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Dance Magic Dance Again? LABYRINTH, DARK CRYSTAL Sequels Possibly in the Works

Funny this is happening, given that we JUST posted a list of ten movies from childhood that scared the pants off of us. It would appear, quietly and buried in the middle of an article about something completely different, Variety has confirmed that the Jim Henson Company is currently working on four different films based on properties they own. FOUR. After the resurgence of interest in muppetry since The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted performed quite well, it seems the Henson Company is attempting to go all nostalgia on our asses again with some of its most beloved titles. Here’s what the article said:

“It [the Jim Henson company] is also working on a quartet of legacy titles in the Henson library — a Fraggle Rock movie that’s been in development at New Regency; a sequel to 1982’s The Dark Crystal; a sequel to 1986’s Labyrinth; and a movie based on the Emmet Otter character.”

HT: The Mary Sue

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Wowzers! Zoinks! Other exclamations said by cartoon characters! Any one of these titles would be enough to get me and others of my ilk excited (except Emmet the Otter… sorry, I just don’t have much attachment to that one), but to have all of them at once?!? How exciting would that be?! We Nerdist folk would do a dance of proverbial joy, Balki style, if that were the case… but don’t get out your Hoggle and Sir Didymus plush toys just yet.

It’s definitely not a sure thing. This is just one article, and an article that wasn’t even about the Jim Henson Company, just the fact that Billy Crystal is joining the production of Which Witch (which I’m guessing will be a movie about witches who work at the sandwich shop Which Wich). There has been no official word from anyone in the Henson camp, and indeed the last thing mentioned by anyone in the know was very much in the “not really” camp.

In a series of quotes in Vulture back in May, CEO Lisa Henson, daughter of the legendary puppeteer, seemed to intimate that there was nothing concrete. Of the Dark Crystal movie, she said they were more interested currently in “interactive world building,” referencing the serialized nature of something like Avatar: The Last Airbender as something else they were pursuing.

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As for Labyrinth, Henson was even less affirmative, saying ““We don’t actually have anything planned, and we particularly don’t have anything announced about Labyrinth…It’s a property that we know is very popular. It holds a special place in people’s hearts, including ours, because it was Jim Henson’s own personal big epic movie, and it wasn’t necessarily appreciated in its day. But it’s become very beloved over time, and perhaps that causes us to treat it with even more respect. We do have some ideas about it, but we’re being very careful and cautious.”

The one that actually seems like it’s being made currently, or, again, back in May when a statement was given, features those who like to dance their cares away. “It’s in development at New Regency,” Lisa Henson confirms. “We’re producing it, along with Ivan Reitman’s production company, Montecito. We also have a director attached, but it’s never been announced, so I can’t say. And we’re working on the script. We’re all very excited about it.” Fraggle Rock seems a sure thing to cater to the fans of those aforementioned Muppet movies and makes perfect sense to be the next project rolled out.

So, it’s not much of a news story. Perhaps Variety got some insight that the Henson Company hadn’t officially announced yet; still, it seems a pretty sure bet that SOMETHING will be happening with The Dark Crystal and possibly Labyrinth, eventually. Everyone’s just playing it very close to the spandex bulge. (Who wouldn’t?)

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  1. redtail says:

    I doubt anything will come of any of this “news”

  2. I read an updated article that says Henson people already denied for it to be in actual ‘development’. And fans saying Bowie should return might have a point, but it’s probably not going to happen. He wasn’t even that happy with the original to begin with. He even prevented Henson and Lucas from theatrically re-releasing it 8 years ago for the 20th anniversary, I seriously doubt he’d want to reprise the role.

  3. Vince says:

    They’ve been trying to make “The Dark Crystal 2” (“The Power of the Dark Crystal” — there’s actually a lot of pre-production work you can find about it online) for years, and nothing substantial ever came out of it. Genndy Tartokovsky – yes, the Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab, Hotel Transylvania animator – was once going to make it his directorial debut, believe it or not, and it was supposed to be the Jim Henson company’s follow up to MirrorMask. But as we all know, it never happened. 
    I don’t believe any of these movies will materialize, unfortunately.
    HOWEVER, if you want to see some cool Dark Crystal-esque fantasy, check out Toby Froud (yes, the son of “Dark Crystal” illustrator Brian Froud)’s “Lessons Learned”. Which was funded by Kickstarter backers and brought to life with puppetry, not by Henson, but by Heather Henson’s “IBEX Puppetry”. It’s really cool. 
    If these actually materialize, I hope they’re good. They have a lot to live up to. The Emmet Otter one, at least, just has to be better than the TV special, which has significantly less weight attached to it than the two classic films and the beloved TV series (though I love me some “Jug Band Christmas”). Good luck to the Henson company this time!