Wednesday 18 September 2019

Jim Henson’s daughter explains 37-year wait for Dark Crystal series

Lisa Henson is now chief executive of the company he founded.

The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance (Netflix)
The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance (Netflix)

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The daughter of Jim Henson has explained why it took 37 years to make a follow-up to The Dark Crystal.

The 10-episode Netflix series The Age Of Resistance is a prequel to the dark fantasy adventure film from 1982, which was made using puppets and directed by Henson and Frank Oz.

Trumpeted as the biggest all-puppet production of all time, the new series takes viewers back to the world of Thra, this time with a starry voice cast that includes Taron Egerton and Anya Taylor-Joy.

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Taron Egerton voices Rian (Netflix)

Lisa Henson, who is now chief executive and president of The Jim Henson Company after her father’s death in 1990, also explained why the new series is a prequel rather than a sequel.

She said: “The prequel is a world that is very rich and vast and felt like a bigger world.

“Our jumping off point for the creation of the prequel world is the scene in the original Dark Crystal film where Jen and Kira are in the forest and they discover these ruins and they realise they know nothing about where they came from and they realise this was their civilisation.

“Kira sits on the throne, it just fits her perfectly, there are hieroglyphics on the Wall of Destiny and we kind of used that as our jumping off point for the world creation and the world building for the prequel world, which has a lot of very original new material brought to it but we had to base it on something.

“We also used Brian Froud’s (the film’s conceptual and costume designer) big coffee table book The World Of The Dark Crystal, which had a lot of amazing information that didn’t make its way into the film.”

She continued: “I think the reason now is Netflix, because we had been working on a sequel film, we actually announced it a couple of times, disappointed our fans by not making it immediately.

“But it’s because Netflix came along and we could do a television series at the production quality of a feature film that it all came together and made it possible and I don’t think we ever could have done a series like this before Netflix was there to give it the go.

“My father wasn’t actively developing a sequel himself, he did discuss some possible ideas for it with the original writer David Odell but it’s been something we at the company have been wanting to do for over 10 years.

“It’s a real passion project for the company and of all the things that my father created, The Dark Crystal was the one that had a fully realised world that seemed like it was real and so think of this as our version of Middle Earth or Narnia, Star Wars, it’s a world that we felt you could really go back in time, you could go into the future, you could explore.

“We actually have one graphic novel, it was the sequel idea, that explores what happens in the middle of the earth, we feel like it’s such a fully realised fantasy world and it’s been very important to us to bring it back and introduce it to new audiences.”

Addressing any pressure she felt because the property was so important to her father, she said: “It’s been a remarkable journey for us to be as ambitious as we have been and I think Louis (Leterrier, the director) took it to another level.

“We couldn’t do it one bit less good than the original film and I actually believe that, thanks to this man, we have done it just a little more excitingly.

“It’s more cinematic, more thrilling, than the original film because we were capable, and Louis in particular was capable, of getting the puppets and the puppet action to another level entirely.”

The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance is streaming on Netflix now.

PA Media

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