‘Labyrinth 2’: What (and Who) We Want to See In Scott Derrickson’s Sequel
The Jim Henson Company has been hinting at a sequel to Labyrinth for a long time. They just had success with The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. Scott Derrickson recently left the sequel to his Marvel movie Doctor Strange earlier this year. It seems he’s found his next project. On May 26, Deadline broke the news that Derrickson will direct a movie sequel to Labyrinth.
[Spoiler Alert: This article includes some spoilers for the 1986 movie Labyrinth.]
Deadline also reports Maggie Levin is writing the script and Derrickson’s Sinister and Doctor Strange partner C. Robert Cargill is also producing with him. Here’s a brief recap of where Labyrinth left off and where a sequel could pick up 35 years later by the time it hits screens.
How ‘Labyrinth’ became a cult hit
After several Muppet movies, Jim Henson began experimenting with other puppet movies. The Dark Crystal was his bold all puppet movie, with no humans at all. It was not a hit in 1982, though it pioneered many puppeteering techniques Henson and his team would utilize in later movies, and would be appreciated in time.
Labyrinth came after The Muppets Take Manhattan. It featured a combination of humans and puppets. The Goblin King (David Bowie) took Sarah (Jennifer Connelly)’s baby brother Toby (Toby Froud) at her request. She ventured into the labyrinth to rescue him facing different puppet creations and solving puzzles meant to divert her.
In the end, Sarah stood up to the Goblin King and told him he had no power over her. She got Toby back and claimed her independence, but she invited all her friends from the labyrinth to stay with her in her real life.
Labyrinth only played theaters for three weeks in 1986 according to Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History. Its popularity only grew through cable and home video viewings, and Derrickson is the right age to have grown up with it. Now, not a year goes by without some theater putting on a Labyrinth screening.
Bring back Jennifer Connelly for ‘Labyrinth 2’
It’s safe to say that any Labyrinth sequel would have to include Sarah. Labyrinth was one of her first roles. She was a teenager and depicted the sort of frustrations teenagers felt at parents or stepparents, with responsibilities like babysitting. They were heightened by the challenges of the labyrinth.
35 years later, Connelly is an Oscar-winning actor with kids of her own. She has been supportive of Labyrinth since, recording new retrospective interviews for anniversary showings. So let’s hope she’d be interested in reprising her role of Sarah. It wouldn’t have to be a lead in the movie. It could be her child discovering the labyrinth, or maybe a pair of children.
Show us Toby all grown up
Froud was the newborn son of puppeteer Brian Froud. He made his movie debut for being born at the right time. Now in his 30s, Toby Froud went into the family business, has made his own puppet short films and worked for Laika.
Toby Froud doesn’t act much in front of the camera but hopefully he’d make an exception to reprise his most famous role. He should wear some sort of red and white striped outfit, whether pajamas or adult clothes. Maybe Toby could venture into the labyrinth himself this time, but even if he doesn’t, he’s got to be there to show what became of him.
Don’t try to replace David Bowie in ‘Labyrinth 2’
Sadly, Bowie died in 2016. Labyrinth was one of a few movies he acted in, and brought his stage presence the Goblin King, as well as composing its music with songs like “Magic Dance” and “Underground.” No one can recapture Bowie, so don’t even try.
A lot can happen in 35 years. Plus, Sarah did defeat the Goblin King so anything could have become of the labyrinth in the ensuing decades. Perhaps Sarah even took over as the Goblin Queen and tried to rule it peacefully. Anyway, this is the biggest hurdle to a Labyrinth sequel so surely Derrickson and Levin have thought of a solution.
Bring back the puppets
Since Labyrinth was not a huge hit in its initial release, the puppet characters did not cross over into any appearances in other Jim Henson productions. For fans of Labyrinth, characters like Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didymus are as famous as Bowie and Connelly. Sure, Labyrinth 2 will be a chance to create new puppets and meet more characters from the goblin world, but make sure Sarah’s old friends are there too.
While we’re on the subject, make sure it remains a puppet world. No one wants to see a CGI Labyrinth, although the Henson Company’s work on The Dark Crystal shows they can still break new ground in puppetry. They can use digital effects to achieve new things with physical puppets, but don’t throw out the puppets. Derrickson has not directed a puppet movie per se, but surely he has experience with practical effects from his horror films.
Hopefully Scott Derrickson is directing a musical
One of the reasons Labyrinth has stood the test of time is the music. Fans can sing along with “Magic Dance” and “Underground,” or sing them long after the movie ended. Songs like “As the World Falls Down” and “Within You” were haunting ballads that stuck with you. Again, you can’t replace Bowie, but a follow-up movie should still be a musical.
Perhaps someone like Bret McKenzie, who captured the Muppet sound for his movies with James Bobin, could come up with an original sound that suits Labyrinth without trying to mimic Bowie. If anyone knows that’s impossible, it’s McKenzie.