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Spierig Brothers spill a bit on POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL!!!

Hey folks, Harry here and here's a report on a recent convention in the land down under upon THE POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL. Not a terrible lot of news - and I know that I've heard the 'cg' character is mainly due to a 'fire' element of the creation, I believe... but take a read... at the very least you might learn what being "Boba Fetted" is all about!

Howdy Harry, I attended an Australian geek centric convention on the weekend named 'Supernova' in Sydney NSW and thought I'd let you in on a few tidbits the super cool Spierig brothers gave on their very informative Daybreakers panel regarding The Power of the Dark Crystal. I was kinda surprised that nobody had reported this info yet as I saw at least on guy behind me incessantly writing down on a notepad anytime the brothers spoke, maybe it was for community newspaper or something. Anyways I digress, so with a fractured memory caused by the traditional three day bender that follows the event to ensure that me and my friends still feel like grown ass men afterward getting giddy with excitement at the prospect of meeting Lou Ferrigno and Michael Winslow, I'll just list the details I remember. Filming will take place in Australia after approximately two of heavy pre-production. The Brothers stated that they would rather shoot in Queensland where they shot Daybreakers and utilizing , but would happily work in Sydney too. They are shooting in 3D. Original conceptual designer Brian Froud is working on the picture. They are still figuring out how much is gonna be practical versus how much will be CG, but assured us that they are using practical puppets as much as possible. Motion Capture will be utilized, they kinda hinted that it may be for a newer character to the universe. There was some deceptive talk of the Skeksis and how they would return after plight in the previous movie in one way or another... I think that was about it as far as details went. I got the feeling that the brothers obliviously love the source material and hearing them talk about it with such passion really made it sink in that this is really happening, another Dark Crystal film! The rest of the Supernova convention was action packed to say the least, I got Boba Fetted* by Boba Fett, well the kid from Attack of the Clones! He then shadow boxed me as he lead a cosplay groupie into the V.I.P area. True story. Anyways, If you use this call me Wompaone. *Boba Fetted is when a homeboy slightly tilts his head at you as a sign of mutual respect, I don't care the Urban Dictionary says!
Readers Talkback
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  • June 24, 2010, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Just Watched This Movies Yesterday


    I mean, the original Dark Crystal. It's got some good stuff--and you can tell the Avatar people watched this movie more than once, that's all I'm saying. But for the most part, it moves at the speed of molasses. Ambitious, but it really doesn't tell the story well. Lots of interesting characters, though. Except the lead characters, who look like wooden puppets.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:21 a.m. CST

    More practical please

    by Spifftacular Squirrel Girl

    The Dark Crystal is easily one of my top 5 favorite films so I'm hoping that the sequel will be good. Consider my fingers officially crossed.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:24 a.m. CST

    "This Movies" . . . Hah. Just the One Movie.


    Dark Crystal. I have it on Blu-Ray. Not particularly impressive on Blu-Ray, either. <br><br> An I think there are very interesting stories to be told in this universe. I just think the original Dark Crystal is ploddingly paced, for the most part. And that's fine, use practical puppets, but if there are Gelflings, don't make 'em the way Jen and Kira are. They look like someone bought them at a hobby store. Just sayin'.<br><br>Perhaps I didn't fall in love with the source material enough as a kid, even though I watched the movie several times. But I can compare it to another movie I've rewatched several times recently: 2001. 2001 moves slowly on purpose. It works. Really well.<br><br>I don't think Dark Crystal moves so slowly on purpose. I think it's because neither Jim Henson nor Frank Oz had any experience directing a movie like that.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:26 a.m. CST

    It's nice to see that you're using that...

    by deciple87

    ...chick-magnet net handle sir.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:26 a.m. CST

    I also want to hear...

    by catlettuce4

    "Trevor Jones will be doing the music"

  • June 24, 2010, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Boba Fetted?

    by BP_drills_america_a_new_asshole

    I thought that was when you dress up in a Boba Fett costume and stick you dick up a girl's ass from behind. No?

