When a return to the incredible and bizarre Dark Crystal comes up, the question on every fan’s mind ought to be how much of a new version of the classic film will feature the iconic puppetry of the source material. Netflix has their hands on a new 10 episode series based on the 1982 film. However, it would appear that Netflix isn’t just pushing a prequel. They’re working closely with The Jim Henson Company, Brian Froud, and other talented names to ensure that some level of practical puppetry and effects will exist in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
The Jim Henson Company first broke the news, announcing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, in a press release on May 18, 2017. Shortly after, Netflix released a new YouTube video featuring a teaser that shared the now-deceased Jim Henson speaking on his experience on the original Dark Crystal. At the end of the short video, new designs and molds of scenery and characters being crafted were shown with the confirmed announcement of Age of Resistance.
In such a short video, there is a lot to unpack for what we get out of the new stuff for Age of Resistance. The sketches of the character designs is one thing, but to see the molds of new characters being designed is very noteworthy. It’s easy to forget about practical effects in a time period where they have been all but overtaken by computer generated images and digital artistry, and though The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will feature some digital work, it would appear that the original spirit of Jim Henson’s style and puppetry aren’t being left behind for the new Netflix series.
Perhaps it’s due to the pedigree of talent that has been signed-on to work on the latest Dark Crystal. Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me) will executive-produce alongside Lisa Henson and fellow Henson Company regular Halle Stanford. Leterrier will direct the series. The writing will be in the capable hands of Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (Life in a Year), and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost, The 100). Perhaps most important however is the presence of original 1982 Dark Crystal concept artist and character designer, Brian Froud, lending his talents to the character design of the prequel.
It was Cindy Holland, the Jim Henson Company Vice President of Original Content, that confirmed the presence and focus of practical arts and effects in conjunction with digital artistry for the series.
“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will combine the art of puppetry perfected by The Jim Henson Company, with Louis’ vision, powerful storytelling and a mix of cutting-edge digital imagery and visual effects. I can’t wait for families around the world to see how we bring these unique characters to life.”
While it’s difficult to tell what ratio of CG-to-practical effects we can expect off of that statement alone, Inquisitr also reached out the Henson Company to gain a more direct response about their commitment to practical design for the prequel. They were kind enough to respond with a statement from Louis Leterrier himself about his attitude and passion for The Dark Crystal.
“As I envision Age of Resistance, I am most excited about joining today’s film techniques with the practical visual effects that are such an integral part of The Dark Crystal – the artistry, the craftsmenship, the performances, and of course the puppets! It is a gift and an honor to work alongside the teams at The Jim Henson Company and Netflix, the artists at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and the Frouds, as we begin a new adventure, diving deeper into the world of Thra and working hard to bring fans all they have hoped for.”
It’s promising, to say the least, that Leterrier’s interests and passions for the source material burn so brightly. Age of Resistance is said to take place many years before the events of the original 1982 film, so we might not see the likes of Jen, Kira, and Fizzgig, but we can certainly expect to learn more about the Mystics, the Skeksis, and the Gelflings, not to mention whatever new and amusing creatures the artistic talents involved have in store for fans.
Netflix has some big shoes to fill with their latest acquisition. There is a following behind the original Dark Crystal that most certainly cannot be denied. No actors have been announced for the project as of yet, but the prequel is reportedly set to film in the fall of 2017. That said, with the direct team-up of the Henson Company, Froud, Leterrier, and their dedication to practical elements, Netflix seems set to capture the spirit of the original work with The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
[Featured Image by The Jim Henson Company]