The Dark Crystal was a Jim Henson creation that got a tepid response from viewers and critics when it was released in 1982. This was majorly because Henson fans were accustomed to seeing adorable Muppets, rather something genuinely special. Presently a cult classic, the live action fantasy revolves around Jen and Kira. They are the last two individuals from the Gelfling tribe, who are attempting to prevent the insidiousness Skeksis from vanquishing the world. Here are a few facts about the film that was promoted as the first film which didn’t have any human on-screen character.
1. THE ILLUSTRATOR, BRIAN FROUD, WAS DISCOVERED BY JIM HENSON SIX YEARS BEFORE THE DARK CRYSTAL WAS RELEASED.
Henson saw a little art from the British artist in a book called Once Upon a Time. Pretty soon, he requested that he team up. The movie was a mix of symbolism from the brains of both Henson and Froud. Henson acknowledged Froud for building up The Dark Crystal’s “symbolic structure.”
2. FROUD GOT DESIGN IDEAS FROM EATING LOBSTER DINNERS.
After making the most of his suppers, he would stick the shells together for inspiration on designs.
3. BRIAN FROUD MET HIS WIFE ON THE SET.
Brian Froud met his future spouse, Wendy Midener, a puppet designer, while producing The Dark Crystal.She was employed to shape 3-D forms of Brian’s Gelflingdesigns for the film. She later etched and helped puppeteer Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back.
4. HENSON WROTE THE MOVIE’S ORIGINAL OUTLINE WHILE IT SNOWED IN AT A HOTEL.
Henson and his daughter Cheryl were compelled to spend the night at a Howard Johnson’s at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City amidst a snow squall on February 6, 1978. With little else to do, Henson hand-wrote different pages of the film’s framework for screenwriter David Odell.
5. HENSON MADE A COMPULSORY BOOK RECOMMENDATION.
Both Brian Froud and The Dark Crystal screenwriter David Odell were advised by Henson to read Jane Roberts’ 1972 book Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. He told them to take into account Roberts’ encounters while channeling a multi-dimensional being that existed outside time and space. Odell stated that Aughra’s line “He could be anywhere then” was influenced by Roberts’ book.
6. THE ORIGINAL GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES WERE AN INFLUENCE TOO.
Frank Oz stated that Henson wasn’t reluctant to alarm the youngsters who were his fans from the Muppet films and his puppets from Sesame Street. He wanted to return to the darkness of the original stories by the Brothers Grimm.
7. IT WAS FRANK OZ’S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT.
Along with the well-known puppeteer performing as Aughra and Chamberlain in the film, Oz accepted Henson’s offer to co-direct the film. Oz evaluated that Henson helmed “70 percent” of the film. Having two directors was so confounding and slowed things down for the group so much that an assistant director was tasked with appraising Henson and Oz that everyone wanted Henson to direct himself. He refused the request.
8. SIX PERFORMERS WERE OPERATING EACH CREATURE AT THE SAME TIME.
It took six individuals to work the animatronic Skeksiscreatures. While two were stuffed in the winged animal like body, there were four others who dealt with a stage underneath the surface. A group of performers worked for at least six months before shooting even started.
9. THE MOST COMPLICATED SCENES WERE SHOT FIRST.
Shooting started on April 15, 1981. One of the primary scenes shot was the enormous confrontation amongst Jen and Kira and the Skeksis in the Crystal Chamber.
10. THE SKEKSIS WERE MODELED ON THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS BY HENSON.
They were wrath, voracity, sloth, pride, desire, jealousy, and gluttony. Since there were more than seven of them, a few sins were rehashed. Froud depicted some being a reptile, a predatory bird and a dragon.
11. ALL WAS SHOT WITH A FAINT COLOR TINT TO LOOK LIKE FROUD’S CONCEPTUAL DESIGNS.
This was finished with a “light flex” by Oscar-winning cinematographer Oswald Morris. He resigned after his work on The Dark Crystal.
12. THE SKEKSIS AND MYSTICS INITIALLY HAD AN INDO-EUROPEAN ROOTED LANGUAGE.
David Odell wrote in the first script for the Skeksis and the Mystics to share a similar language. It had the Skeksis using a “cruder, uglier” form of it. Nevertheless, the performers were excessively busy working on their movements. This made it impossible to learn a new language, so they generally talked nonsense. Until …
13. THE FIRST PREVIEW AUDIENCE DESPISED THE MOVIE.
A Washington D.C. group was one of the principal gatherings of individuals to ever witness the first cut on March 19, 1982. What’s more, they didn’t care for it. As it is, they were confused and miserable for not understanding what the Skeksis were saying. Thereafter, Henson requested that Odell include some voiceovers and some new dialogue so that the Skeksis could be re-recorded into English.
14. HENSON PAID $15 MILLION OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET TO BUY THE FILM FROM ITS STUDIO.
ITC Entertainment had new authority as Robert Holmes à Court. He gave the film small advertising after its terrible first screening. Stressed that his baby wasn’t going to get the opportunity it merited, Henson spent all the cash available he had to purchase his film from Court. The film came in third on its opening weekend (losing to Tootsie and The Toy). Eventually, the movie that was made on a $15 million budget wound up making $40 million in the cinema world.
15. A SEQUEL HAS BEEN IN PROGRESS FOR A WHILE.
It has been stated that Jim Henson’s kids and a part of the first creative team have been chipping away at Power of the Dark Crystal. This is a sequel and it’s been under production for a long time now. As it is, Director Shane Abbess left the project. This is because the executives wouldn’t permit him to follow Henson’s manually written notes on what he wanted the sequel to look like.