Ahead Of Finale, His Dark Materials Stars Discuss Lyra's Land Of The Dead Reunions And What Viewers May Have Missed With Will

Lyra and Will in His Dark Materials Season 3
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Episodes 5 and 6 of His Dark Materials Season 3, called “No Way Out” and “The Abyss.”

The end is nigh for His Dark Materials, with only a two-parter left before the saga comes to a close. Lyra and Will took a massive risk in parting from their daemons to go down into the land of the dead on a very long shot. After some near-death experiences, a few emotional reunions, an ominous warning, and plenty of tears, the two kids accomplished their goal and freed the dead from the terrible land to go and rejoin the living in a new way. Stars Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson opened up to CinemaBlend about the final episodes (including what fans may not have noticed) before the end comes on December 26.

These two episodes featured the returns of Lin–Manuel Miranda, Andrew Scott, and even Lewin Lloyd after their characters’ deaths, and Lyra and Will freeing their loved ones and so many others set the stage for conflict and growth before the end. So, read on for what the young stars had to say!

His Dark Materials' Roger and Lyra saying goodbye in the land of the dead

(Image credit: HBO)

Did Lyra Actually Get Closure?

Lyra’s top goal all season was finding Roger in the land of the dead and setting him free, after dreaming of him while being drugged by Mrs. Coulter and about a season and a half’s worth of guilt over how he died. She didn’t even know that Lee had died until they crossed paths in the land of the dead, but they had one last adventure together before parting forever. When asked if saying goodbye to Roger and Lee gave Lyra closure or just piled on more hurt for her, Dafne Keen weighed in:

I think it's closure, but I don't think closure means the grief is over. I think it just gives her a sense of peace that the fault has kind of been taken away from her. She's no longer feeling guilty for what happened, which is a huge weight off her shoulders, but I do think she still will miss her only family.

Considering that Lyra grew up thinking that she was an orphan whose only family was a distant (at best) uncle in Asriel, is it any surprise that she sees Lee and Roger as members of her family who were only ever there for her? The time in the land of the dead fulfilled a prophecy and gave her some closure, but didn’t put a stop to her grief. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda in the land of the dead in His Dark Materials

(Image credit: HBO)

What Was It Like To Reunite With Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Readers of Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass had a pretty good idea of how Lee would return in Season 3 (even though EP Dan McCulloch revealed that some “fun extra details” were added for the adaptation), and viewers were treated to him reuniting with Lyra, meeting Will, bringing the Parrys back together, and helping guide the dead to freedom before moving on himself. I don’t want to say that I cried when he mentioned going to be with Hester, but Lyra wasn’t the only one feeling emotional! 

When I spoke with the stars and asked about Miranda’s return, Amir Wilson said that “Lin’s just great” and “like a walking talking jukebox.” Dafne Keen, who shared a lot of screentime with him in Season 1, had more to say: 

[He’s] the loveliest. Lin's like a ray of sunlight, honestly. It was so nice to have him back on set. And we had Lewin [Lloyd] back on set, who's also another ray of sunshine. Slightly more sarcastic, cynical ray of sunshine. [laughs] It was lovely having them all back. It was so fun. It was like a breath of fresh air to have all these familiar faces and people that we loved and that I knew. [Amir] hadn't worked with Lin yet, but we all got really close. We had a really good time.

Two of Lyra’s most important relationships back in Season 1 were with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Lee and Lewin Lloyd’s Roger, so it’s fitting that they got to appear one last time before the final credits roll on the finale. Plus, having Miranda on set as a ray of sunshine might have been particularly nice when filming for the very grim land of the dead!

His Dark Materials' John Parry and Will Parry in the land of the dead press photo

(Image credit: HBO)

What Did Viewers Miss With Will And His Father's Reunion?

Lyra wasn’t the only one to experience a powerful reunion in the land of the dead episodes, as Will got to see his father one last time, with Andrew Scott reprising his role as Jopari, a.k.a. John Parry. Will got a few minutes alone with his dad to get some closure of his own, telling John that he still hadn’t fulfilled his dying wish of taking the subtle knife to Asriel and that he didn’t believe that he was a warrior. Not even Lyra was present to witness the exchange, and it turns out that there’s a good reason why Amir Wilson and Andrew Scott were the only ones featured in the scene. 

Although fans may not have noticed, the young actor was older when he filmed the scene between Will and his dad than he was in the rest of the episode, because the scene was shot months later. When Amir Wilson spoke with CinemaBlend about the episodes at a press day in November, he revealed what wasn’t apparent on screen:

Andrew wasn't available to film whilst we were filming Season 3, and we wrapped in December and I was meant to film with him in January, and he wasn't available to film then as well. So we ended up doing it like two months ago. [laughs] So we filmed that scene and it was fun. Andrew's great. He brings such an energy to set and the scenes I do with him are very intense and often quite emotional. He was very, very supportive of me, was just there for me, and guided me. He was there to give me everything I needed emotionally, for me to get to where I needed to be in those scenes.

Most of the land of the dead may have filmed back in late 2021, but Amir Wilson and Andrew Scott evidently reunited to play father and son well into 2022! It’s no wonder that no other characters interacted with John on screen, and that ultimately didn’t matter. Will speaking to his dad is what was important… and a certain reveal from his dad could be very important in the finale. 

John told his son not to try and live in a world not his own, no matter how tempted he might be, because he wouldn’t survive it. He warned his son not to make the same mistake that he made and stay too long in a world not his own, then mentioned Will reuniting with his mother, which has been a very sensitive subject for Will all along, and contributed to the knife breaking as yet another trauma for him earlier in Season 3

So, Will knows that people can’t live in worlds not their own, but Lyra does not. According to Amir Wilson, it’s also not something that Will will forget. He said:

It's definitely something that will stick with him going forward, and that's kind of like a pivotal moment. It's a very important moment.

Thanks to HBO releasing two episodes each week, viewers will find out the importance of what John told his son sooner rather than later. Considering that the executive producers wanted to delay Season 3 to 2022 so that the subject matter could become more “adult” for Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will, it seems safe to say that the finale will be intense. 

Watch the final two episodes of His Dark Materials on Monday, December 26 starting at 9 p.m. ET on HBO as one of the last big releases of the 2022 TV schedule, and revisit past episodes streaming with an HBO Max subscription. To start planning ahead for television without His Dark Materials, check out our 2023 TV premiere lineup

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).