BBC Wolf Hall team to reunite for Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, final book of Cromwell Trilogy

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The team behind the BBC’s Bafta-winning Wolf Hall series are reuniting to adapt the final book of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

First released in 2015, the historical miniseries saw Mark Rylance starring as Cromwell alongside Damian Lewis as the sinister King Henry VIII. The series, co-produced by PBS debuted to critical acclaim, earning Rylance a Bafta.

While the series was based on the first two books of Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy (Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies), the late author released a third instalment in 2020, titled The Mirror and the Light. The books of Mantel’s trilogy are considered by many to be some of the greatest books of the 21st century.

On Monday (20 November), the BBC announced that Wolf Hall was returning to the screens for an adaptation of the final book of Mantel’s series, 2020’s The Mirror and the Light. The news comes one year after the author died in September 2022, aged 70.

As with Mantel’s book, Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light picks up in May 1536, following the death of Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn by beheading. While Henry marries his third queen, Jane Seymour, Cromwell continues his climb to power and wealth, aware that nobody is safe in a world where the king will execute his own wife.

Meanwhile, Henry has become happy with Seymour but his regime is also going towards “breaking point”. “The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry’s cruel and capricious gaze?” the series reads.

The series follows the final four years of Cromwell’s life, with Rylance and Lewis returning as Cromwell and Henry VIII respectively. Jonathan Pryce, Kate Phillips and Lilit Lesser also among the returning cast members. Filming is due to begin soon.

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in 2015’s ‘Wolf Hall’ (BBC/Company Productions Ltd/Ed Miller)
Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in 2015’s ‘Wolf Hall’ (BBC/Company Productions Ltd/Ed Miller)

The creative team are also returning from the first series, with seven-time Bafta winner Peter Kosminsky back in the director’s chair. The script has been adapted by Oscar nominee Peter Straughan, with Colin Callender’s Playground and Company Pictures producing once more.

Kosminsky said: “I’m overjoyed to be able to reunite the extraordinary cast we were lucky enough to assemble for Wolf Hall… We are all determined to complete what we started – and to honour the final novel written by one of the greatest literary figures of our age, Hilary Mantel.”

Before Mantel’s books were adapted by the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company brought them to the stage in 2013 for Wolf Hall Parts One and Two. The play later transferred to the West End and Broadway.

An adaptation of The Mirror and the Light followed in 2021, one year after the book’s release.