Perhaps it has disappeared through a window into another universe, like its characters.
It looked increasingly unlikely yesterday that cinema audiences in this world will get to see the planned film sequels in Philip Pullman's children's fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials.
Sources in the film industry said that plans for a sequel to The Golden Compass appeared to have been put on ice following the fervent Christian protests surrounding the first film, which led to boycotts and box office disappointment in the United States.
Pullman told The Independent that he had not yet been contacted by Shepperton Studios and was not aware of any imminent plans to film the sequel, The Subtle Knife. When the first film was in production last year, he was regularly contacted by Chris Weitz, its writer and director.
"I know everyone would like to see a sequel and I know I'd like to see it. When the first film was in production, I was talking to the studio and to Chris Weitz and producers quite frequently. I'm sure I would be now if the sequel was in production," he said.
Weitz said yesterday he did not want talk about the project while the studio responsible for the first film was refusing to discuss the future of the trilogy.
When The Golden Compass was release last year, New Line Cinema had high hopes for the trilogy as the new The Lord of the Rings, and the sequel was due to be released by the end of 2009.
But then the Christian boycotts started and the film sunk in the US, making a meagre $70m (35m), although it took a hefty $300m internationally. New Line has since been merged with Warner Brothers.
Pullman said he would be dismayed if the original cast, which included Nicole Kidman and the then 12-year-old lead child star, Dakota Blue Richards, were not able to reprise their roles. "The problem with having a child in the cast is that time goes by very quickly, [and they change] ... I would love to see her [Dakota] carry on the story and I'd love to see Nicole Kidman fulfil the full development of her character," he said.
If the sequel to his trilogy, His Dark Materials, was not made with the original cast, Pullman said he would harbour hopes for a sequel in the future with a fresh cast that may not meet the same level of religious protest.
The plot of the three books revolves around a fantasy world where the Reformation has never happened. …