As a fan of His Dark Materials, you may have expected the show to wrap up with its third season. After all, the original trilogy consists of three books, and each season has adapted one of them faithfully.
But did you know that the showrunners had originally envisioned more than three seasons for this epic saga? And that the final episode left the door open for a possible continuation?
In the heartbreaking finale, Lyra and Will said goodbye to each other forever, but a post-credits scene hinted that their story was not over yet:
“Lyra continued her studies at St Sophia’s College in Oxford, where she learned to read the alethiometer again… And that skill would prove invaluable one day, when Lyra and Pan embarked on another great adventure.”
So what does this mean for the future of His Dark Materials on screen? Is there a chance for a fourth season? Or maybe a spinoff? And why was the show canceled in the first place? Here’s everything we know about what’s next for His Dark Materials.
Why His Dark Materials was canceled?
You already know that Philip Pullman’s book trilogy is a perfect fit for a TV trilogy. But did you know that the show’s executive producer Jane Tranter had bigger ambitions for the adaptation?
She told Deadline in 2020 that she wanted to split the third book, The Amber Spyglass, into two seasons. “But we’re doing it in one,” she said. “You can’t always have what you want. The Amber Spyglass is quite right adapted into eight episodes and I will fully and humbly admit I was completely wrong.”
And that’s not all. The Radio Times reported that His Dark Materials could have lasted for up to nine seasons at some point.
“However, that’s probably the wrong thing for an audience,” Tranter said at Edinburgh International TV Festival. “Some would have liked it, but it’s expensive and it’s a season-a-book and that’s that and now it’s finishing.”
Whether you’re satisfied or disappointed with the three-season run, you can appreciate that the show told a complete story this time. Unlike the previous His Dark Materials movie, which left fans hanging and frustrated…
Why won’t there be a His Dark Materials season 4?
The third season of His Dark Materials will conclude the show’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed trilogy, which consists of Northern Lights (season 1), The Subtle Knife (season 2) and The Amber Spyglass (season 3).
However, the show’s creators had originally envisioned a longer run for the series, spanning more than three seasons.
“I wanted to split it in two, but we’re doing it in one,” executive producer Jane Tranter confessed to Deadline in 2020. “You can’t always have what you want. The Amber Spyglass is quite right adapted into eight episodes and I will fully and humbly admit I was completely wrong.”
Tranter’s initial idea was to make up to nine seasons of the show, covering more stories from the rich universe of Pullman’s books.
At a panel at this year’s Edinburgh International TV Festival, Tranter said: “Honestly, I would have told it across nine seasons if I could have done. There are so many stories that we weren’t able to do.”
She added: “I would have slowed this [His Dark Materials] down even more. But unfortunately, that’s probably the wrong thing for an audience – some would have liked it, but it’s expensive and it’s a season-a-book and that’s that and now it’s finishing.”
Although the main trilogy has been fully adapted, there is still a possibility of more adaptations based on the same world, as Pullman has written a prequel/sequel trilogy called The Book of Dust.
Tranter told RadioTimes.com in 2020 that while there were no definite plans to adapt these additional books, she was very interested in doing so.
His Dark Materials: This is how likely a spin-off of the series is
With the end of season 3 of “His Dark Materials”, the storyline of the book trilogy of the same name is complete. However, Philipp Pullmann is still busy producing books that exist in the same universe as the original series. For example, there are two novellas, “Lyra’s Oxford” and “Serpentine”, which take place after “The Amber Telescope”, the third volume in the series.
Philipp Pullmann has also published another trilogy, which builds on the books in the original series and again features Lyra as the main heroine. Under the trilogy title “The Book of Dust”, volume 1 “La Belle Sauvage” was published in 2017, volume 2 “The Secret Commonwealth” was published in 2019 and nothing more is yet known about volume 3. The new books take place before, during and after the plot of the original series.
This means there is more than enough new material for prequel or spin-off series. “His Dark Materials” producer Jane Tranter also sees the potential of “The Book of Dust” trilogy. She would be immediately prepared to turn these books into films. So maybe there is hope for the “His Dark Materials” universe after all. Until then, you can stream all three seasons on, Sky or buy them on Prime Video.