Don’t cry for Game of Thrones, fantasy fans — HBO’s still got you covered, with an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials debuting later this year, and the stars and producers of the new series stopped by EW’s video studio at San Diego Comic-Con to tease your next obsession.
“Producing this show is one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever done in some ways, the hardest in others,” executive producer Jane Tranter told EW’s Devan Coggan. One of the ways it was easiest? Attracting A-list talent. “We literally just held up the book like magnets,” Tranter said, and her cast was drawn right to them.
For Ruth Wilson, who plays the villainous Marisa Coulter, “I took the job because I loved her description, which was ‘the cesspit of moral filth,’ and ‘the mother of all evil,’” the actress said. “I thought, well, I can’t say no to that.”
For Lin-Manuel Miranda, “the fun of playing Lee Scoresby is that he’s really the Han Solo of this story,” the Mary Poppins Returns star said. “It makes no sense that he exists in the same world with these people, except it makes all the sense in the world that he does.” Miranda, though, would have been happy to be involved even if he didn’t get to play an alternate version of the iconic space smuggler. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll play a dæmon. I’ll play anything to be in this.’”
The dæmons — the living manifestation of every human’s inner self, which takes the shape of an animal of some kind — were brought to life by a combination of puppeteers and CGI. Fans of the novels (and soon-to-be fans of the series) will know what the characters’ dæmons look like, but what about the talent behind the show?
“Mine would be a wolf,” Tranter said without hesitation. “Wolves are amazing creatures and very much misunderstood, and they’re both fierce and protective.” Her fellow EP Jack Thorne followed that he would be a woodpecker. “I am a very anxious person, and I’ve always got something knocking against my head, going, ‘You’ve messed that up!’”
“You know these small tropical monkeys?” asked Logan actress Dafne Keen, who stars as Lyra Belacqua. “You’re monkeyish,” Wilson confirmed. “I am!” Keen said. “Not a golden one, though!”
Wilson fretted throughout the conversation that she had no idea what she would be, but after some consideration, Thorne identified her as a sphinx. And Miranda?
“Do you remember that rat that dragged the pizza down the subway?” the star said. “I think my dæmon can take care of itself, it’s a New Yorker… I think it’s a pizza subway rat. I’m a New York rat.”
For more from the cast of His Dark Materials, check out the video above. And keep checking back for more of EW’s coverage of San Diego Comic-Con all week!