the dark crystal age of resistance

Jim Henson‘s 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal has gone down in history as a master class in puppetry magic. And it’s important to the creative team behind the new Netflix prequel series that they get that aspect right.

At New York Comic-Con, director Louis Leterrier and creative executive producer Lisa Henson, Jim Henson’s daughter, promised that The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will preserve the practical techniques of the ’80s classic and revealed a few more details about the highly anticipated 10-episode series.

Leterrier and Henson are eager to pay homage to the original film by keeping the then-groundbreaking effects exactly the same. At the show’s NYCC panel, Leterrier revealed that “We’re not using CGI on this one,” Variety reported. “It’s puppets, man. Puppets!”

The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance uses handmade puppetry operated by puppeteers, much like Henson’s 1982 original. The biggest difference will be the use of green screens, which will allow the team to edit out the body of the puppeteer from the frame.

“People have asked what the newest technology we’re bringing to this is, and I say, ‘Well it’s actually really old technology: green screen.’ We’re removing puppeteers where they are physically moving the puppets from the outside. But Jim didn’t have the ability to do that at the time of the movie. So even though that’s a really old visual effects technique, it’s an advance on the film. We were so pleased that is still pure puppetry because if you take the puppeteers out, they’re still moved by the puppeteers.”

The series will be set before the events of the Henson and Frank Oz film The Dark Crystal, which followed an elf-like “Gelfling” named Jen who set out on a quest to restore balance to his world by returning the lost shard of a powerful gem. The prequel series was inspired by one indelible image from The Dark Crystal: crumbled remains of the Wall of Destiny seen in the original movie. “What was that culture, what was lost, what was that beautiful Gefling civilization?” Henson said at the panel, hinting that the prequel may give a glimpse of the planet Thra before the Dark Crystal was cracked. “It’s very developed, with a big canvas with many different group of Gelflings…it’s rich.”

But Leterrier and Henson’s primary goal is to introduce children these days to the joys that Jim Henson’s puppets brought them back in the ’80s. So while it’s a nostalgic return for Dark Crystal fans, it will be a great intro point for the new generation.

“Kids these days haven’t seen puppets that look like this. It brings in everything you love about ‘Dark Crystal. Brian Froud, Wendy Froud, and Toby Froud — little Toby from ‘Labyrinth’ — all worked on our show, recreating the Skeksis and creating the new characters. So the design is exactly the same. The look is exactly the same. We shot on VistaVision. You’re going to like it.”

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will premiere on Netflix in 2019.

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