The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the latest Netflix production, is a gold mine for a fantasy nerd — not for the faint of heart. The plot contains curiously named species like Gelflings and Skeksis, brutal violence, entangled mythology and throwbacks to a 37-year-old film. To top it, all the characters are basically puppets.
But the show has received stunning reviews for the construction of its world and value of
production: Collider even went a step ahead to name it “one of the greatest fantasy stories of our time.” And the voice cast is equally impressive: Helena Bonham Carter, Andy Samberg, Mark Hamill, Awkwafina and Taron Egerton comprise this star cast.
Before you watch Dark Crystal, here’s what to know about its universe and history:
The Dark Crystal is a 1982 film directed by Jim Henson, the famous creator of The Muppets. At that time, Henson was at the peak of his career and conceived hugely popular television shows and films centered on Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppet gang. But in the late ’70s, he had an idea to create a world very different from their friendly slapstick chaos. “What Jim wanted to do, and it was totally his vision, was to get back to the darkness of the original Grimms’ fairy tales,” Frank Oz, the co-director was quoted as saying by SFGate in 2007. “He thought it was fine to scare children.”
In 1976, Henson had discovered the work of illustrator Brian Froud, who was famous for his lively and sly creations of fantastical beings. After the meeting, the pair began to work on a story that would resemble Lord of the Rings in depth and essence. On the planet of Thra, the almost birdlike Skeksis wants to maintain control over the rest of the kingdom; due to an inevitable prophecy, they massacre the altruistic, elf-like Gelflings over time. But one young Gelfling, Jen, escapes the Skeksis’ clutches and thereby goes on a hero’s journey to end their reign, which forms the rest of the story.