How ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ Does Serious Drama

Jim Henson had ambitious plans for The Dark Crystal. It was a movie comprised entirely of puppets, with no humans or celebrity guests. It was also a serious drama, not a comedy like The Muppets or Labyrinth. Maybe in 2019, the world is finally ready for The Dark Crystal as Netflix returned to Henson’s world in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

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

Victor Yerrid was still a kid when the original Dark Crystal movie came out. Since he began working with the Jim Henson company in the ‘90s, he was in a good position to join the team on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He plays characters like The Ritual Master, Kylan and Hup. Hup may end up being the most dramatic character on the show. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is now available on Netflix and this article discusses some of the scenes from episodes midway through the season.

Hup is adorable but he has serious feelings

The Skeksis are terrifying, and the Gelflings are heroically trying to combat them. Hup may be the most adorable character in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, but he has a dramatic arc too.

“When he first starts out, he has this desire to be a paladin but no real means how to get there,” Yerrid said. “He meets Deet first of all and he starts out trying to protect her but also is really taken with her. There’s her and him, he’s sort of smitten. But through trying to protect her, he really ends up having to kind of rise to the challenge of really being a paladin. By the end of the series, by the end of these 10 [episodes], I think he sort of achieves his goal.”

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
L-R: Deet and Hup in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. The hero’s journey isn’t about getting it right on the first try.

“There’s a little bit of hard knocks learning for him along the way,” Yerrid said. “The great thing about podlings is that they’re super durable. They’re these little potato people so even though his ambition to be a paladin is probably a little bigger than he’s really capable of, that sort of fearlessness doesn’t backfire because he can get knocked around and come back fighting.”

Even Hup has moments of self-doubt

When Hup fails to protect Deet, it is a setback. Even more heartbreaking is when Hup beats himself up over it. 

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Hup (R) gets a bath in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

“I gotta tell you, that is one of my most favorite experiences doing that scene,” Yerrid said. “I had training as a dramatic actor prior to my puppetry career but once you get into puppetry, the majority of what you do is sweet, heartfelt kids shows or kind of adulty, risque dirty puppet stuff. This is one of the few opportunities that I’ve had to really do dramatic scenes in a TV puppetry world.”

Victor Yerrid really felt the emotions Hup was going through

Many actors get method to feel the emotions of their scenes. Yerrid did that and had to operate the Hup puppet while performing his drama.

“Hup really is emotional and as an experiment, I tried to get myself in that kind of emotional place and do the scene for real,” Yerrid said. “It’s a little not the norm for what we do but for me, the result at the time just felt like I was really in the scene and Beccy [Henderson] [ was really in the scene. It was just great to be able to do that with puppets.”

The other ‘Dark Crystal’ puppeteers worried about Yerrid

Yerrid’s performance was so good, it wasn’t only Hup who looked sad.

L-R: Hup, Deet and Rian in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Kevin Baker/Netflix

“As puppeteers, we’re close,” Yerrid said. “We’re always kind of on top of each other. There’s always somebody assisting you right next to you, so when I was getting into character, one of the other puppeteers, Helena, who was assisting on Deet at the time, I was off to the side doing my stuff. She came up and was worried I was upset. Her sister who assisted me was like, ‘Leave him alone. He’s preparing for the scene.’”