Tonight at the "Netflix and Chills" panel, Linda Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company (and daughter of the late puppeteer) was joined by director Louis Leterrier on SYFY WIRE’s Main Stage at NYCC to talk about the upcoming prequel series to Jim Henson's classic movie The Dark Crystal.
The series, titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, will revisit the world that was first unveiled back in 1982. Of course, special effects technology has advanced considerably in the past 36 years, but Leterrier assured the crowd that Age of Resistance will look and feel like the original film did. New technology will only be used when absolutely necessary, like erasing rods and puppeteers from the frame. Everything else is entirely practical.
"I love CGI, but we’re not using CGI in this one," the director said to a huge round of applause, before adding, “Puppets, man. Puppets!"
Though the show does employ multiple puppeteers, with Henson even quipping that "every puppeteer in England worked on our show," they did take some advantage of CGI tech, but only to remove the puppeteers from scenes, which allowed them to do more action-oriented scenes that wouldn't have been possible in year's past.
"We're so pleased that that is pure puppetry," said Henson. "If you take the puppeteers out, they're still being moved by the puppeteers. We'll have a very simple scene of a character that's doing a normal gesture, and that's many puppeteers to accomplish that."
When discussing the timeframe of the show, Henson explained that they referred back to a memorable moment in the original, when Jen and Kira stop at the Wall of Destiny and see the ruins of the Gelfing culture. "We took that as our jumping off point for the whole series. What was that culture? What was lost? What was that beautiful Gelfling civilization?"
While Henson promised a "big canvas" for the show that dives into Gelfling history, she said they took inspiration from everything from Game of Thrones to The Last Airbender. "Shows that have a lot of depth and detail built into the world-building."
"We need to serve the fans," said Leterrier. "But also, we need to create new fans. Kids these days haven't seen puppets. They've seen fuzzy puppets. They haven't seen puppets that look like this. This is quite different. It's quite scary. There's a lot of action, a lot of drama, a few deaths. So, a lot of that stuff, it's multi-generational, but it definitely brings in everything you know about The Dark Crystal."
Leterrier went on to explain that many of the puppeteers who worked on the original Dark Crystal helped recreate the look for Age of Resistance, but the production also shot in VistaVision, a hi-res widescreen format that was used to film the original.
"You're going to like it!" Leterrier said to another round of applause before the crowd was treated to a new featurette highlighting the details that went into making the series, which ended with the tagline "Return to the age of wonder."
Given that the two said they still have a lot of work to do before the film is finished, Netflix has yet to reveal an official release date. In the meantime, be sure to check out SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.