Why His Dark Materials Keeping A Major Element Of The Book Out Of The Trailer Is Good For Season 3

Simone Kirby as Mary Malone in His Dark Materials Season 3
(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: spoilers ahead for Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass novel. 

His Dark Materials will return to HBO for the third and final season in just over a month, as the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass. Readers have a pretty good idea of the big highs and lows that are likely on the way with Season 3, and the full trailer shed some light on the fallout from how Season 2 ended. While the footage provides a first look at the angels, the harpies, and even the Gallivespians, His Dark Materials is seemingly hiding the mulefa from sneak peeks. And that may be great for Season 3! 

Unlike the angels, harpies, and Gallivespians, the mulefa aren’t key to the majority of Lyra and WIll’s storylines, but are essential to Mary Malone’s. She spends a lot of time with them when she travels to their world, and Philip Pullman devotes a lot of pages in The Amber Spyglass to developing them. After the Season 2 finale aired, I counted them on my list of book elements that better not be cut from Season 3, and I doubt that I’m the only one who wants to see what this species actually looks like.

After all, Philip Pullman gave them a description so unconventional that the mulefa almost defy imagination. In The Amber Spyglass, Mary Malone describes them as “gray-colored, with horned heads and short trunks like elephants.” Then the details get a lot wilder with the reveal that they “had the same diamond-shaped structure” as other creatures in that world, but “somehow they had evolved, on their front and rear single legs, a wheel.”

The book goes into more detail about what this sentient species (with wheels!) looks like, but with no adaptations of The Amber Spyglass to this point, it’s anybody’s guess what the mulefa actually look like. As somebody who has been spoiled rotten on the HBO show by virtue of reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, I’m perfectly fine with the reveal of the mulefa waiting until the episodes actually air. We don’t need everything spoiled ahead of time, especially when there are only so many secrets for book readers. We know they're coming, so we can wait to see the specifics.

Plus, the appearance of the mulefa in a trailer might be a bit of a shock to the system for non-readers, especially without the context of where they are and how Mary Malone encounters them. It’s a good thing for both readers and fans of just the show to wait for a look at this unique species. The trailer is packed with plenty of other moments to dissect without seeing the mulefa yet, beyond what appears to be a tiny peek at the world at around 1:27 below: 

Fortunately, the wait to see the mulefa (and all of the others who will make the jump from page to screen with the adaptation of The Amber Spyglass) is nearly over. Season 3 of His Dark Materials will debut on Monday, December 5 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, nearly two years to the date since the second season concluded. Two episodes will release every Monday until the series finale on December 26. You can also spend the last few weeks of hiatus revisiting the first two seasons streaming with an HBO Max subscription.

Of course, even readers can’t be positive that everything from the book will happen on screen, and what changes will be made. After all, Season 2 killed off John Parry as expected, but not for the reason that he died in The Subtle Knife, and His Dark Materials will undoubtedly need to make some cuts to fit The Amber Spyglass into just eight episodes of television. For more clues of what to expect, check out some quick things we know about Season 3

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).