The First Trailer for 'His Dark Materials' is Brief But Exhilarating

James McAboy in the "His Dark Materials" trailer (Photo: BBC/YouTube)
James McAboy in the "His Dark Materials" trailer (Photo: BBC/YouTube)

The BBC dropped the first trailer for its highly anticipated, star-studded television adaptation of Philip Pullman’s bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy over the weekend, and even though its only thirty seconds long and contains no dialogue, it’s still enough to have even the most casual fan of the novels suitably freaked out.

His Dark Materials takes place in a sort of Victorian alternate reality, where science and magic are impeccably entwined, parallel universes exist, humans walk around with soul-bonded animal familiars and there are all manner of fantastical creatures like witches and armored battle bears.

The story follows a young girl named Lyra Belaqua (played by Logan’s Dafne Keene), who must travel to the Arctic to rescue a friend who has been kidnapped by dark forces abducting children for nefarious purposes. Along the way, she learns some family secrets, and learns more about the mysterious elementary particles called Dust.

(Yes, there’s a lot more than this, but that’s kind of as basic as I can get it for the moment.)

Keene is joined by an all-star ensemble that includes Lin-Manuel Miranda as grizzled aeronaut Lee Scoresby, James McAvoy as the broody Lord Asriel, and Ruth Wilson as the glamorous and thoroughly devious Mrs. Coulter. (Who, by the way, is already my pick for best dressed, if the trailer is anything to go by.)

Watch for yourselves below:

Interestingly enough, this teaser shows us not one shot of a daemon – the magical, presumably CGI companion animals bonded to each character – so one has to assume they’re saving all of that for the proper trailer, whenever it drops.

In fact, if you have no idea what His Dark Materials is, this trailer has probably confused the heck out of you, so here’s hoping the next one maybe contains some hint of actual plot. Suffice it to say, it’s a wild, satisfying ride.

His Dark Materials is meant to cover all three of Pullman’s novel – The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – and has already been renewed for a second season. (No one knows just yet if each season is meant to correspond to a particular novel, but that doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.)

There’s no firm release date for this series as yet, though we do know that when it crosses the pond, it’ll be coming to the U.S. via HBO. Given how lavish – read: expensive – the series looks, that’s not terribly surprising.

Are you looking forward to this latest Pullman adaptation? Think it at least looks better than that film version of The Golden Compass with Nicole Kidman? Let’s discuss.