Will there be a season 4 of His Dark Materials? We answer that question and discuss the TV franchise so far.
Dafne Keen’s Lyra and her gang of bear-led outsiders trying to take down an unfair system in a fantasy world are back in December on HBO with the third season of His Dark Materials. Led by an all-star cast that includes Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Amir Wilson, Simone Kirby, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show is an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy of young adult fantasy novels.
How many seasons is His Dark Materials?
There are two seasons released of the series so far that are available to stream on HBO Max. The first one, which is eight episodes long, covered the events of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, also known as The Golden Compass in North America. The second one, of seven episodes, is a direct adaptation of The Subtle Knife. Finally, on Dec. 5, HBO will start airing the third and final season of the show (eight episodes), which will adapt the third novel in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass. Here is the official synopsis for the new season:
“Based on The Amber Spyglass, the final novel in Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy, in the final chapter of this epic fantasy series, Lyra (Dafne Keen), the prophesied child, and Will (Amir Wilson), the bearer of The Subtle Knife, must journey to a dark place from which no one has ever returned. As her father’s great war against the Authority edges closer, they will learn that saving the worlds comes at a terrible price.”
The new season will expand the cast with the addition of Newly added cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Commander Ogunwe; Jamie Ward as Father Gómez; Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Simon Harrison, and Chipo Chung are the rebel angels Balthamos, Baruch and Xaphania, while Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe will play Ama.
Will there be a season 4 of His Dark Materials?
No. The third season was announced back in December 2020, and in a statement, Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President of HBO Programming, described it as the final chapter of Lyra’s journey. While room for spin-offs is always possible, it seems like HBO’s plan from the beginning was to adapt the three novels and be done with it. They likely signed their cast and crew for three seasons, and while the series has been well-received, it’s not like it’s pulled the numbers that would call for another season. The writers were probably tasked with writing a satisfying conclusion to the series, too.
Pullman, however, did write three other novellas following the success of the books. They were Lyra’s Oxford (2003), Once Upon a Time in the North (2008), and Serpentine (2020). A new trilogy set in the same fantasy universe, titled The Book of Dust, is also in the works. The first two installments, La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth, were published in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
Was His Dark Materials canceled?
Obviously, we can’t know for sure, but the most likely answer is that, no, it was not canceled. Instead, it looks like HBO commissioned a three-season show that would adapt Pullman’s trilogy of novels. In other words, the plan from the beginning was likely to be for the series to end after the third installment. If the network was interested, they could probably explore the idea of spin-off series that would dive deep into the rich fantasy world, but the eighth episode of the third season will be the last time we see Dafne Keen play Lyra Belacqua. After all, she’s moved on to better fantasy life now, after she boarded a role in the new Star Wars series The Acolyte.
What do you think of His Dark Materials so far? Do you wish there were more seasons? Let us know in the comments below!