Are you ready to return to the planet Thra? Jim Henson’s beloved 1980s fantasy film has got the prequel treatment at Netflix.
Henson’s daughter Lisa – who serves as CEO of The Jim Henson Company – and director Jim Leterrier have teamed up to put together a 10-part series, which explores the fall of the “Gelfling” community, through some masterful modern puppeteering.
“We won’t be using CGI in this one,” Leterrier said. “It’s puppets, man. It’s all puppets.”
The team will use green screen to remove puppeteers in post-production. It reportedly took an entire year to film the 10 episodes.
*UPDATE* – Netflix released an excellent behind-the-scenes clip at Comic-Con in July which gives us a look at how the world of Thra was brought to life, featuring interviews with costume designers – some of whom worked on the original – producers and actors, including Simon Pegg.
“Everything is hand-sculpted, hand-painted,” Henson says, “just an amazing amount of craftsmanship you see across the whole image.” Check it out below.
Do I need to have seen the original Dark Crystal movie to watch the new TV series?
No – Age of Resistance was built with a new, young audience in mind, as well as the fans of the original.
“Kids these days haven’t seen puppets that look like this,” Leterrier said. “This is quite different, and sometimes quite scary. It’s multi-generational. The design and look is exactly the same [as the original], you’re going to like it.”
A bunch of brilliant actors have been lined up to voice characters in the new series, including Taron Egerton, Mark Hamill, Anya Taylor-Joy, Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham Carter, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, Alicia Vikander Nathalie Emmanuel, Benedict Wong and Toby Jones.
According to Henson, the idea for the series came from a scene in the original (above) in which Kira and Jen see the ruins of the former “Gelfling” community at the Wall of Destiny.
“That [scene] was our jumping-off point for the whole series,” Henson said. “What was that culture? What was lost? What was that beautiful Gelfling civilisation?”
The show will take place many years before the events of the original, and follow three young Gelflings as they rebel against a cruel emperor.
“The world of Thra is dying,” a synopsis from Netflix reads. “The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for the planet begins.”
Will there be a second series of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix?
Hup, Deet and Rian in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
Given that the original Dark Crystal movie gives a lot away about what befalls the Gelfling, it seemed unlikely that a second series could arrive – but the series’ director Louis Leterrier has suggested he’s not entirely closed to the idea.
“It’s so special to us, to all of us, and to you [the fans] and to Netflix, that we took it one step at a time,” Leterrier said at a screening for the series’ first episode.
“We’re lucky enough to have everybody at Netflix trust us and give us this opportunity that we’re ending at 10 [episodes] – we cross our fingers, present it to the world and you tell us, you decide. Really, you will be the deciding factor if we wait another 40 years.”
In other words, this might not be the last we see of Thra on the small screen…
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is out Friday 30th August 2019.