If you were a child of the ’80s, or grew up with the works of Jim Henson, the chances are high that Labyrinth was on rotation in your VHS collection. The 1986 fantasy film–about a teenage girl who travels to a mysterious world to rescue her kidnapped baby brother–is a cult classic, one that’s legacy continues on today in the form of apparel, collectable figures, and memes. If you’re familiar with the story, then you must remember Toby, the baby in the striped pajamas who’s swept away by David Bowie’s Jareth. He’s the “babe with the power,” after all. Well, it turns out the little boy who played Toby grew up to be a puppeteer, and his work will be featured in the upcoming Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Toby’s real name is also Toby, last name Froud, and he got the part in Labyrinth because his father Brian was the conceptual designer on the film, having previously worked with Henson on the original Dark Crystal film. In fact, Froud’s parents actually met while working on that project, making his involvement in Labyrinth something of a birthright. In an interview with Vice back in 2016, Froud explained that his father created concept art for Labyrinth–including of the baby Toby with the Goblin King–before he was even conceived. “He always felt that he was painting on sort of a cosmic level, because it turned out that it looked like me in the end,” Froud said.
Froud grew up to be an animator and puppeteer like his father, and has worked on films like King Kong, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. Now, he’s collaborating with his father and mother Wendy Midener (a sculptor) on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, almost 40 years after the original film helped create their family.
The upcoming series is a family affair for more than just the Frouds. Jim Henson’s daughter, Lisa, is also working on the series as an executive producer, and even brought the first episode to San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. The show is already receiving rave reviews from the lucky folks in attendance at that panel, with a lot of reactions noting how closely the style adheres to the original. We’re sure we have that familial love and appreciation to thank for the authenticity.
Images: TriStar Pictures