On Friday, Netflix aired the first episode from its highly-anticipated series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” delighting fans crowded into San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H – and the streaming giant additionally released a sneak peek of a “making of” documentary special that will serve almost as an 11th episode of the series.
The documentary will allow audiences an opportunity to experience the intricate, handcrafted artwork that populates every frame of “Resistance,” director Louis Leterrier explained at a press conference before the panel.
“Resistance,” co-created and written by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, in addition to writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, has been in the works for over five years and is a prequel, not a reboot, of the original 1982 feature film “The Dark Crystal”. The timeline caused some questioning if fans would be distracted during the series by knowing where the story eventually ends up.
“We don’t really expect the audience to be thinking about that when they’re watching this,” executive producer – and daughter of Jim Henson, creator of “The Muppets” and co-director of the original film – Lisa Henson remarked when asked, speaking to the poetic nature of knowing our own narratives will change profoundly in the far future.
In addition to Henson and Leterrier, the panel featured stars Taron Egerton and Mark Hamill, both of whom reveled in the ability to participate in the project. “To be able to do the things you loved as a kid,” Mark Hamill remarked, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I’m so grateful.”
“The amount of craft that goes into the making of the puppets, the artistry that goes into those creatures, and then the guys who operate them. We arrive and it’s there. It’s inspiring in itself, the work that everyone else has done kind of feeds your performance,” Egerton said.
It’s that level of craftsmanship that spurred the creation of the documentary, in order to better expose the extensive work put into the tangible elements that underlie any kind of computer enhancement on the series.
“CGI is the norm now,” Leterrier said, but puppets provided a wonderful obsolescence that he wanted to shine a light on. “There’s more puppeteering, more captured on camera than on anything I’ve ever done.”
Those involved also could not say enough about the puppeteers who committed to bringing the series to life. “Every shot was the most complicated shot of my career. But the true heroes are the puppeteers,” Leterrier said, a sentiment that Henson shared earlier in the day.
“We can never forget about the incredibly hard work of the puppeteers. It’s extreme physicality,” Henson said. “It’s hard to explain. You just have to see it and see the nuance and delicacy.”
Fans don’t have much longer to wait. “The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance” premieres Aug. 30 on Netflix.