‘The Golden Compass’ Series: What We Know About the BBC Reboot

The Hollywood reboot machine has been well-documented over the last decade. Virtually every beloved property from the last 30 years has gotten reworked into a movie franchise or TV series, leaving few (if any) stones unturned in the process. One such stone Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials saga, last seen disappointing us with the subpar Golden Compass adaptation back in 2007. Soon though, it’ll finally get a well-deserved reboot, coming in the form of a planned TV series.

The series promises to be the perfect medium for Pullman’s rich story. It’ll fall under the umbrella of a well-funded operation, boasting a dependable reputation in fantasy and sci-fi across multiple projects. And while production hasn’t yet ramped up, we have tons of details on what’s to come. The bar set by the 2007 movie is decidedly low, making it that much easier for this particular project to exceed expectations. Even so, early rumors tell us we won’t have to temper our hopes all that much.

1. The series kicks off with an eight-episode run on BBC One, with plans for multiple seasons

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass | Source: New Line Cinemas

There aren’t many networks that could handle a story like this one, and BBC One numbers itself among this group. The plan right now is to run a total of five seasons with eight episodes in each one. That leaves plenty of time to cover all three novels in the original series. The likely plan will involve dividing the first installment (The Northern Lights) and the last one (The Amber Spyglass) into two parts each, with the shorter middle book getting its own single season.

2. Bad Wolf Productions will head up the project

Bad Wolf Productions

Source: Bad Wolf Productions

A TV series is only as good as its creative team, and this one is as good as it gets. Bad Wolf Productions, known for spearheading BBC’s Doctor Who reboot, will be in charge, headed up by execs Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner. Since the duo helped bring back Doctor Who, they’ve also been involved with the spin-off Torchwood series, as well as Starz’s Da Vinci‘s Demons. Their resumé speaks for itself, as two creative minds who possess a careful touch when it comes to time-honored sci-fi and fantasy franchises.

3. Author Phillip Pullman is signed on as a producer

Philip Pullman, screenplay writer of The

Philip Pullman | Shaun Curry/Getty Images

One person who was notably absent from the creative process for The Golden Compass in 2007: original author Phillip Pullman. BBC will avoid New Line Cinema’s mistake this time around, signing Pullman on as a producer, giving him a much more involved role in the reboot. It stands to reason that the man who created the story in the first place should be an integral part of the conception and creation of any adaptation. With that in mind, it’s refreshing to see Pullman not only being directly involved, but also actively endorsing the series. He isn’t going to simply be a name-brand figurehead either; already he’s been responsible for picking the show’s lead writer.

4. The Cursed Child and Skins writer Jack Thorne has signed on

Jack Thorne - The Guardian

Jack Thorne | Source: The Guardian

So we have the production outfit, the network, and the producers all lined up. The next step was getting a talented writer on board, and the series did just that in bringing Jack Thorne on board. Thorne is most known for his work on the British drama Skins, as well as writing the stage play for J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter story, The Cursed Child. Needless to say, he’s a creative force in high demand, and represents a solid get for His Dark Materials. News of the announcement was broken by Phillip Pullman himself, calling Thorne “a writer of formidable energy and range” in a statement to Deadline

Stay tuned for more information on the series as it rolls in!

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