The Dark Crystal, which released way back in 1982 and was co-directed by famous puppeteer and Muppet inventor Jim Henson and actor Frank Oz (best known for his Muppet performances and voicing Yoda in Star Wars), has become something of a fan favorite amongst Henson fans for its darker themes and imagery when compared to the director’s earlier works. At the time of the film’s release, however, it was considered a financial disappointment (though it did earn more than twice its production budget) and received only mild critical success due to its groundbreaking animatronics.
Despite the lukewarm response and disappointing box office returns, Henson and The Dark Crystal writer David Odell did discuss many potential ideas for a sequel that never came to fruition. Henson would pass away less than ten years later in 1990, but the discussions for a sequel never entirely ceased. Now the long-gestating sequel will finally be released, though not in the format fans of the original would expect.
As reported by THR, a 12-issue sequel comic titled The Power of the Dark Crystal will release in 2017. The comic picks up decades after the original film and once again follows original The Dark Crystal characters Jen and Kira, as they deal with the hardships of ruling Thra. Events unfold that lead to the possibility of the antagonistic Skekis being revived after their defeat in the original film. You can check out the cover art for the comic book series below.
The Power of the Dark Crystal will be released by BOOM! Studios and written by Si Spurrier, adapted by the unproduced screenplay by Odell, his wife Annette Odell and Craig Pearce. The artwork will be covered by Kelly and Nichole Matthews, with the cover of the first issue being handled by Eisner Award recipient Jae Lee. Henson’s daughter and CEO of The Jim Henson Company, Lisa Henson, released this statement in regards to the sequel comic:
“The creativity that went into writing and designing the feature film was such that we wanted our fans to be able to see and enjoy it now through this comic book series. We are very proud of the story that the screenwriters David Odell, Annette Odell, and Craig Pearce wrote. Our partners at Archaia and BOOM! Studios are the only people we could trust to expand and illustrate the story, and we are thrilled that it will soon see the light of day!"
Though some fans may be disappointed at not getting a proper live-action movie sequel, this seems like the right call for Henson’s company to make. The Power of the Dark Crystal, as a film, has never managed to get off the ground with the confines of budget and limited run time surely playing a factor in the delay. With a comic series, those restrictions are reduced significantly and allow for a freer sense of expression and creativity. And, who knows, perhaps if the limited comic proves popular enough, it could eventually lead to a sequel film finally materializing.
The first issue of The Power of the Dark Crystal releases February 15, 2017, kicking off a recognition of The Dark Crystal’s 35th anniversary.