‘Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light’ on PBS Masterpiece — a first look!

Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) in Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light. Photo: Playground Television (UK) Ltd

When two-time Booker Prize-winning author, Hilary Mantel passed away in September 2022 at the all-too-young age of 70, she was consulting on the television adaptation of her most recent 2020 novel, “The Mirror and the Light”, which was the conclusion to her critically acclaimed Tudor trilogy.

The writer’s first two books in the trilogy, “Wolf Hall” (2009) and “Bring Up the Bodies,” (2012) were combined for the 2015 PBS/BBC series Wolf Hall. Her most recent effort, “The Mirror and the Light,” continues the story of Cromwell’s rise to the heart of Henry VIII’s court as his closest adviser and covers the last four years of the life of Thomas Cromwell.

Peter Kosminsky, the BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated director and screenwriter, who has known Mantel for “many, many years,” directed the Golden Globe-winning BBC and PBS drama Wolf Hall while working extremely closely with Mantel on the television adaptation of the writer’s two books, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies”. 

King Henry VIII (Damien Lewis). Photographer: Nick Briggs. Playground Television (UK) Ltd

In describing the long-awaited sequel, Kosminsky said: “The Mirror and the Light picks up exactly where Wolf Hall ended, with the execution of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.” Years in the making, Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light will trace the final four years of Cromwell’s life, completing his journey from self-made man to the most feared, influential figure of his time before his fall from grace and death by execution in 1540.

It’s May, 1536. Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, is dead. As the axe drops, Thomas Cromwell emerges from the bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

Jane Seymour (Kate Phillips). Photographer: Nick Briggs, Playground Television (UK) Ltd

Cromwell, a man with only his wits to rely on, has no great family to back him, and no private army. Navigating the moral complexities that accompany the exercise of power in this brutal and bloody time, Cromwell is caught between his desire to do what is right and his instinct to survive. But in the wake of Henry VIII having executed his queen, no one is safe.

Academy Award® winner Mark Rylance will return to his BAFTA-winning role of Thomas Cromwell, with Emmy® Award winner Damian Lewis returning as King Henry VIII, alongside Academy Award® nominee Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey.

Also returning are Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown, War and Peace, Downton Abbey, Miss Scarlet and the Duke) as Henry VIII’s third wife Jane Seymour and Lilit Lesser as Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry and his first wife Catherine of Aragon with Wolf Hall screenwriter Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will adapt the latest book.

Just in case you’ve forgotten just how brilliant the 2015 original was, here’s a quick look from PBS Masterpiece.

Filming has concluded and Wolf Hall: The Mirror and the Light will land on PBS and BBC schedules in 2025. The series will also be available to stream on the PBS App, the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel and PBS.org.

In: Drama