Netflix's Dark Crystal Prequel Continues Streaming Giant's Charge into Original Content

Netflix's Dark Crystal Prequel Continues Streaming Giant's Charge into Original Features
Who needs Disney for nostalgia?

Netflix is on one.

Hot off Roma's opening weekend, it's sight set squarely on Oscar validation, we get more details for the anticipated prequel to the beloved Henson cult classic Dark Crystal. All this when just yesterday the New York Times covered the streaming giant's gun's blazing foray into original feature content with this piece focused largely on executive Scott Stuber. has all the details on the latest voice talents cast in the Dark Crystal Prequel, which will utilize the kind of classic puppeteering that made the original so unique in the first place. In a way, it's a nostalgia double-whammy. The content takes you back, and the craft itself will do the same, reminding of us the type of filmmaking that felt so exciting and yet tangible long ago before we were flooded with CGI. 

Netflix recently canceled popular series Daredevil and though it came as a surprise to many give the series success, Disney would be launching its own streaming service soon, so why would Netflix want to continue to rely on that Disney IP? 

It makes sense to turn now to other sources of IP and inspiration. 

Netflix has a seemingly endless supply of high profile talents working on special projects, including Martin Scorsese's long-anticipated reunion with his gangster movie muse Robert DeNiro The Irishman. Add into the mix a beloved cult classic with franchise potential, like Dark Crystal, and you can see just how diversified this cinematic portfolio is becoming. 

The original Dark Crystal was a groundbreaking and, well, darker themed effort from Jim Henson and Frank Oz to take their unique visions and creations into a kind of high adventure and fantasy not reserved for children. Gary Kurtz produced Dark Crystal, and if that name sounds familiar it's because he also produced Star WarsEmpire Strikes Back, and American Graffiti. Kurtz passed away recently, but he had gone on record with many interesting stories about working with the greats of that era, like Henson and George Lucas. Like how Harrison Ford kept showing up to the American Graffiti set drunk... 

Legend is that Kurtz left the Star Wars franchise after The Empire Strikes Back because he liked the darker and more adult direction of things, while Lucas was noticing less box office returns and wanted to get Return of The Jedi back to busting blocks, as it were. Lucas went to Endor with the Ewoks. 

Kurtz went to Dark Crystal with Henson, which could not get out of the shadow of the idea that a movie from Henson and Oz with puppets would be for children.

Dark Crystal did not enjoy the best response when it was released in 1982, partly because it didn't feel quite right for said children. 

But the children of 1982 have grown up and their thirst for things from their childhood seems impossible to quench. 

Enter Netflix and the perfect partnership for their ever-growing slate of new content. The Dark Crystal prequel series has confirmed now scores of popular vocal talents, from Mark Hamill to Andy Samberg.

But it's all very interesting when you consider that Mortal Enginesa box office mess of a major release based on lesser known IP struggles to work the way the old theatrical model does, in much the same way Dark Crystal initially did back in 1982. New ideas are simply hard to market, while older ideas, even when they weren't well received at first, might take on a second life one day nobody had ever dreamed of.      

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