Our Great Conjunction has begun. As the suns align, our two halves begin to join: our adult and childhood selves. Thirty-five years after the original, we are returning to the world of Thra and its Dark Crystal.
Jim Henson’s Company announced the creation of a 10-episode Netflix series that will begin shooting in Fall 2017. Planned by the producers as a prequel to the original, this series will combine modern technology and the original-style practical effects, created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and original movie designer Brian Froud. Gelflings, Skeksis, and more will be joined by new creatures in a world of inhuman beauty and wonder.
I don’t know about some people, but the Dark Crystal always stood apart for me. The world was devoid of people or any Earth species. Thra felt alien and amazing, and I wished I could explore the furthest reaches beyond what the film showed. The Skeksis were terrifying, the Podlings were heart-warming, and Aughra made Yoda seem practically normal. Add into this Froud’s designs, which married the chaos of nature with an almost spiritual symmetry and symbology, and a child’s imagination went wild.
Netflix has a good track record and the fact the show remains in the hands of the Hensons bodes well. I’m somewhat concerned about the director, as Leterrier’s record is slightly more mixed. I enjoyed The Transporter, Unleashed, and 2008’s Incredible Hulk, but these are very different films from the epic fantasy of Henson. Sadly, he faltered with his other movies, notably his only foray into fantasy direction: 2010’s Clash of the Titans. Perhaps the assistance of veteran television writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach will help guide the story into one worthy of the original.
The teaser trailer doesn’t show much, but fans like me are excited to see what’s next. Here’s hoping this lives up to the hype and we can travel once more from the Swamp of the Black River to Bah-Lem Valley.