James McAvoy in ‘His Dark Materials’ Trailer

Two Narnia alumni appear in the trailer for His Dark Materials: James McAvoy (Tumnus) and James Cosmo (Father Christmas). Season 1 releases later this year on HBO and BBC One.

McAvoy plays Lord Asriel while Cosmo plays Farder Coram. Those characters were played by Daniel Craig and Tom Courtenay in the 2007 film, The Golden Compass.

The television series is an adaptation of fantasy novels by Phillip Pullman.

14 Responses

  1. JFG II says:

    As a non-reader of Phillip Pullman, this trailer of HDM is sort of what I expected: It’s HDM: the DARK anti-Narnia; like the 2007 movie trailer. Only better acted and better directed this time. Interesting though.

  2. narnia fan 7 says:

    Purely from a production value stand point, this doesn’t look half bad. Makes me feel a little bit better about a potential Narnia series on Netflix.

  3. Larry W. says:

    Someone gave me a copy of The Golden Compass for me to read years ago. After reading the first two chapters I was completely turned off by the book and its “daemon”. Then I read about Pullman’s criticism of C.S. Lewis, and I didn’t want to read anything else by him. I guess there are plenty of people who like him, but I don’t have any desire to read his Dark Materials. They seem too dark for me. I don’t know how Lewis would react to Pullman if he were living today. Maybe he would say to him, “I used to be an atheist too, but I found a better way.” Or perhaps he wasn’t bothered too much by harsh criticism of his work by other authors. I don’t remember that he said very much about Tolkien’s criticism of Narnia.

  4. icarus says:

    I recall, back in 2007, when both The Golden Compass and Prince Caspian were heading towards big screen releases at Christmas of that year, both seeking to become the “Next Lord of the Rings”, and everyone here was fearful of what it meant for the box office potential if the two should clash…. so then Prince Caspian was pushed back to May, and yet as it turned out, despite the date change, both movies underperformed anyway, killing off both franchises pretty much right there and then. Part of me wonders whether both series would have been better off going head-to-head in the Christmas slot. Perhaps a bit of a rivalry would have driven a mutually beneficial publicity storm.

    Funny how things turn out though… Now here we are, 12 years later, and we are set to go head-to-head again in the prestige TV category, both seeking to become the “Next Game of Thrones”. Hopefully things work out better this time, for both series.

    • Christopher says:

      I hate to burst everyone’s bubble on Prince Caspian’s “failure”, but that ultimately depends on what part of the world a person was in when the movie came out. As far as my hometown was concerned, Prince Caspian was a rip-roaring success. The theatre I attended for the midnight premiere was EVERY BIT a madhouse as a Harry Potter premiere – all of which I attended. There were about 3 people in the auditorium that night who were literally watching their DVDs of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on portable DVD players from their seats for the 2 1/2 hours I had to wait before the curtains even rose and the previews started.

      Unfortunately, the film projector broke down when it reached the point where Reepicheep received his new tail – everyone received a free re-admission ticket to come back and see it the following day, and from my visual recollections, just about everyone in the auditorium did indeed come back, and the entire auditorium applauded when the movie ended.

      If the general consensus was that the Narnia franchise was “killed off then and there”, it certainly did not show with Prince Caspian in the places I saw the film, and I eventually went back and saw it 2 additional times after opening day. Most everyone I talked to over the next year loved the movie and adored Reepicheep, and bought the DVD.

      In all fairness, it was the massive budget cut The Voyage of the Dawn Treader received, coupled with the lack of cohesiveness in the film’s execution of the story that killed the franchise: Fox used very poor judgment. They became so concerned about saving money that I think Fox betrayed their own intentions in doing the budget cut – the drastic reduction in budget and the change in director virtually alienated many Narnia fans, most of which made up the movie’s target audience. That isn’t to say I didn’t like the film, but it took me longer to warm up to it.

      • HermitoftheNorthernMarch says:

        Where I live – the central United States – Prince Caspian did not have the advertising that LWW had had. For LWW, there was a display in the Disney story at the mall, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, and ads on tv stations. There was also quite a lot of talk about C.S. Lewis at church and on Christian radio stations, and there were many books and the selling of anything related to Narnia at Lifeway and Mardel Christian bookstores.
        For Prince Caspian, the local Disney store did hand out Narnia trading cards if you asked – but I only knew to ask because of Narniaweb. They also had a free Disney calendar that had a picture of Miraz’s castle on the month of May. There were displays at the Christian bookstores, however they were not as large.
        Dawn Treader was barely advertised at all compared to the others.
        I don’t think it was the change in director that was the mistake that hurt Dawn Treader, although I do think Andrew Adamson seemed to understand Narnia better in interviews I’ve read. I think it was a combination of factors.

