Report: BBC reveals huge ensemble cast for His Dark Materials TV series

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Jul 27, 2018, 12:57 PM EDT (Updated)

BBC One reportedly has taken the wraps off the extensive casting lineup for its lavish production of a new TV series based on Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials book trilogy, as production on the project ramps up in Wales.

Deadline reports that Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who’s been in talks to board the series as balloonist and adventurer Lee Scoresby, has officially signed on to the project, joining previously-revealed cast members James McAvoy (Lord Asriel) and Clarke Peters (an alternate-universe Oxford University leader). 

Dafne Keen, who held her own opposite Hugh Jackman as Laura (aka X-23) in Logan, was also previously announced as Lyra, the series’ main child character. Her real-life father, Will Keen, will play Father MacPhail, according to Deadline. Ariyon Bakare (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) also had been previously announced as Lord Boreal.

Deadline's report reveals Georgina Campbell (KryptonBlack Mirror), Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless), and Ian Gelder (Games of Thrones) also have joined the His Dark Materials cast, with Campbell playing journalist Adele Starminster; Duff playing “a boat dwelling Gyptian,” and Gelder playing Librarian Scholar Charles. Also revealed were additional cast members Ruth Wilson, James Cosmo, Lucien Msamati, Mat Fraser, Jack Verhoeven, and Benjamin de Ruyter in unnamed roles. 

The His Dark Materials trilogy’s three novels — Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — tell the coming of age story of Lyra and Will, two orphans who move between parallel universes. The mischievous Lyra comes from the other, parallel world; the responsible Will comes from ours. Each child bears a daemon, a physical manifestation of a person's "inner being."

Northern Lights was made into the 2007 film The Golden Compass, but original plans for two sequels never materialized. BBC has been planning the new TV series, reportedly the most expensive British TV drama ever made, since 2015. 

Jack Thorne (Wonder, Skins) is writing the series’ script, and Oscar winner Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) is directing the first two episodes. No release date has been announced for His Dark Materials, so stay tuned.

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