His Dark Materials producer teases James McAvoy’s return in season 3

Photo: James McAvoy in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO
Photo: James McAvoy in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO /

The third and final season of His Dark Materials is slated to air on HBO later this year, and already its stars and producers are out whetting viewers’ appetites. Based on the monumental book series of the same name by Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials is a world-hopping fantasy story that follows precocious orphan Lyra Belacqua, her daemon (shape shifting animal companion-who-is-really-her-soul) Pantalaimon, and their friend Will Parry as they navigate an interdimensional conflict where free will itself is on the line.

One prominent character who did not feature much in the second season of the show is Lord Asriel, played by James McAvoy. Asriel isn’t really in The Subtle Knife, the book which season 2 was based on, but after the cliffhanger ending of the first season where he sacrificed one of Lyra’s friends in order to open a doorway to other worlds, it was only a matter of time until the character returned. Originally, McAvoy and Asriel were planned to have a whole episode of season 2 dedicated to them. But then the pandemic happened, and McAvoy’s episode had to be cut.

Photo: James McAvoy in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO
Photo: James McAvoy in His Dark Materials: Season 1.. Image Courtesy of HBO /

James McAvoy’s return was a “real boost” for His Dark Materials season 3

According to producer Jane Tranter, getting McAvoy back for season 3 created a lot of excitement for the production. “It was amazing to get James back,” she said at the Radio Times Covers Party“As you know, on season 2, we had an episode with James McAvoy that was abandoned because of the pandemic. We were literally a few hours into filming it and it got cancelled, so to have him back for season 3…”

"James McAvoy is like a hot knife through butter. And to have Lord Asriel and James McAvoy back was a real boost for the third season."

Readers familiar with Pullman’s books will know that that Asriel plays a significant part in the third His Dark Materials novel, The Amber Spyglass. The character appeared for only a single scene at the end of the show’s second season, which revealed that Asriel was conferring with a rebellious faction of angels, seemingly with the goal of challenging the divine Authority itself. Suffice it to say, that conflict will be moving to the forefront in season 3.

Amir Wilson, who plays Will Parry on the show, also spoke a bit about what it was like to work with McAvoy. “Well, Lord Asriel and Will don’t actually cross paths in the show,” he said. “But I met James – he’s a nice guy. I met him at unit base. I was kind of taken aback because I’d seen a lot of his work. I’m a big fan!”

McAvoy is arguably the most famous actor attached to the series, and while he’s served primarily as a periodic guest star thus far, it’s exciting to think about what he could bring as a featured player.

Based on a statement made by Mrs. Coulter actor Ruth Wilson, His Dark Materials season 3 is expected to air in November of 2022. No official release date announcement has yet been made, though, so we’re keeping an ear to the ground. In the meantime, His Dark Materials seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream on HBO Max.

Next. His Dark Materials season 3 is “a lot darker, a lot sadder”. dark

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