      • Christopher says:

        Trading cards? Huh . . . I went for the limited edition Reepicheep statue from Weta Collectibles back in 2012, to compliment my 4-Disc Extended Edition Bookends Gift Set of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I even have one of the “WHY HAS EVERYTHING CHANGED?” Prince Caspian gospel tracts inside a clear, plastic VHS case for my tape-recording of Prince Caspian: The Extended Edition which aired a few times on ABC Family, which I keep next to my 3-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD of the movie. I also have a mint sealed Prince Caspian movie lithograph-style poster that I bought at a dollar store while on vacation, which I display behind Reepicheep.

        Funny how in a very literal sense, for fans who really, REALLY wanted their Prince Caspian collection to match what was handed to them on a silver platter for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it was technically possible to go ahead and do so, but they literally had to go out of their way to do it.

        As for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, only 2 fancy things exist for it: the 3-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Explorer Pack, and the 2-Disc DVD Explorer Pack. I bought both. I have seen internet photos of an apparently very rare Dawn Treader Collectible (a something-odd fraction-scale model), though.

      • icarus says:

        Regardless of audience reaction or personal opinion, i don’t think Prince Caspian can be considered anything other than a failure. It made 419m of a 225m budget. Poor numbers by any industry standard. Disney dropped its plans for the remaining 5 movies as a result of those numbers, simple as that.

    • Christopher says:

      Bit of trivia: I don’t remember where I read it, but I thought I read somewhere that in terms of box office, the Narnia movies’ financial performance was very similar to the way their 1st edition book counterparts sold at the time they were first released when C.S. Lewis was still alive: Meaning The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe sold more copies than Prince Caspian, and Prince Caspian sold more copies than The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1st editions only). I forgot the rest of the article, and I don’t know how reliable said article was, but I do remember reading it, and it was essentially saying history repeated itself. . . more or less.

      • JFG II says:

        Agreed, and if the Narnia movies had been all made with comparable success to the books, LWW would have made 2 billion dollars worldwide, while all six later movies would have made less than 200 million dollars worldwide each. Yeah.

      • Christopher says:

        By the way, I’ve noticed much to my surprise that there seems to be no page anywhere on NarniaWeb that talks about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Signature Edition.

        It’s a 1-volume chronological edition of all 7 stories, and it was made in a similar style to the green leather-bound book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the black 50th Anniversary Signature Edition book of The Lord of the Rings, and the U.S. 1st Edition copies of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter: Years 1-7.

        It includes a fold-out map, as well as an 8th section called “Excerpts from Beyond the Wardrobe: The Official Guide to Narnia”, and has a character glossary, as well as a quick 1-page overview index of all 3 known (and oft debatable) orders: 1) Publication 2) Writing, 3) Chronological.

    • Christopher says:

      Just curious about something: I have just read 11 entire chapters of the book Prince Caspian . . . and I am utterly flabbergasted that:

      1) Eleven. Entire. Chapters . . . and the Pevensies STILL have not met Prince Caspian.

      2) Eleven. Entire. Chapters . . . and there have been ZERO battles with the Telmarines. We didn’t even get to see what was fully happening with the Telmarine army. Just a lot of trapsing through the woods.

      3) Eleven. Entire. Chapters . . . and there is no General Glozelle or Lord Sopespian present in the story.

      4) Eleven. Entire. Chapters . . . and both Reepicheep and Miraz have hardly had a role to play at all.

      5) Eleven. Entire. Chapters . . . and no message Miraz reads that says: “YOU WERE RIGHT TO FEAR THE WOODS X”, followed by him concluding that his nephew Caspian is the “instigator” in the savage uprising.

      With each and every chapter I’ve read in Prince Caspian, I’ve become more and more impressed with how Andrew Adamson did the movie. In my opinion, he literally saved the reputation and integrity of the entire story of Prince Caspian as a whole. If the movie had been like the book, this would have been the most uneventful slog of a film ever.

      The book version is actually a big “yawn”, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve only 4 chapters to go, and so far, nothing has happened. There are several things I’ve read that made me realize that the only reason I’ve been able to follow and understand what’s been going at all in the story, and why, is because of the Prince Caspian movie.

  5. Monty Jose says:

    Honestly the only reasons I find this remotely interesting is because of McAvoy. Otherwise, it looks pretty basic. I never read the books and perhaps if I knew the story I’d get more excited, but as it stands, it has little lure for me.

  6. Waggawerewolf27 says:

    Here are a few other things you may find fairly basic. Remember Sophie Winkelman, the actress who played a grown up Susan in the Disney film, Chronicles of Narnia, LWW? She is currently married to Lord Frederick Windsor & they have two daughters, both of whom were bridesmaids for Lady Gabriella Windsor. At her sister-in -law’s May 18th wedding, Sophie Winkelman not only organised the all the pages & flower girls, but also sang one of the songs from that film for the Queen who was at the St George’s chapel wedding. Another item of news is somewhat sadder. Stephen Thorne, who played Aslan in the animated cartoon version of LWW, and also in the BBC’s Narnia audio dramas, has recently passed away.