How ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ Changed Classic Characters

Many fans of The Dark Crystal spent Labor Day weekend revisiting the world of Thra in Netflix’s new series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Though the series is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson movie, some of the characters are in both the film and the TV show. Even new Gelfling characters carry the spirit of the film’s Jen and Kira.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance executive producers Jeff Addiss and Javier Grillo-Marxuach spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet in Los Angeles about the show. Addiss is also a co-creator of the series with Will Matthews. They explained their new take on some classic Dark Crystal characters. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is now streaming on Netflix.

Skektek hasn’t lost his eye yet in ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’

Since The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a prequel, some of the characters who span both the film and the show are younger. In SkekTek’s case, that means he hasn’t suffered a defining injury yet.

“We went into the [Jim Henson] Creature Shop, one of our first meetings there, and they were sculpting SkekTek,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “Somebody said, ‘Hey, he’s supposed to have a mechanical eye.’ And they said, “Well, we’re going to add that later” and we said, ‘Wait a minute. We have a narrative need here that needs to be met.’

Skektek in The Dark Crystal
Skektek in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

Age of Resistance got to explain how SkekTek ended up with a mechanical eye.

“That got folded into the narrative and became the narrative vehicle by which we start the story of the Scientist,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “So we would go to the creature shop and we’d see what they were doing and a lot of the times what they were doing informed what we would do.”

‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ gives the Skeksis more individual personalities

With 10 hours to tell story, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance got to explore the individual Skeksis’ personalities who weren’t defined in the film.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Skeksis in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | John Wilson/Netflix

“The Skeksis are by and large the same ones from the original film because 18 UrSkeks came from the heavens and then split into the Skeksis and the Mystics,” Grillo-Marxuach explained. “The challenge writing the Skeksis was giving them personalities that were distinct and giving them desires within their own power structure so that we could actually write scenes of intrigue between the Skeksis.”

‘Dark Crystal’ fans have seen Rian before

Rian is one of the Gelfling heroes in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He was not in the film, but die hard fans of The Dark Crystal have probably seen him in other spinoffs.

“Some of those characters, like Rian, came from the YA novel and even before that came from an animated version of the show,” Addiss said. “Then we tweaked that character.”

The Grunaks are totally new in ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’

Addis, Matthews and Grillo-Marxuach did invent some new species in the world of Thra. 

“We created the Grunaks whole cloth because we had that idea of them having their mouths stitched shut,” Addiss said. “So we needed something new.”

Grillo-Marxuach added, “Basically, our philosophy became for any task that has to be performed on Thra, some creature has been domesticated by the Skeksis to do that. So the show is just teeming with life in every corner of it because there’s a creature for every application.”

Aughra had to be kept in the dark in ‘Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’

Aughra was in the movie also, but because Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance takes place in the past, she couldn’t learn anything that would contradict her actions in the movie.

Aughra in the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Aughra in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

“How do you keep her involved without the power overwhelming everything,” Grillo-Marxuach said. “So Aughra was one of the more interesting characters in terms of how do you create narrative that’s dramatic when you have a character that’s that powerful.”