Weekly Must List Pick: How The Dark Crystal became the jewel in the Jim Henson Company's crown
EW is committed to giving our subscribers more entertainment news and access whenever we can, so we’re expanding our Must List Picks online! You can check out past picks or subscribe to the Entertainment Weekly newsletter to get all of our recommendations sent directly to your inbox. This week we can’t resist Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the prequel series to the Jim Henson Company’s classic (debuts Aug. 30). Read on to see how director Louis Leterrier is honoring the original, and why star Taron Egerton didn’t even read the script before signing on.
There is a great deal of anticipation about Netflix and the Jim Henson Company’s puppet-filled prequel The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (debuts Aug. 30) thanks to the enduring popularity of the original film, 1982’s The Dark Crystal. Back in 1982, the Jim Henson- and Frank Oz-directed tale about two Gelflings, Jen and Kira, and their battle against the terrifying Skeksis, wasn’t a massive hit with either critics or audiences — many families found it not friendly at all. In retrospect, however, the film is a remarkable achievement in both world-building and puppeteering.
“When Jim did the movie it was a first, a movie of that scale being done with all puppetry and no human leads,” says The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance executive producer Lisa Henson, who is also the CEO and President of the Jim Henson Company and Jim’s daughter.
Over time, Henson and Oz’s movie developed a devoted following fueled by home-entertainment releases and tie-in merchandise, including, for some reason, a line of perfume (“Oh, darling, you smell so delightfully Skeksis this evening!”). The Jim Henson Company spent years developing a movie sequel, The Power of the Dark Crystal, before abandoning the project to concentrate on the Netflix series, which is directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, Now You See Me), and for the most part features practical puppets instead of computer-generated Gelflings and Skeksis.
“I was so determined to use puppets because it’s the right road,” says Leterrier. “I fought very hard. I was not fighting against anyone, I was fighting up against common sense and practicality.”
The prequel show’s starry cast includes Mark Hamill, Helena Bonham Carter, Natalie Dormer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jason Isaacs, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, and Lena Headey. The three main Gelflings are played by Nathalie Emmanuel, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Taron Egerton, the latter a diehard fan of the original movie despite not having been born when The Dark Crystal premiered in cinemas.
“When the offer came through to be involved with this project, I really, really didn’t even read the script,” says the Kingsman and Rocketman actor. “I just said, ‘Yes.’ I just thought it was incredible that they were going to make this earlier chapter in the story and be so faithful to the techniques that Jim used.”
Watch the trailer for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, above.
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