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His Dark Materials Season 3 release date, cast, plot details, and more

The BBC and HBO Max have brought Philip Pullman's fantasy series to life, so here's everything worth knowing about the His Dark Materials season 3 release date

His Dark Materials season 3 release date: James McAvoy as Lord Asriel

When is the His Dark Materials season 3 release date? When 2007’s The Golden Compass attempted to adapt Northern Lights, the first novel in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, it was a huge disappointment. The fantasy movie was met with poor reviews and a disappointing box office haul. Thankfully more than a decade later, BBC and HBO have finally done the franchise justice with a wonderful TV series.

His Dark Materials seasons 1 and 2 adapted Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife, and see Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) go on an adventure that takes her into alternate universes with her ever-faithful daemon, Pan. The main universe is ruled by a religious government called the Magisterium, which wants to wipe out a bizarre substance called Dust.

Season 2 of the fantasy series ended dramatically, though, with Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) drugging and kidnapping Lyra, promising to keep her safe from a prophecy that would see her become the new Eve (yes, that Adam and Eve). Coulter believes she’s preventing an apocalypse, oh dear. Fans are understandably desperate to find out what’s in store for Lyra. Well here’s everything we know about the His Dark Materials Season 3 release date.

His Dark Materials Season 3 release date

We have good news if you live in the US, as His Dark Materials season 3 has been confirmed to air on HBO and HBO Max from Monday, 5th December through to Monday, 26th December. All eight episodes will drop on December 18 on BBC iPlayer. 

We can’t be sure, but with time running out on the year, we would assume a pretty similar release schedule to the one being used in the US. We will keep an eye out for confirmation of this.

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Work started on His Dark Materials Season 3 back in 2021 in Wales (via RadioTimes.com) as executive producer Jane Tranter explained, “The Amber Spyglass is the most gloriously complex of Philip Pullman’s novels to adapt for TV, but with our world-class creative team in Cardiff, no challenge is too daunting.”

She also added, “This season is both an epic adventure and a story about love and truth. Jack, Francesca and Amelia’s scripts capture the brilliance of Philip’s worlds, and we are joined by our much-loved existing cast and some exceptional talent new to the series.”

So strap in because it’s going to be an epic war for the fate of reality itself.

His Dark Materials season 3 release date: Lyra

His Dark Materials Season 3 trailer

There is a trailer for His Dark Materials, and you can watch it right here. The footage was first screened at New York Comic Con 2022 and offers a glimpse of James McAvoy’s Lord Asriel building his army.

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We also see the witch Serafina Pekkala (Ruta Gedmintas) and we meet a new character, Commander Ogunwe (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who will be the leader of Asriel’s military forces.

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“I am gathering the greatest from every world to help me wage war,” you can hear Asriel say in the trailer. “They are but one arm of the beast. We cut off the head and the rest will crumble.” Sounds like some epic action is about to go down!

His Dark Materials season 3 release date: Ms Coulter

His Dark Materials Season 3 plot speculation

His Dark Materials Season 3 is based on the third and final book in Pullman’s trilogy, The Amber Spyglass. The Magisterium hunts Lyra because the theocracy has decided she has to die, so humanity doesn’t fall and recreate Adam and Eve’s original sin.

That’s all against the grand backdrop of the battle between Asriel’s army and the forces of heaven, so there’s plenty at stake here. That’s all without mentioning that Lyra and Will Parry travel to the World of the Dead to find Roger – which is most likely what the Season 2 post-credits scene was hinting at.

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The book also explores the history of the angels, explaining how they became so powerful in the first place. Obviously, we won’t reveal how it all ends – although the book has been on the shelves for 20 years… But it’s safe to say that there will be some tears by the time the finale comes to a close.

When speaking to the One Show about the final season, James McAvoy teased the war on the horizon. “What can I tell you? It’s war,” McAvoy told The One Show. “At the end of the second season we sort of declare war on the Kingdom of Heaven, so yeah, it gets pretty down and dirty, and there’s gonna be a lot of fisticuffs and a lot of explosions and all that stuff. But at its heart it’s about a wee girl and a wee boy… and not the adults with the egos.”

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Although Phillip Pullman has written a prequel trilogy titled The Book of Dust, which could easily be made into a follow-up series if BBC and HBO want to carry it on. The series expands the universe and even picks up with a 20-year-old Lyra in the second book. So maybe Dafne Keen will come back for more; who knows?

His Dark Materials season 3 release date: Asriel Belacqua

His Dark Materials Season 3 cast speculation

As His Dark Materials Season 3 wraps up this multiversal story, it’s all hands on deck. Leading the series once again is Logan star Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, and she’s joined by Amir Wilson as Will Parry.

Of course, the inimitable Ruth Wilson is reprising her role as Mrs. Coulter alongside James McAvoy’s Asriel Belacqua, and it’ll be interesting to see how their dynamic changes in the final season. Simone Kirby is also coming back to play Dr Mary Malone, as is Will Keen as Cardinal MacPhail.

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Don’t worry, the iconic witch queen Serafina Pekkala is also coming back to Season 3, with Ruta Gedmintas returning to the role. But to answer the question you’ve all been waiting for, yes, Joe Tandberg is returning as the voice and motion-capture performer behind Iorek Byrnison! The polar bear warrior is back, if he dies, we riot.

But there’s a cohort of new actors coming to the show, including LOST and Game of Thrones alum Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Commander Ogunwe, Amber Fitzgerald-Woolf as Ama, and Jamie Ward as Father Gomez. Meanwhile, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Simon Harrison and Chipo Chung are playing three rebellious angels: Balthamos, Baruch and Xaphania.

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Surprisingly, Fleabag star Sian Clifford is set to play Agent Salmakia alongside Jonathan Aris’ Commander Roke – and they’re a pair of Gallivespian spies. What makes them interesting is that they’re tiny humanoids – so that’ll make for some interesting screentime, that’s for sure.

If you want more small screen action like this, check out our guide to the Stranger Things season 5 release date.