  • June 24, 2010, 6:33 a.m. CST


    by Bouncy X

    didnt they all merge with the good guys and form those new characters at the end? or are we gonna find out a few of them hid cuz they liked detoriating? lol

  • June 24, 2010, 6:40 a.m. CST

    Bouncy X

    by Spifftacular Squirrel Girl

    I'm just assuming that there will be some new threat.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:40 a.m. CST

    If ti can be done practically, it should be done practically.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • June 24, 2010, 6:46 a.m. CST

    what the hell is power of the dark crystal?

    by RedBull_Werewolf

    never heard of it, sounds like a lame book like peter jackson and the Olympias

  • June 24, 2010, 6:50 a.m. CST

    I was once Boba Fetted.....

    by Righteous Brother

    by the lead singer of Balaam and the Angel.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:59 a.m. CST

    They should have done this for yoda and the prequels

    by TheJudger

    Of course ILM didn't know about IR camera tech yet, which is what Cameron used for avatar and the frame rate would have been horribly low back then as well. <p> Heres what you do. Make the puppet, fully functional. And make a head mounted ir camera that can track the puppet, that or the puppeter can preform the puppet inside a box containing tons of ir cameras. You laser scan the original puppet and you use the 3d ir captured data to animate the face of the cgi replacement. thsi way you retain the true puppet like animation in the cgi replica. So it can do more than the hand up the ass one can, and yes they should have done this for yoda. And instead of using the not yet ready ir cameras back then they could have used the phosphorescent paint trick on a silicone or latex staurt freeborn yoda puppet copy. Oh well. Well you can do that for this. not the phos paint trick. use the Ir camera's they are cheaper and they work. Make all the creature practical- laser scan them and clean them up in zbrush and 3dmax/maya. Mocap the preformances with the ir cams. Tada

  • June 24, 2010, 7:06 a.m. CST

    practical is one thing but putting the entire

    by TheJudger

    puppets body into frame in a scen that demand more realist movement is the reason they need CGI backups. Also the Ir cameras since they retain 1:1 data the CGI ones should be pretty hard to detect. That's why I get pissed when I see what happened to yoda. If they used the back up leavesden yoda head, fab a puppet to work just like the one did in empire (cuase lets face it the improvements in jedi looked off) they could have preformed the puppet in front or an array of phosphoresent sensitive cameras to get a true 1:1 3d animated version of that puppet as control points. Then all they would have had to do was laserscan the original puppet, and add some more hair to the cgi replica to represent a yonger version of yoda. Since he only ages 1 year for every ten he lives. He should have looked 83 or so in phantom in contrast to his 90 year old look in jedi. So..... Damn some things really hit nerves with me. I called ilm back shortly after phantom menance to inform. didnt do shit.

  • June 24, 2010, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by Shubniggorath

    The Dark Crystal moved slowly because Jim Henson wanted it to move that way. That narrative structure is poetic in nature and reflects the meditative quality of the Mystics.

  • June 24, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST


    by Shubniggorath

    I hated CGI Yoda... this would have been a vast improvement.

  • June 24, 2010, 7:26 a.m. CST



    You get the Talkback award of the day

  • June 24, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Of the day? Shit! Of the week.

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    Three letters - W. T. F. Nicely done, TheJudger.

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    by Joely_Boy

    I'm gonna shank you in your sleep you fuckin' cunt.

  • June 24, 2010, 7:43 a.m. CST

    I thought this movie wasn't happening?

    by Yeti

    Am confused and prone to wandering.

  • June 24, 2010, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Spifftacular Squirrel Girl

    by Bouncy X

    that's just an awesome name, sounds like it should be a new cartoon or something. good job. :P

  • June 24, 2010, 7:52 a.m. CST

    I assumed Brian Froud was dead.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Good to know I'm wrong.

  • June 24, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST


    by Sith Witch

    How could you think he was dead when he and his wife Wendy are releasing a new book/calendar/tarot deck every six months? They're all over the place like never before!

  • June 24, 2010, 8:40 a.m. CST


    by Sith Witch

    ILM did do something about it. The Yoda in Epis. 1 is now digital, based on the puppet they previously had. Have you been to Star Wars in Concert, or seen the documentary on the Epis. III disc, which both include a sample of what we'll see of the "'lil green friend" when he arrives on Blu Ray?

  • June 24, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Sith Witch

    by ClayG

    He said he 'assumed' Brian Froud was dead, not he 'thought.' In my experience, people don't 'think' at the same time they 'assume'. Unfortunately.

  • June 24, 2010, 8:55 a.m. CST

    I'm glad this project isn't dead...

    by bubcus

    ... and I am hoping this sequel doesn't just turn into a "fan film." <BR><BR> Sith Witch, you have me intrigued to see what they've done with Yoda for the Blue Rays. I'd given up on Star Wars a long while ago but you've peaked my interest.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    When's Labyrinth 2 coming out?

