famous (fictitious) author named, you guessed it, Alan Wake. The game involves a surreal experience that comes when Wake tried to get rid of his writer's block. The game already featured an episodic structure, so it would seem primed and ready for a television series. 

Game creator Sam Lake, who'll be closely involved with the project, told Variety, “The story of the original game is our starting point, the seed which will grow into the bigger story we’re exploring in the show." He goes on to say that they will be expanding the lore of the game's dark universe, and diving deeper into that lore. Some of that will include material that Lake had created for a sequel game, one which never materialized. As he says, “All of this material will function as potential source material for the show.”