Michael and Peter Spierig – the writing/directing duo responsible for this year’s futuristic vampire thriller Daybreakers – are officially set to direct Power of the Dark Crystal, the Jim Henson Company’s long-in-development sequel to its 1982 fantasy adventure The Dark Crystal.

The Dark Crystal was a collaborative effort between the late Jim Henson and his longtime friend Frank Oz that told the story of a fantastical world in a distant universe – one engulfed in turmoil since the titular Dark Crysta was broken.  The hero of the film – the Gelfling Jen (voiced by Jim Henson), a miniature elf-like creature – set out to fulfill his destiny and repair the Crystal before the three suns that surround his world aligned and the evil Skeksis race would take control of the planet forever.

Needless to say, the world of The Dark Crystal was similar in its complexity and expansiveness to that of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth – too much so for many moviegoers back in the early 1980s.  The fantasy adventure also suffered from a promotion campaign that tried to pass it off as children’s entertainment – despite the dark nature of the film’s narrative and the outright frightening nature of its characters (for kids especially).

The Dark Crystal Daybreakers Directors To Helm 3D Dark Crystal Sequel

Yeah, this guy looks downright huggable, doesn't he?

However, The Dark Crystal was still a relative financial/critical success during its initial release – though not so much that a sequel could be set in motion.  However, over the last 28 years, the film has garnered a cult following of sorts, substantial enough that it looks as though a follow-up to the unique puppet-creature feature will at long last be made.

Power of the Dark Crystal will reportedly be set several hundred years after the events of The Dark Crystal and will revolve around an unusual girl made of fire who is joined by a Gelfling – presumably a descendant of Jen – in her quest to steal a shard from the Dark Crystal as a means of saving her people, a race of beings that live at center of the planet.

The screenplay for the sequel has been written by Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge!) based off an earlier draft penned by Annette Duffy and the original Dark Crystal screenwriter, David Odell.  Additionally, the conceptual designer from the first film – illustrator Brian Froud, who last worked on the 2003 film version of Peter Pan – will return to design the creatures/locations/sets that will be on display in Power of the Dark Crystal.

Dark Crystal Artwork Daybreakers Directors To Helm 3D Dark Crystal Sequel

An example of Brian Froud's impressive conceptual artwork for 'The Dark Crystal.'

The original Dark Crystal used a mixture of live-action – albeit costumed – performers and old-fashioned puppetry by the Jim Henson Company to bring the film’s exotic characters and locations to life.  By comparison, Power of the Dark Crystal will combine these techniques with visual effects and CGI work via the Australian effects company Iloura (Where The Wild Things Are).

And yes – on the off-chance that you thought otherwise – the film will be in 3D.  Oy…

However – the 3D matter aside – the technological advances in filmmaking should help (rather than hinder) Power of the Dark Crystal on the whole.  It will at least allow for more detailed, realistic character behavior and intricate action sequences/set pieces – two qualities that, admittedly, The Dark Crystal lacked due to the limitations of puppetry and creative design back at that time.

Of course, advanced tech does not at all guarantee that the sequel will have an equally satisfying story – nor that its characters will be as fully-realized.

So what do you think?  Does the Power of the Dark Crystal sound like fun?  Or do you think it’s a mistake to re-visit the world of The Dark Crystal once more?

There’s nothing official yet but – should all go well – Power of the Dark Crystal could conceivably make its way into regular/3D theaters in late 2011/early 2012.

Source: Coming Soon

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