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • June 24, 2010, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by JackSlater4

    Don't you know Jim Henson's creature shop has been working with CG for a long ass time?<P> Don't you realize everyone that knew him talks about how if Jim Henson were alive he would have embraced CG for it's story telling possibilites, and how he was always forward thinking with new technology? You fool.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:20 a.m. CST

    "...after two of heavy pre-production..."

    by blackwood

    Fuck, he means years, doesn't he. I thought this film has, like, at least five years pre already. DAMN YOU GENNEDY!<p>I finally saw DAYBREAKERS, which I liked. I hope they do right by the material. DARK CRYSTAL is indelible to me, part of my foundations. Jim Henson proved that puppetry is a genuine art -- I hope this film remembers that.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Jim Henson and CG

    by blackwood

    Anyone remember "Storyteller"? I'm pretty sure one episode with a dragon has CG in it. I don't doubt Jim would have been all on board with CG -- but I do think he would have done it, you know, beautifully and surprisingly.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST


    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    ..was one of the worst pieces of crap I have seen in years. What an utter waste of two hours. That thing was on the level of one of the low-end SyFy originals. Turrrrble movie.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    "using practical puppets as much as possible."


    means CGI will rule this land. I hope not.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    storyteller cgi?

    by Dollar Bird

    I just watched the whole original series on instant play and I don't recall ever seeing anything CG in it. If anything, a lot of the effects were bare bones (while the puppetry was fantastic; as was John Hurt and the scripts). I DO recall that Henson was playing with CGI puppets in that show he did in the 90s and in that 3-D show for Disneyworld. In fact that CGI puppet is one of the few things I remember of that movie. ("But I'm really talking to yoooooououuuuuu") Maybe your dragon was in the Greek Myth Storyteller episodes which I confess I have not watched all the way through.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    THE DARK CRYSTAL is art. This is very exciting, but...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...these guys are going to have to work hard to win me over.<P> Pour some on the ground for Jim Henson.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Is Genndy Tartakovsky still directing this?

    by secure214

    I'm confused...who knows the details?

  • June 24, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    I could be wrong about Storyteller...

    by blackwood

    Silvery dragon... kid in a museum or somesuch... it left an impression, but unfortunately not clear... TO THE YOUTUBE!

  • June 24, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Not only is Harry terrible with the English language....

    by JediTray

    ....apparently the so-called roving reporters are as well. "2 of production?" WTF?

  • June 24, 2010, 10:27 a.m. CST


    by blackwood

    Can't find it, BUT I did discover Anthony Minghella wrote (an?) episode(s?) of Storyteller. That's trippy.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Ever watch that Jim Henson funeral mass stuff?

    by SK229

    On youtube? If stuff like Frank Oz choking up at the end of his personal recollections (and the gift Henson gave him for Christmas one year) doesn't get you choked up, then I'm sorry, turn in your human race card immediately... or go back to being a serial killer.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Loved this film as a kid...

    by RETURN_of_FETT

    Tried to watch again recently and just couldn't get into it. I think I got about 45 minutes into the Blu-ray and turned it off. The puppets just make it feel so incredibly fake and silly now. I mean, it's essentially Sesame Street. I don't know, maybe I'll pull it off the shelf and finish it at some point. All I'm saying is that keeping it puppets doesn't make me want to go see another one. Frankly I'd probably prefer an all CGI film. At least then they could really explore the world instead of only showing it from the waist up.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    I remember when the Muppets said goodbye to Jim.

    by blackwood

    Watched it with my Mom. I was 10. I 'understood' death, but hadn't come close to it.<p>I remember my Mom crying, and me crying, and my Mom telling me he had died, and that it was okay to miss him even though I didn't know him, because in a way I did.<p>Sniff.

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  • June 24, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST

    "Stick it in! She's still alive!"

    by tehBIGIvan

    ...Is what I overheard my flatmate shout while he was watching climax od Dark Crystal.

  • June 24, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST

    "the brothers obliviously love the source material"

    by oisin5199


  • June 24, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds neat I guess.

    by Traumnovelle

    But Genndy Tartakovsky would have been way better for this.

  • June 24, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    by creaturetheatre

    @Blackwood - I know the film your talking about. It wasn't a 'Storyteller' episode, but a made-for-TV special called 'The Puppet Master' or 'The Puppet Maker' or something like that (they talk about it in the Jim Henson book 'The Works' which I have at home, I can look up the exact title later). It has a kid that finds a giant mechanical dragon in a warehouse. It was, however, done with practical effects - very much so as you could (intentionally) see all the gears and levers that made it move.

  • June 24, 2010, 12:12 p.m. CST


    by blackwood

    Thank you! It was driving me a bit nuts. And cool to know it was practical. I do remember it seeming real. Maybe I thought it was CG because it was shiny. Cheers mate.

