Warning: contains spoilers for His Dark Materials season two.
It’s time to return to Philip Pullman’s fantasy world of dust, daemons and Asriel’s quest to free the worlds from religious tyranny. His Dark Materials is back for its third and final season, to tell the story of The Amber Spyglass. US viewers will be able to watch the season in double-bill instalments on HBO between Monday the 5th and 26th of December, while in the UK, all episodes will be available to stream on BBC iPlayer on Sunday the 18th of December, as well as airing on BBC One.
The last time we saw Lyra on screen in December 2020, she was under threat from the Magisterium who had learned of the Eve prophecy. Will had lost his father Jopari, and Lee Scoresby had gone out a hero in a season finale dramatic shoot-out. After a season’s absence, Lord Asriel showed up and revealed that he’d been making alliances in preparation for the final battle. Enter: the Angels.
In season three, also enter: the Mulefa, a new fantasy race never seen before on screen, and a host of new characters to close down this imaginative story – some human, some… not. Find out who they are and who’s playing them below.
Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe as Ama
Ama, the young girl from a Himalayan village who forms part of Mrs Coulter and Lyra’s early story in The Amber Spyglass, has had her nationality tweaked and is played in the TV series by Amber Fitzgerald-Woolfe, a young deaf British actor who speaks British Sign Language in season three’s opening episode. Actor Amber is one of four children in the deaf Fitzgerald-Woolfe family, all of whom speak BSL along with their parents Ramon and Louise. Find out more about them here.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Simon Harrison as Balthamos and Baruch
Rebel Angel couple Balthamos and Baruch were originally going to be introduced in the season two finale, but the characters’ introduction was pushed to the season three opener. That’s when they approach Will to try to recruit his Subtle Knife for Lord Asriel’s army. Despite an unsubstantiated report by CBR previously naming two other actors in the roles, they’re played by The Split‘s Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Endeavour‘s Simon (grandson of Rex) Harrison. Holdbrook-Smith has a great many screen credits under his belt, including appearances in Paddington 2, Motherland and 2017’s Justice League. Simon Harrison played crook DCI Ronnie Box in Endeavour season five, and has appeared in Grantchester and This Is Going to Hurt.
Chipo Chung as Xaphania
Sophie Okonedo originally voiced the unseen role of Xaphania in season two, but the Covid-19 filming delays caused a schedule clash with her role on The Wheel of Time‘s second season and so His Dark Materials welcomes Chipo Chung to the part. Xaphania is the leader of the rebel Angels fighting alongside Lord Asriel against the tyrannical Authority. Chung played The Master in martial arts drama Into the Badlands, appeared in Channel 4 drama Chimerica and has voiced several parts for children’s television.
Jamie Ward as Father Gomez
The villainous Father Gomez is a young priest and member of the Consistorial Court of Discipline. He’s singled out by court leader Father President MacPhail because of his intense zealotry and selected to perform a terrible task. In season three, he’s played by Jamie Ward, who’s appeared in FX crime drama Tyrant, BBC crime mystery The Pact and ITV’s The Durrells.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Commander Ogunwe
An African king in Philip Pullman’s novels, turned military commander for this TV adaptation, Ogunwe is approached by Lord Asriel who wants to recruit him and his fighters in the war against the Authority. He’s played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who recently appeared opposite Liam Neeson in Neil Jordan’s retro crime thriller Marlowe, played Sevvy in US legal drama The Fix, and wrote and directed autobiographically inspired 2018 feature film Farming.
Jonathan Aris as Commander Roke
A lovely bit of casting, this – Sherlock, Avenue 5 and The End of the F***ing World‘s Jonathan Aris plays Roke in season three. A Gallivespian (tiny winged humanoid from one of the many worlds Lord Asriel visits on his anti-Authority recruitment drive), Lord Roke – as he’s styled in the books – is a spy captain who works for Asriel and proves extremely useful when it comes to infiltrating the Magisterium’s campaign against Lyra. Roke is joined by…
Sian Clifford as Agent Salmakia
Another spy fighting on Asriel’s side against the Magisterium and its many iterations across the worlds, Salmakia is also a Gallivespian (see Roke above). She’s played by the excellent Sian Clifford, who’s best recognised for having played sister Claire in Fleabag, but has since appeared in a great many screen dramas including Quiz, The Suspect, Life After Life and Inside No. 9.
Wade Briggs as Archangel Alarbus
Australian actor Wade Briggs plays Alarbus, a brand new character invented for the TV adaptation who’s there to help explain the world of the Kingdom of Heaven. Alarbus is an Angel, like rebels Xaphania, Balthamos and Baruch, but as an Archangel, he stands for the Authority and his regent, so is on the opposite side of the celestial war to Asriel and co. Wade Briggs has appeared in a number of Australian TV shows, including Home & Away and Please Like Me, and was recently seen in Apple TV+ sci-fi Foundation.
Victoria Hamilton as Stelmaria
The voice of Lord Asriel’s snow leopard daemon Stelmaria is performed by British actor Victoria Hamilton in season three. Hamilton is best known on screen for playing the role of the Queen Mother in The Crown, and appearing in BBC domestic thriller Doctor Foster and Sky’s political thriller Cobra. Previously, Stelmaria was voiced by actor Helen McCrory, who was well-loved for her popular roles as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders and Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, as well as a great many stage and screen parts.
ALSO JOINING THE CAST
Newcomer Lauren Grace and Sorcha Groundsell (The Innocents, Shetland) as Jopesh and Maddy, two young women from the same world as Commander Ugunwe who have suffered under the oppression of ‘The Temple’ – their world’s iteration of The Magisterium.
Dafne Keen as Lyra Silvertongue, Amir Wilson as Will Parry, Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Will Keen as Father President Macphail, Simone Kirby as Mary Malone, Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow, Joe Tandberg as Iorek Byrnison, Jade Anouka as Ruta Skadi, Heartstopper‘s Kit Connor as Pantalaiman, Frank Bourke as Fra Pavel.
His Dark Materials Season 3 arrives on Monday the 5th of December on HBO in the US, and on Sunday the 18th of December on BBC iPlayer and BBC One in the UK.