Lisa Henson (Sid the Science Kid, Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance), CEO of the Jim Henson Company and executive producer of The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance, confirmed that the 2020 Emmy winner for Outstanding Children’s Programming won’t return for a second season at Netflix. “We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” said the showrunner and daughter of beloved puppeteer Jim Henson (The Muppet Show, Sesame Street) when speaking to io9.
We are honored to announce The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program! Congrats to all of the incredibly talented artists who brought this fantastic world to life and made the series a reality! Thra rejoices! pic.twitter.com/QhrN3nt9gi
— The Dark Crystal (@darkcrystal) September 20, 2020
The television prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 cult-classic fantasy film The Dark Crystal, premiered on Netflix in August of 2019. The “industry-changing puppetry technology” made The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance a uniquely intricate labor of love for Netflix, via io9. “Our company has a legacy of creating rich and complex worlds that require technical innovation, artistic excellence, and masterful storytelling” executive producer Henson said of the series, when speaking with to io9. The elaborate detail that brought the series’ fictional planet of Thra to life can be seen at work in Netflix’s companion behind-the-scenes documentary The Crystal Calls.
In addition to excellence in puppeteering, the children’s program boasted an all-star cast including Mark Hamill (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker), Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Armageddon), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Tomb Raider), Lena Heady (Game of Thrones, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma., The Witch) , Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Palm Springs), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Kingsman: The Secret Service).
The series, which centered around the gelfling’s uprising against their evil overlords the skeksis, ended on a cliffhanger in which the skesis gained an upper-hand against the underdog gelflings. When the showrunners spoke to io9 around the time of the series’ 2019 release, they stated that they pitched “the entire story” to Netflix. This unexpected cancellation cuts short that larger story the creators were trying to tell in Age of Resistance. “We know fans are eager to learn how this chapter of ‘The Dark Crystal’ saga concludes,” Henson commented on the cancellation with io9 “and we’ll look for ways to tell that story in the future.”
Possible avenues to complete the unfinished story of the gelfling resistance include finding the series a new network to call home or a tie-in publication joining the existing books and graphic novels in the Dark Crystal universe. Cinema Blend points out that, with Apple TV+ moving forward with a reboot of Fraggle Rock, Disney+ reworking The Muppet Show and HBO Max carrying Sesame Street, there are plenty of networks that have proven welcoming to Henson Company projects. The high cost of production would still be a hurdle for any network, making the world of print media an inexpensive alternative, especially with an existing precedent of tie-in Dark Crystal books and graphic novels.
With the fate of the planet Thra hanging in the balance, some fans are impatient, pleading Netflix to reverse the decision. A change.org petition titled “Show Netflix that people would watch The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance season 2” has picked up traction, with over 4,000 fans signing in the petition’s first day. One fan who might be willing to sign is actor Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Legion), who tweeted his dismay at the news from Netflix on Monday. Having lent his vocal talents to projects such as Disney’s Moana, Rick and Morty and Steven Universe, perhaps Clement was hoping a continuation of the series would grant him an opportunity to contribute to the program himself.
Awwww man. https://t.co/o4bhCTKH1U
— Jemaine Clement (@AJemaineClement) September 21, 2020
After winning an Emmy award last week, the news of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’s cancellation comes as a surprise, despite the series’ costly design budget. The series’ price tag is merely the suspected cause of cancellation, with no formal reason provided by Netflix or Henson. Netflix only stated “We are grateful to the master artists at the Jim Henson Company for bringing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to life for fans around the world” (Yahoo).
Image credit: Raymond Flotat