  • June 24, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    I thought Bobba Fetted is

    by D o o d

    when you take it in the ass!<p>urban dictionary lets me down again!

  • June 24, 2010, 1:13 p.m. CST

    "appr.. two of heavy pre-production." Two What?

    by popculturesymphony

    Pretty important word to leave out! Two years? Months? Weeks?

  • June 24, 2010, 1:41 p.m. CST


    by J-Dizzle

    an enigma where a bit part character, of no real importance, is brought back into a prominent role due to the misguided belief by a few loud and vocal fanboys that the said bit part character was somehow cool.

  • June 24, 2010, 2:18 p.m. CST

    ...I thought "Bubba Feted" meant...

    by FlickaPoo

    ... to be celebrated or honored with a festival, a feast, or an elaborate entertainment, as befitting a white working-class man of the southern United States, stereotypically regarded as uneducated and gregarious with his peers.

  • June 24, 2010, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Boba Fetted was his pimp move...

    by david_boreanez_cunt_hairz

    You knew how cool Fett was when he didn't even have to talk, just stood there across the room and nod the head.

  • June 24, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    not as excited without Genndy directing

    by Brannagins Law

  • June 24, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Daybreakers was hit and miss for me

    by BetterCallSaul

    so I'm very skeptical about the Spreigs directing the Dark Crystal

  • June 24, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Have they done anything since MirrorMask?

    by boogel

    The Henson kids that is. I thought at one point I had read a piece by the girl (I can't remember her name..Lisa maybe) that said she had struck a deal with Sony to produce a low budget film like MM every year or so. Anyone know what happened?

  • June 24, 2010, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Jim Henson's funeral

    by savagedave

    I read somewhere that they sat Kermit the frog at the entrance to the Church, holding a sign saying "I've lost my voice", which reduced everyone who saw it to tears.

  • June 24, 2010, 4:24 p.m. CST

    I thought Boba Fetted was..........

    by Yoda's Ball Sack

    when you farted while taking a bubble bath.

  • June 24, 2010, 4:40 p.m. CST

    blackwood and creaturetheatre

    by Dollar Bird

    I did some snooping (because I remembered something like that show, too, but didn't know from where) and it was called "Monster Maker" and was featured on the Jim Henson Hour. You can find it on YouTube. The dragon's name was the Ultra Gorgon (and I think it was voiced by Gambon.)

  • June 24, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST

    I've got a bad feeling about this.

    by Yamato

    I have a dreadful feeling that another one of the best movies from my youth is going to be pooped on by a really bad sequel.

  • June 24, 2010, 5:28 p.m. CST

    I thought Boba Fetted

    by Fuzzyjefe

    was when a giant vagina eats YOU.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:32 p.m. CST

    The Spierig Brothers

    by Cruzboy

    The Spierig Brothers (who are identical twins by the way) are ones to watch. They're talented guys who just need to hone their story telling skills a little more. I went and saw them speak when they released Undead in Australia. Most of the movie they did themselves on a single Mac laptop and all they actually googled tutorials on special effects to figure out how to do stuff. They're passionate filmmakers and I'm really excited about them doing a Dark Crystal film. I think if anyone can do it justice they will. I watched Daybreakers the other day and thought the first half was fantastic, they've really got an eye for exploring fresh ideas. The second half wasn't so great but at least they're getting better each film.

  • June 24, 2010, 6:55 p.m. CST

    ATTN: Dollabird and blackwood re: Dragon on Storyteller?

    by BillboeFett

    That was NOT cg, but practical, and was on the Jim Henson Hour, in 1989 on NBC. The first half was the old new generation of muppet characters trying to run a show, the 2nd half was one-off story segments like the Storyteller, or the Monster Telethon, or entire-hour long mini-movies like Dog City, or Lighthouse Island. </BR> <p> <P> The one with the dragon, that blackwood is referring to, was called "The Monster Maker", and that dragon was NOT cg. </BR> <p> <P> More info here (be sure to also browse the forum thread there): </BR> <p> <P> from IMDB: "The Jim Henson Hour was what happened when Jim Henson took the Muppet Show and the Dark Crystal and cross-bred them. It was split into two halves. The first half was the Muppet Show of the 80's. It featured both old (Jim Henson, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire) and new (Dan Redican, Gordon Robertson, Fran Brill, Kevin Clash) puppeteers. Therefore, it also featured both old (Kermit, Gonzo, Link Hogthrob, Rowlf) and new (Digit, Lindburgh, Vicki, Leon) characters. The second half was sometimes serious (Lighthouse Island, The Storyteller) and sometimes funny (Miss Piggy's Hollywood, Dog City). Sometimes it was all one hour-long show. And it was great every time. I seriously suggest this to anyone who likes Henson."

