In 1982's The Dark Crystal, Jen embarked on his journey a thousand years after the titular magical crystal cracked. Before that, however, there were more Gelfings and, as Netflix's prequel series suggests, more resistance. Coming soon to Netflix, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance delves into Thra's history a little more. At Comic-Con International, the show's star-studded cast and creators were on hand with an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming series.
Present at the panel were stars Taron Egerton and Mark Hamill.
Taron watched the movie for the first time when he was six or seven. He called it "enchanting" and "as you can see, it's looking quite good,"
About Mark joining this project, "What I loved about it was jow daring and dark it was... it's really come into its own. It's like Return to Oz which was criticized for being too dark or children but over the years has gained a true following. The last time I saw Gary Kurtz before he passed, I told him I was doing this... and he gave it his approval... so that's what you look for... I don't care about the trappings and billing. You look for projects that are a challenge, you look for something you want to see."
"Tonally, it's just unlike anything else... I remember that feeling of just being a little bit on the edge of my seat as a kid, and that's what I loved about it," said Taron. Taron is playing a Gelfling who lives in service to the Skeksis and aren't aware of their true nature. Something horrifying that happens in the first episode helps his character realize their true nature. He sees them draining the essence of the Gelfling and sets off on a quest to make the GElfilings, "it's really a coming of age, cometh the hour sort of thing," said Taron.
"Somewhere between when I first played a berserk clown, I've become typecast as a villain in voiceover... and it's funny because my agent wishes I got Alfred" because Alfred's in every episode. "You're liberated to make bold choices you wouldn't be able to make when the camera is on you," added Mark.
"One of my career highlights to this day is being on The Muppet Show the Star Wars episode," Mark went on to say. "To be able to do the things you loved as a kid for a living, it's the luckiest thing in the world."
"Funny to think that you would never go back to do something that you were known for," Mark quipped about coming back to a franchise that he already loved, clearly alluding to Star Wars.
Lisa Henson was a PA in preproduction for the original, and returning to it so much later, "we felt Thra had a past, a present and a future. It was so inviting to us to explore what happened before the movie." A lot of puppets were in storage still, and they copied a few of the old puppets and the vast majority of the characters are new.
About puppetry and not relying a lot on CGI, the director Louis Leterrier said, "It was always puppets, thanks to Netflix." There were some challenges involved with staging, and as the director said, "every shot is the most complicated shot of my career."
Mark said the puppeteers were so expressive and, like voiceover actors, "the core thing is that they're really good actors."
About finding his voice, Taron said, "We arrive, and it's there, it's inspiring in itself. The work that everyone else has done feeds your performance, really... we really are just the top layer of a really tall cake of lots of people working very very hard."
"This is the thing that I"m most proud of that we've done since my siblings and myself have been running the company," said Lisa Henson. "It was developed through great respect and love of the original...ultimately, we weren't afraid to do it, but it was a lot to achieve and push for."
Taron and Mark met for the first time before the panel, and Taron said "Mark was in my first role in Kingsman: Secret Service and we sad;y never met and I was heartbroken because he's Luke fucking Skywalker. From a young age, as you are for so many little boys and girls the world over, you're a hero and truly inspiring man and the nicest person."
About seeing characters from the first film, the director said, "Yes, do you like Fizzgigs? We have some Fizzgigs."
Mark's voice in the series is under embargo until it comes out, but Mark was able to do an impression with Lisa's permission. He then pressured Taron to sing an Elton John song.
Mark was then presented with an award from Comic-Con, the 2019 Comic-Con Icon Award. It's their highest honor who's created awareness of comics and popular art forms.
The panel then screened the full first episode, introduced by Mark Hamill.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance features the voices of Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nathalie Emmanuel , Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham Carter, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, Theo James, Toby Jones, Shazad Latif, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Alicia Vikander, Harvey Fierstein, Mark Hamill, Ralph Ineson, Jason Isaacs, Keegan-Michael Key, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, Donna Kimball and more. The series arrives on Netflix August 30.