James McAvoy To Lead His Dark Materials TV Series

James McAvoy X Men
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Silver screen regular James McAvoy has signed on to star in a new TV series for the BBC, and it is a fantasy. No, really, it is a fantasy series. McAvoy will lead His Dark Materials, a television adaptation of Philip Pullman's book trilogy. The story chronicles a pair of kids, Lyra and Will, as they adventure through a succession of parallel universes. So who is James McAvoy playing? Here is what you need to know.

James McAvoy has signed on to star as the orphaned Lyra's biological father, Lord Asriel, per Deadline. Logan's Dafne Keen will star as Lyra. Keen played Laura, a.k.a X-23, in the blockbuster. Incidentally, McAvoy plays Professor X in the X-Men prequel movie franchise. He joins a cast that includes Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby and fellow new addition Clarke Peters. Peters will play the master who raises Lyra.

If the characters sound familiar even though you've never read the novels, that is because this His Dark Materials series is not the first time Philip Pullman's novels have been translated to the screen. The 2007 film The Golden Compass was an adaptation of the first novel in the trilogy, Northern Lights/The Golden Compass. Daniel Craig played James McAvoy's role in the movie, which also featured The Good Doctor's Freddie Highmore, Nicole Kidman, and Penny Dreadful's Eva Green. While there was potential for a franchise film trilogy, a sequel to the movie never materialized.

James McAvoy will begin filming on His Dark Materials later in June. The BBC series will be comprised of eight episodes. It is yet another role for the busy and in-demand thespian. Like many actors, he is taking on a television role amidst a thriving film career. In fact, McAvoy currently has two sequels in the pipeline. The first is Glass, which is the follow-up to his hit movie Split. The other is the sequel to It, wherein McAvoy was revealed to be in talks to play the adult Bill.

His Dark Materials is set to arrive on BBC One. Its U.S. distribution destination is yet to be settled. Netflix and Apple are both in the running. Given Amazon's relationship with BBC, it is surprising they would not also be in the running. Time will tell which platform ends up with the prize. His Dark Materials is set to be a huge event series. The series' BBC One premiere date has yet to be announced, so stay tuned.

If you want to see James McAvoy before His Dark Materials, you can catch him in a brief role as a Sergeant in the BBC's Lorna Doone adaptation, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. For new upcoming and returning television shows on the horizon, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres. If you are curious about shows that are streaming, CinemaBlend has you covered with our 2018 Netflix premiere rundown as well as our guide to Amazon Prime's premiere schedule.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.