Jim Henson has created some strange things, but none are arguably more strange than The Dark Crystal, Henson’s 1982 puppet animated feature film about the happenings on a far-away alien planet. Now, more than thirty years after the original film was released, Netflix is creating a prequel movie based in the same world. The film was announced as an official 2019 feature by Netflix this week, and despite still being in the production stages, Netflix has released a couple of images to tease longtime fans of The Dark Crystal‘s original picture.
The Dark Crystal follows the story of Jen, a young Gelfling that was raised by Mystics on the planet Thra after his entire race was wiped out, leaving Jen alone as the last of his kind. The Mystics are one of two new species to appear after a crystal cracked thousands of years before, giving life to the Mystics, a peaceful group of wizard-like creatures, and the Skeksis, an evil bird-like creature with the power to retain youth through the power of the crystal shard that created them. The Mystics are peaceful and live a simple life, where the Skeksis are indulgent, living lavish lives among massive feasts made by slaves, and are adorned in jewels and furs.
At the beginning of The Dark Crystal, Jen is told by the dying leader of the Mystics that he must replenish the crystal to its original state. If he doesn’t, the evil Skeksis will rule the planet forever, killing the last of the Mystics along the way. In order to replenish the crystal to its original state, Jen must go on a journey to find a missing shard being kept by a lowly astronomer named Aughra. Along his way, Jen finds other creatures throughout his world that help him combat the Skeksis and return the crystal shard to its larger whole.
It all sounds super strange, but part of what made Jim Henson’s films so brilliant was the fact that he was able to create entire puppet worlds out of nothing. The original film solidified Henson’s canonization into the film industry as a creative mind. Despite the fact that it wasn’t the most successful Henson Studios film, it remains one of the most famous and loved among Jim Henson’s fans.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance:
Netflix has been fairly tight-lipped over the details of its prequel movie, which will be called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. What we do know about the prequel, though, is that it will focus on three Gelflings that go out on a quest in pursuit of learning the secrets to the Skeksis power. Sounds a bit familiar, as the new story doesn’t stray too far from what the original movie laid out in its own plot.
The new Netflix film was originally announced back in 2017 but was clearly put on the back-burner in terms of Netflix’s upcoming works. However, the announcement that Disney would be migrating into the streaming industry meant that existing streaming platforms would have to invest heavily in new, original content in order to keep their existing customer base. The Dark Crystal prequel will premiere on Netflix on August 30th of this year. Like the original, the prequel will honor Hensen’s work by using puppeteering instead of traditional or computer animation techniques.