So many people love Jim Henson's Labyrinth that they tend to forget that it was a box office flop, raking in less than $13 million back from its $25 million budget. The cult classic is certainly still a success in the hearts of the many fans who love it, and it has an incredible amount of merchandise to prove it.
Fans may not know many strange and interesting facts behind the movie, though, like how the Hoggle costume was lost at the airport, how over 48 puppets were needed for that dance sequence, and these other fun tidbits of information.
Ludo is one of Jim Henson's best big monsters. He's such a gentle, kind beast, yet his size makes him intimidating. Plus, he can call rocks, which makes him pretty handy in a battle whether he's shy or not. He reminds us of Sarah's lesson: things aren't always what they seem in the Labyrinth. He also got to meet Princess Diana, after all.
He was a hefty beast, though, weighing 100 pounds before Henson asked for alterations to shave off some of the weight in order to make the costume more manageable to carry around. After the alterations, he still weighed 75 pounds and required two people to manage. That's a lot of heavy monster movement to handle.
Some of Jim Henson's works seem so meta after they reference themselves and Labyrinth is definitely an example. Most of the creatures, scenarios and environments that Sarah Williams finds herself in within Jareth's world are already in her room, pointing toward the idea that they already existed within her own imagination. The labyrinth itself was even in her room.
There are also faces of Jareth all around the labyrinth, indicating that he's always watching as Sarah makes her way to the castle. They can be found in various mazes, on stones, on the ground and even the wall of the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Many of Jim Henson's fans know that his children often had a part in his work; Brian Henson was even the voice of Hoggle in Labyrinth. His wife, Jane, famously said that the kids joined in early because it was the best way to get time with their father, who often became too preoccupied with work to spend time with them outside of it.
Toby Froud, who played Toby Williams in the movie, was Henson's first baby in a movie, though. It's understandable given how difficult it can be to work with a baby. Thankfully Toby's tears on the set weren't fearful, but the baby was tired and hungry, which made him cry.
Toby certainly wasn't a prima donna, but he certainly made things challenging just by being an infant. For starters, the crew had to use a sock puppet in order to get him to be calm on Bowie's lap. Otherwise, the kid was not having it, causing a commotion with his screaming until he was distracted with the simple entertainment.
Toby also didn't make enough gurgling noises, apparently. Bowie was dissatisfied with how the baby's noises turned out, opting to record them himself in order to make them sound better. When you listen to "Magic Dance," it's Bowie you hear gurgling like a baby, not Toby!
When we first see Jareth in the movie, he's not David Bowie but a CGI owl. It was the first time CGI was used in this way and many fans thought that it worked well. Even if the movie didn't achieve the box office success Henson had hoped for, at least his final movie did achieve this milestone. Most people consider it the first time an animal was realistically portrayed in this manner.
Henson also got to see the movie become popular on home video before he passed away in 1990, so at least he knew that it was well-loved among his fans. Still, his son said that it did cause him to fall into a deep depression. If only he could see the cosplays that his work has inspired since then. Jim Henson would have had an amazing Pinterest page.
You'd never guess it, but there's a lot of star power featured on the 1986 Labyrinth soundtrack, which features catchy songs like "Underground" and "Magic Dance." It sounds like David Bowie with maybe a few backup singers, but the five new songs Bowie recorded for the movie included the vocal talents of Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Robin Beck (one hit wonder performer of "First Time") and Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston.
Additional voice talents can be found throughout the film, such as Danny John-Jules of the BBC sci-fi comedy program Red Dwarf, who lends his voice to some of of the Fireys.
A number of other actresses also wanted to play the role of Sarah, which could have resulted in a very different movie. The actresses ranged from Helena Bonham Carter and Ally Sheedy to Jane Krasowski and Maddie Corman. One of the reasons why Connelly was selected was due to the fact that she was an American.
Connelly, who revealed that the bog of stench really had no smell at all, later went on to become an Oscar-winning actress. Of course, in another meta adventure, Miss Piggy also played the role of the questing teen on an episode of Muppet Babies.
It really is sad that Jim Henson didn't live to see Labyrinth become as popular as it is today. Surely he would have been pleased to see all of the Labyrinth t-shirts, plushies and Funko Pop figures sold everywhere from Hot Topic to Wal-Mart, the manga books published based on the film and even the annual Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball in Los Angeles.
The Labyrinth manga published by Tokyopop consisted of four volumes. Dubbed Return to Labyrinth, it served as a sequel to the film. There is also countless fan merch made every year, appearing everywhere from science and geek conventions to Etsy shops.
Fans marvel that Labyrinth ever even made it to the big screen after they hear how many rewrites it underwent. Terry Jones of Monty Python fame may have written the final script, but it had edits from George Lucas, Elaine May, Laura Philips and of course, Jim Henson. That's a lot of writing and re-writing.
One big change that Jones made was to show the Goblin King in his inner sanctum throughout the movie, speaking to his minions. Originally the plan was to reveal it at the end, but with Bowie starring the team decided to feature the musician much more prominently.
Can you imagine Jareth, the Goblin King, without David Bowie? What would happen to all of the fantastic memes? Both Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger had interest in the role, which would have resulted in a significantly different movie. Had Jackson got the part, Henson would have had to make it more Thriller-y, right?
Henson himself had looked at Sting as a possibility for the role, but his kids told their dad that David Bowie was all the rage and should be considered instead. We're glad that he listened to his kids for this role, even if any of these talented performers could have brought something new to it.