Puppets from Netflix's reboot of The Dark Crystal go on show at the BFI

23 August 2019
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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Children of the 1980s rejoice! An exhibition of puppets and artworks from new Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance are now on show at the British Film Institute in London. The new series, which is due to air on 30 August, is a prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 film The Dark Crystal, a cult classic that helped shape the look of fantasy films in the decade and beyond.

The free exhibition showcases some of the puppets, costumes, props and sets that were used in the new Netflix series to create the world of the Thra. Its creators, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, were keen to respect the legacy of the original film, which was lauded for its revolutionary use of animatronics, and have used little CGI in favour of puppets and hand-built sets.

The original film follows the story of Jen, a “gelfling” who has to save his homeland by tracking down a part of the eponymous crystal and returning it to the source. The brainchild of Muppets directors Henson and Frank Oz (who also voices Yoda in the Star Wars films), many of the characters were developed by British fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, who also worked on another 1980s classic Labyrinth.

The new Netflix series returns to this world but is set before the 1980s film. In it a trio of gelflings must defend their way of life from The Skesis, a bird-like species of baddies also prominent in the original film. The new series has been directed by Clash of the Titans and The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier.

The exhibition runs until 6 September and is accompanied by screenings of a behind-the-scenes documentary.

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Laura Snoad

Laura is a London-based arts journalist who has been working for It’s Nice That on a freelance basis since 2016.

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