His Dark Materials' future on HBO Max depends on two big factors

Lyra Silvertongue stares up at something off screen in His Dark Materials season 3
There are plenty more His Dark Materials stories to tell. (Image credit: HBO/BBC)

His Dark Materials season 3 may conclude HBO's TV adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy, but it's unlikely to the last HBO adaption of the author's work, according to one of the show's executive producers.

Speaking exclusively to TechRadar ahead of the HBO Max series' return, Jane Tranter revealed that its creative team wanted to adapt other stories in the His Dark Materials' universe. 

However, she added that future installments in the franchise wouldn't come in the traditional form of a fourth season, or even wholly original content. Instead, Tranter wants to bring more of author Philip Pullman's works to life on the small screen – including The Book of Dust, Pullman's sequel series to the His Dark Materials book trilogy.

"I have made no secret of that," Tranter said when asked if she'd like to adapt more of Pullman's novels. "I'd absolutely love us to do The Book of Dust. We've talked to Philip about it and we're really keen to do it. [Showrunner] Jack Thorne has made no secret of wanting to adapt Once Upon a Time in the North as well, the origin story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison. We'd love to keep those conversations going – we don't want to stop."

Will walks through a woodland searching for Lyra in His Dark Materials season 3

Will's journey won't continue after His Dark Materials season 3 (Image credit: HBO)

Of course, bringing Dafne Keen and Lin-Manuel Miranda back as Lyra Silvertongue and Lee Scoresby – for The Book of Dust and Once Upon a Time in the North respectively – to star in these potential projects depends on their availability.

Keen has started filming a new Star Wars TV show, The Acolyte, for Disney Plus, which Keen has described as being about "how the Sith infiltrate the Jedi order". Meanwhile, Miranda was recently cast as Hermes in Disney's Percy Jackson and the Olympians TV show, which has been shooting since June.

Other factors will also play a role in determining whether more His Dark Materials stories are converted into live-action series, according to Tranter.

"We do need Philip to finish writing them [The Book of Dust novels]," she explained. "And we need season three to be as successful as it needs to be for everyone to think 'Yes, we want to see Lyra's journey continue' or 'Yes, we want to see the origins of Lyra's journey.'"

Since The Amber Spyglass – the final book in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy – was released in October 2000, the award-winning author has written multiple spin-offs that could be adapted into their own show or TV special. Alternatively, some of Pullman's short stories or novellas, such as Lyra's Oxford, could be folded into a series based on The Book of Dust's plot. There are plenty of His Dark Materials books, then, that are ripe for adaptation.

As Tranter noted, though, much will depend on the success of His Dark Materials season 3. The first two seasons were received positively by fans and critics alike, although they weren't without their faults. His Dark Materials season 3 follows a similar trajectory; in our review, we called the TV show's third chapter a "fairly entertaining if somewhat disappointing final entry", whose "wonderful fan service-y moments are balanced out by some wildly inconsistent creative decisions".

So it's also up to general viewers and diehard His Dark Materials fans to decide whether more of Pullman's seminal works will transition from the page to the screen.

For more HBO Max-related content, check out the best HBO Max shows and best HBO Max movies.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

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