You don't have to be an urRu to know that the upcoming Netflix series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, is going to be a hit, especially with the Millennial crowd that grew up with Jim Henson movies. As much as we want to critically condemn anything that's banking on nostalgia for success, we honestly can't help but love it—especially when it's done well, like Netflix's Stranger Things series. Fan of the original movie or not, there are some cool facts about the series that will get you pumped up about it coming to a TV near you this August.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has enough star power to light the Crystal of Truth. Taron Egerton, Nathalie Emmanuel, Natalie Dormer, Mark Hammil, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan-Michael Key and Helena Bonham Carter are all starring. But wait, there's more; Mark Strong, Andy Samberg, Caitriona Balfe, Jason Isaacs, Simon Pegg, Eddie Izzard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Toby Jones are also in it!
With this many big names, we're almost nervous that it may not do as well. Some star-heavy casts pull off great movies, but sometimes they're used to carry otherwise unsuccessful writing, so we have our fingers crossed that so many talented people will make the series a hit.
No, this isn't a series about Jen and Kira's kids, because it's a prequel. This is a good thing, though, since expectations are high, and there should be a good reason why there are urSkeks (Skeksis) and urRu in the trailer. In the film, the species were reunited as balance was restored, so having both species exist separately again would make no sense. There will be three young Gelflings in this sci-fi/adventure series. They will be rebelling against a terrible dictator as they uncover a secret about the Skeksis that will change the world of Thra as they know it.
If you play Nintendo Switch, you might want to know that a Dark Crystal video game tied in with the series will be coming out sometime this year. The trailer for the game depicts Aughra lamenting that she's slept too long before seeing a vision of Gelflings lying unconscious. She wails, "what have they done!?"
She goes on to explain that avarice and evil have gone unchecked for an age, and we see Gelfling warriors standing next to Skeksis, as if guarding them. She then gets excited, speaking about three heroes of Thra, which must be our protagonists. It depicts the three fighting other Gelflings, as well as Aughra herself in the game, along with Kira's sidekick, Fizzgig.
Old school animation and puppetry take so much time and effort that audiences were skeptical when director Louis Leterrier and the rest of the team insisted that there would be a heavy reliance on puppets and not on modern CGI. The trailer shows that there was no bluffing going on and we can expect major puppetry goodness in the series.
Leterrier says that they are "pushing puppeteering beyond anything anyone has done before," and that newcomers who haven't even seen the original should still be excited to see the puppets. That's not to say there will be an absence of visual effects, but that they will be kept to a minimal.
If the puppets in the prequel look familiar to fans, it's because they are as authentic as they can get. Brian Froud, the original movie's conceptual designer, is behind these new Jim Henson's Creature Shop puppets. They couldn't get any closer to the originals if they've been created by his hands. The English fantasy artist is also behind other favorites like Labyrinth, The Storyteller, The Life and Adventures of Santa Clause and Peter Pan.
The trailer reveals authentic-looking characters that remind us of the originals, but with clearer imagery thanks to modern film making. We can't wait to see what Froud's concepts look like once they've all come together for the production.
In a recent teaser, a Gelfling named Deet experiences a vision by touching Vliste-Staba, the Sanctuary Tree located in the Mountains of Grot. The teaser is amazing, touching on magic and terror the way we expect Jim Henson's creations to do. The Gelfling shakes and stares in wonder as the tree reveals image after image of what is to come. While it reveals secrets about the Darkening to Deet, voiced by Nathalie Emmanuel, it also reminds a lot of fans of the dreamfasting that Kira and Jen shared.
This region should also be majestic to behold in the show, as the Sanctuary in the Mountains of Grot is surrounded by giant mushrooms and other magical visuals. It's where the Gelflings go to meditate, listen to the song of Thra, and engage in peaceful activities.
While Gelflings Deet, Rian (Taron Egerton) and Brea (Anna Taylor-Joy) are new to viewers, many of the Skeksis from the original film will be featured during their younger years in Age of Resistance. Confirmed Skeksis include SkekSo: The Emperor of the Skeksis, whom we last saw breathing his final breath as the rest of his brethren fought over his things and title, SkekTek: The Skeksis Scientist, SkekZok: The Skeksis Ritual Master (High Priest) and of course, SkekSil: The Skeksis Chamberlain whose "MMMMmmmm" got on everyone's nerves throughout the movie.
Chamberlain is the Jar Jar Binks of the Dark Crystal universe, and we can bet that he'll be featured heavily here since the trailer ended with his trademark noise. Skeksis are voiced by Andy Samberg, Jason Isaacs, Harvey Fierstein, Mark Hamill, Ralph Ineson, Keegan-Michael Key, Simon Pegg, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.
Instead of a duo, the prequel features a trio of Gelflings set to save the world. Brea, Deet, and Rian will be fighting against the corruption of the Skeksis to restore the Crystal of Truth. What's more, as is the case with many a prequel, we know that heartache is sure to happen given the lack of Gelflings in the original film. It will be like watching Rogue One all over again, folks.
According to the photos, Rian looks as if he wears a guard uniform, so it's possible that he's worked for the Skeksis. Brea looks stately and regal, while Deet appears more wild-looking. First appearances can be deceiving, however, so time will tell what these Gelflings will have in store for us.
Like many series, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will have a total of ten episodes for its premiere season. It's likely that the first extraction of Podling—or Gelfling—essence is extracted in the prequel series, as we can sort of see in the trailer, so it will be interesting to see how they will pace out this adventure. There is so much ground that could be covered that it shouldn't require stretching by any means.
That said, if Netflix plans to continue the series, they may not reveal as much and save the terrible massacre of the Gelflings for another season. Then again, maybe they'll finish with one prequel season and then create a sequel series that picks up where the film left off for a less somber note.
Fans have to wait until August 30 to catch the new series on Netflix, which seems an eternity away. Surely there will be more teasers or trailers dropped by then to give us more clues about Rian, Bre, and Deet, as well as how involved we can expect the Mystics, Aughra and other favorite characters to be in the series. Luckily it's already listed for queuing, so fans can add it now and immediately access the series once it's live.
Amazon Prime's Carnival Row will be released on the same day, which means there will likely be some serious binging at the end of summer for lovers of sci-fi and fantasy.