  • June 24, 2010, 6:56 p.m. CST

    more on that dragon on Jim Henson Hour

    by BillboeFett

    The boy visited a factory where they created special fx, and the gigantic dragon that seemed to fill almost 1/3rd to 1/2 of the warehouse came to life and spoke to him

  • June 24, 2010, 7:06 p.m. CST

    youtube link to watch that dragon on Jim Henson hour

    by BillboeFett

  • June 24, 2010, 8:22 p.m. CST

    It's now obvious why Genndy left

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    3D and CGI.

  • June 24, 2010, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Didn't this movie bomb the first time around?

    by RPLocke

    I saw this movie in theaters, and I thought it was kinda weird.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:44 p.m. CST

    I loved and hated this movie....

    by GarysMidgetCorpse

    I really hated it because it was too timid. I hope they make the Gelflings fuck in this one. I want hardcore puppet fucking with moaning and blood.

  • June 24, 2010, 10:59 p.m. CST

    How did I miss this

    by TheJudger

    1 minute left. Thanks Harry.

  • June 25, 2010, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Rock on.

    by blackwood

    Talkback is smart and informed. I feel we should preserve this Talkback in, like, carbonite, for future generations.<p>Thanks for the link, too.

  • June 25, 2010, 2:15 a.m. CST

    I haven't seen this movie in years but just watched

    by RPLocke

    the trailer on youtube. WOW that looked shitty. I loved it as a kid, but how does Star Wars look better and that was filmed in the 70s.

  • June 25, 2010, 4 a.m. CST

    I tweeted you Harry about the "shoutout"

    by deanbarry

    How could that stupendous piece of information not be included here? It was a great Q and A with the guys, (I was there too: wasn't the guy scribbling notes, I was tweeting furiously though). Every picture I took though turned out crap. Sigh, stupid indoor lighting.

  • June 25, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Bringing back the Skeksis...

    by Durendal

    Would require some serious retconning, and fuck that. They mythology has been laid out. Froud wrote "The World of the Dark Crystal", which was Henson approved, and said book laid out what happened and how. The Urskeks (the white, merged guys at the end) used the Crystal a thousand years prior to try and purge their capacity for evil. Unfortunately, it just split them, and then the Crystal was cracked, the shard lost, and the two sides went their separate ways. The only thing that could rejoin them was a healed Crystal during the next great conjunction. Ergo, trying to bring back the Skeksis isn't going to fucking work unless the Urskeks decide to try again a thousand years later. Don't retcon the damned thing, guys. Leave the Skeksis out and give us a new story.

  • June 25, 2010, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Yeah, what happened to Genndy Tartakovsky?

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    I don't know if it really matters but I'm curious

  • June 25, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    DAYBREAKERS was cool

    by AsimovLives

    "Who are we? We are the people with the crossbows".<br><br>And the Vamp-Car is awesome! I want one!

  • June 25, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST

    CGI Yoda in ROTS was perfect

    by performingmonkey

    That CGI model being placed in TPM over the top of that lame ass puppet (Frank did the voice lame too, obviously to try and make him sound younger and more alert, so it would be good to hear newly recorded dialogue to match his better delivery in AOTC and ROTS). I would love them to re-animate Yoda's flipping and shit in AOTC in the fight with Dooku. Making it look like a real character instead of a videogame would be good.

  • June 25, 2010, 1:32 p.m. CST

    I'm excited for this

    by Jaka

    Really looking forward to going back to this world. So long as they get the design (character, costume, set, lighting) and tone (dark and weird) right, I don't really care how they do it. Froud being involved has always seemed really important to me, as well. So far, nothing about this is making me nervous. far.

  • June 25, 2010, 9:17 p.m. CST

    AWesome NEWS

    by StrokerX

    loved the original...watched it over and over as a wee lad.

  • June 25, 2010, 11:27 p.m. CST


    by MJs_Cold_Dead_Pale_Corpse

    Am I the only one who wants to see the Gelflings fuck?!

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  • June 26, 2010, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the report. But next time PROOF READ IT FIRST.

    by Missing Dink

    Why is it so damn difficult for writers to proof read their submissions? One pass. That's all I ask!

  • June 26, 2010, 4:11 p.m. CST


    by MJs_Cold_Dead_Pale_Corpse

    Gelfling porn?