Jim Henson and Frank Oz‘s 1982 cinematic fantasy The Dark Crystal remains a marvel of practical visual effects, puppetry, and classical storytelling more than three decades after it was first released in theaters. A longtime favorite of kids and adults, Crystal‘s cult following has grown over the years and the film continues to win over new fans every time it gets inserted into a DVD or Blu-ray player or screens theatrically.
I know it did with me. Earlier this year I blind bought the extras-packed Blu-ray release of The Dark Crystal from Barnes & Noble to see if the movie deserved the love and adulation that has been piled on it since its big-screen debut a week before Christmas 1982. As a proponent of practical effects, models, miniatures, and matte paintings over CGI creations I was amazed by the beautiful imagery that directors Henson and Oz – working from a screenplay by David Odell (Masters of the Universe) – and their team of FX wizards and puppeteers headed by concept artist Brian Froud worked tirelessly to bring to life at a considerable (for the early 1980’s) budget of $17 million.
Back in August of last year, Jim Henson‘s son, Brian, revealed that Fraggle Rock and a sequel to The Dark Crystal were very much alive and in developmental stages.
A sequel to 1982’s Dark Crystal had been talked about for as long as can be remembered, but with little successful movement to show for it. When we last heard about it in the link above, all that was shared was that the sequel would be called The Power of the Dark Crystal, and it would take place centuries after the first film. Story-wise, it would be about a girl named Thurma — who is made of fire and lives at the center of the planet — who is on a mission to obtain a shard of the crystal in hopes of re-igniting the dying sun.
Now comes word via a press release sent out today that not only is the movie still alive, but it has a new director(s) and a new writer on board to make it happen. Brothers Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig have been signed to direct the movie, and Craig Pearce has been tapped to rework the script based on an earlier draft.
Not too long ago, we got our first peek at the new Fraggle Rock comic book from the Jim Henson Company and Archaia Entertainment. According to the folks at Henson, this is just the beginning; they have plans to bring us new comic books based on puppet-fueled titles like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth as well!
Both Labyrinth and Crystal are also majorly beloved titles to those who grew up in the ’80s, and both have had comics based on them before by places like Marvel.
These two planned comics are still in the earliest of stages, but it looks as though first issues of one or both could be seen by sometime at the end of 2010 or maybe the beginning of 2011. At the moment, Fraggle Rock is the main focus of 2010.
While the various Muppet/puppet movies are still in development, other forms of entertainment are on the way to re-ignite an interest and an excitement in these worlds and the characters within them. One example of this is the brand new Fraggle Rock comic book by Jeffrey Brown that’s currently set for release in April. Fans will also have the chance to grab some Fraggle action when an issue is available during the beloved Free Comic Day.
Those of you who can’t wait will be happy to discover that MTV was able to get their hands on some goodies from the new series, including a look at the first cover and a sample of the Free Comic Book Day offering. Click the image above to see the cover of the first issue, and head over to the other side to check out the sample excerpt!