THE DARK CRYSTAL Returns as New Netflix Series

Now that’s how you bring back a beloved children’s film! This morning, Netflix revealed that they’re bringing back Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s seminal 1982 film, The Dark Crystal, as a television series– puppets and all. The new series, titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will begin shooting this fall, with Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk) at the helm. According to Deadline, the 10-episode series takes place decades before the original film, and will include brand new, “state-of-the-art creatures” created by Jim Hensons’ Creature Shop and Brian Froud, the conceptual designer behind The Dark Crystal. And though we’ve still got a ways to go before we see any new footage from the show, Netflix has shared a teaser that explores how these incredible animatronics are brought to life: those unfamiliar, The Dark Crystal is a dark children’s fantasy film that is considered a masterpiece by many for its masterful use of puppetry, Brian Froud’s distinctive concept art, and Trevor Jones’ incredible score. Told entirely with animatronic characters, The Dark Crystal tells the story of a dying world called Thra, and all the mysterious creatures that inhabit it. Thousands of years ago, the titular magic crystal cracked, and two new races appeared: the absolutely terrifying Skeksis, who used the remaining power of the Dark Crystal to keep themselves alive, and a group of gentle wizards, the Mystics. In the film, two young Gelflings named Jen and Kira must make their way across the land of Thra with the last remaining shard of the Crystal, the last hope of saving their world from the Skeksis.Since The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is set many years before the events of The Dark Crystal, we probably won’t see Jen and Kira, but Netflix might bring back the Emperor Skeksis, who dies in the original film, and other familiar characters like Augra, the shrewd astronomer who guards the crystal shard. Given that the Henson Creature Shop and Brian Froud are back for the sequel, we hope they create new characters that can stand on their own with established favorites like Fizzgig., so far fan response to this sequel has been markedly different than the outcry over a Labyrinth sequel. Part of that is unavoidable, since David Bowie passed and can no longer return as Jareth, the Goblin King (though if anyone could return from the beyond to reprise an iconic role, it’s Bowie). But while news of an indirect Labyrinth sequel broke without any info besides a director and screenwriter, this reveal pays homage to the original film’s roots: mainly, the puppet work and creature design. CG animation certainly has its place in film and television, but it seems almost disrespectful to bring back Jim Henson’s imaginative world without using practical effects. It’s possible the Fede Alvarez Labyrinth sequel will do the same, but it was a smart move on Netflix’s part to make clear from the get-go that this series is puppets or bust, baby.But what do you think of this news? What would you like to see in a Dark Crystal prequel? Have you kept up to date with all the in-universe books and comics? Let us know in the comments below.

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Image: The Jim Henson Company

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