ET Flashback: Defending 'The Dark Crystal'

ET Flashback: Defending 'The Dark Crystal'

Thirty years ago Jim Henson and Frank Oz debuted The Dark Crystal, a groundbreaking, live-action sci-fi fantasy populated completely by imaginative, highly detailed puppets. Back in 1982, ET sat down with the visionary family filmmakers to preview the film, its myriad creatures -- and differentiate it from the inevitable comparisons of the time to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Star Wars.

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"What we're trying to do here is a film that's totally different," Henson told ET. "You can tell just by the look of these things that it's not related at all to The Muppets, and we don't want the audience going in expecting to see Kermit and Piggy, because what they'll get is very, very different."

"If you describe it in the terms of Yoda or E.T., it is a movie entirely of Yodas and E.T.'s," said Oz, who had recently provided the voice of the diminutive Jedi master in The Empire Strikes Back. "There's not one human in it. There's no animation whatsoever. It's really that kind of movie with all these creatures."

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The story of a Gelfling's quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal to restore order to his magical world, The Dark Crystal was a moderate box office success despite having to overcome mixed reviews, wary parents who thought the tone was too dark for their little ones, and the distraction of E.T. and the Star Wars franchise, which had become cinematic phenomenons.

Part of the absolute charm of this particular flashback video is listening to the voices of the late, great Henson and his good friend Oz. It's impossible, when you close your eyes and listen to their voices, not envision Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear (and a dozen other Muppet characters) discussing the merits of The Dark Crystal.

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Although Henson himself said that no sequel to the movie was planned, a follow-up film in 3D called Power of The Dark Crystal has been in the works at The Jim Henson Company for quite some time and, although currently in hiatus due to budgetary concerns, is still a possibility more than 30 years after the original film debuted.