Funny this is happening, given that we JUST posted a list of ten movies from childhood that scared the pants off of us. It would appear, quietly and buried in the middle of an article about something completely different, Variety has confirmed that the Jim Henson Company is currently working on four different films based on properties they own. FOUR. After the resurgence of interest in muppetry since The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted performed quite well, it seems the Henson Company is attempting to go all nostalgia on our asses again with some of its most beloved titles. Here’s what the article said:
“It [the Jim Henson company] is also working on a quartet of legacy titles in the Henson library — a Fraggle Rock movie that’s been in development at New Regency; a sequel to 1982’s The Dark Crystal; a sequel to 1986’s Labyrinth; and a movie based on the Emmet Otter character.”
Wowzers! Zoinks! Other exclamations said by cartoon characters! Any one of these titles would be enough to get me and others of my ilk excited (except Emmet the Otter… sorry, I just don’t have much attachment to that one), but to have all of them at once?!? How exciting would that be?! We Nerdist folk would do a dance of proverbial joy, Balki style, if that were the case… but don’t get out your Hoggle and Sir Didymus plush toys just yet.
It’s definitely not a sure thing. This is just one article, and an article that wasn’t even about the Jim Henson Company, just the fact that Billy Crystal is joining the production of Which Witch (which I’m guessing will be a movie about witches who work at the sandwich shop Which Wich). There has been no official word from anyone in the Henson camp, and indeed the last thing mentioned by anyone in the know was very much in the “not really” camp.
In a series of quotes in Vulture back in May, CEO Lisa Henson, daughter of the legendary puppeteer, seemed to intimate that there was nothing concrete. Of the Dark Crystal movie, she said they were more interested currently in “interactive world building,” referencing the serialized nature of something like Avatar: The Last Airbender as something else they were pursuing.
As for Labyrinth, Henson was even less affirmative, saying ““We don’t actually have anything planned, and we particularly don’t have anything announced about Labyrinth…It’s a property that we know is very popular. It holds a special place in people’s hearts, including ours, because it was Jim Henson’s own personal big epic movie, and it wasn’t necessarily appreciated in its day. But it’s become very beloved over time, and perhaps that causes us to treat it with even more respect. We do have some ideas about it, but we’re being very careful and cautious.”
The one that actually seems like it’s being made currently, or, again, back in May when a statement was given, features those who like to dance their cares away. “It’s in development at New Regency,” Lisa Henson confirms. “We’re producing it, along with Ivan Reitman’s production company, Montecito. We also have a director attached, but it’s never been announced, so I can’t say. And we’re working on the script. We’re all very excited about it.” Fraggle Rock seems a sure thing to cater to the fans of those aforementioned Muppet movies and makes perfect sense to be the next project rolled out.
So, it’s not much of a news story. Perhaps Variety got some insight that the Henson Company hadn’t officially announced yet; still, it seems a pretty sure bet that SOMETHING will be happening with The Dark Crystal and possibly Labyrinth, eventually. Everyone’s just playing it very close to the spandex bulge. (Who wouldn’t?)