It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that the fantasy genre rebounded in a big way on the big screen, largely down to the massive success of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises. The 1990s suffered from a huge dearth in content after the 80s had almost run the genre into the ground. There were countless movies released during the decade that went on to become firm cult favorites, but few experienced the lasting reputation enjoyed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal.
For some reason, Hollywood decided during the 80s that every major fantasy movie would feature an abundance of strange looking puppets and unconvincing animatronics, which gave birth to the likes of The Beastmaster, he NeverEnding Story, Krull, Legend, Willow and Labyrinth. Admittedly, some of those titles have gone on to become cult classics in their own right, particularly the latter two, but from a technical point of view The Dark Crystal was head and shoulders above the competition.
The Jim Henson Company’s creatures were always the industry standard, and the movie lived up to that billing with some fantastic puppetry that belied the relatively meager budget. It was hardly a massive box office hit, but fans instantly fell in love with the characters and mythology, and over the decades The Dark Crystal’s reputation only grew.
A feature film sequel was in the works a decade ago with animation legend Genndy Tartakovsky at the helm, but things ultimately fell apart. However, it was announced in May of 2017 that Netflix had partnered with The Jim Henson Company to develop a prequel series titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and as you would expect from a streaming service with a seemingly endless supply of cash, no expense was spared in bringing the world back to life.
A star-studded cast was assembled that included Taron Egerton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Simon Pegg, Mark Hamill, Eddie Izzard, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Sigourney Weaver and countless more, while the entire run of ten episodes would be directed by Clash of the Titans and The Incredible Hulk’s Louis Leterrier.
Netflix are very reticent when it comes to revealing the official budgets for their lineup of in-house content, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance certainly looked very costly to produce on a visual level, never mind the expense required to rope in so many big names to voice the sprawling cast of characters.
The streaming service also tend to only announce viewership data when the title in question draws in big numbers, leading many to believe that The Dark Crystal’s cult appeal wasn’t as wide-ranging as Netflix had initially hoped.
Fans had been keeping their fingers crossed about a potential second season ever since the first batch of episodes dropped last August, and chances of a return seemed to increase when the show was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Children’s Program category.
However, despite winning the trophy at last weekend’s ceremony, it was announced the very next day that The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance had become the latest addition to Netflix’s lengthy list of recent cancellations.