'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance' Officially Canceled by Netflix

In 1982, Jim Henson introduced viewers to the fantastical world of Thra, via a film that was touted as the first live-action film with no humans in it whatsoever, as it utilized puppetry to bring the world to life. This film was titled The Dark Crystal. Since that film, there have been other tales told within that world via books. But Thra did not return to the screen until the Netflix show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

This show, a prequel set about 50 years before the events of the film, had its (intended) first season released on August 30, 2019. It told of a turning point when the Gelfling realized that the Skeksis were evil and draining Gelfling of their essence, just before the Garthim War. The visuals were stunning, and I would argue that there has been nothing this innovative since James Cameron’s Avatar 10 years prior. Critics praised the story, the characters, and the voice acting. It was a renaissance for longtime fans of The Dark Crystal, now united in community discussions about this new content. The season ended on a cliffhanger. For a little more than a year, the fans have worried that Netflix might not renew the show.

Unfortunately, that fear has come true, as we learned via io9. After having just won an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program (which some have pointed out as an odd category for the show given how dark its content got at certain points), The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has been revealed to have been canceled by Netflix. Executive producer Lisa Henson provided the following statement:

“We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. We know fans are eager to learn how this chapter of The Dark Crystal saga concludes and we’ll look for ways to tell that story in the future. Our company has a legacy of creating rich and complex worlds that require technical innovation, artistic excellence, and masterful storytelling. Our history also includes productions that are enduring, often finding and growing their audience over time and proving again and again that fantasy and science fiction genres reflect eternal messages and truths that are always relevant. We are so grateful to Netflix for trusting us to realize this ambitious series; we are deeply proud of our work on Age of Resistance, and the acclaim it has received from fans, critics and our peers, most recently receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program.”

It is unknown what format a continuation of the story will take. Technically speaking, a version of the story was told via J.M. Lee’s young adult novels Shadows of the Dark Crystal, Song of the Dark Crystal, Tides of the Dark Crystal, and Flames of the Dark Crystal. These stories within these novels were told from different perspectives as the show was being developed and made. The show featured events told in these books, but they were altered, thus making these books an alternate timeline or telling. Flames of the Dark Crystal ends in a similar place as the season 1 finale, though unlike the show, it included the creation of The Wall of Destiny. Perhaps this event would have been saved for a future season.

While novels are one option, comics are another. Right now, there is a comic series with the same title as the show, though it is a prequel comprised of three four-issue arcs: The Quest for the Dual-Glaive, The Ballad of Hup & Barfinnious, and The Journey into the Mondo Leviadin. The eleventh issue came out last week, with the release of the final issue being a month away. Perhaps season 2 and any other future seasons that those behind the show may have had in mind could be told in this format.

Another statement was given to io9 by Netflix:

“We are grateful to the master artists at the Jim Henson Company for bringing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to life for fans around the world. We’re thankful to the executive producers Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford, and Louis Leterrier, who also directed all episodes, as well as the writers, cast and crew for their outstanding work and thrilled they were recognized with the Emmy this weekend.”

While no specific reason was given for the show’s cancellation, there was a report from The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month claiming that a source close to Netflix told them that Age of Resistance was a financial failure, and thus one of the reasons that Netflix let go longtime executive Cindy Holland.

As a fan of The Dark Crystal franchise, I am upset about this news. It is not surprising, but it still is not easy to hear. Fans of the franchise finally got something on the screen again, and it is not guaranteed that the story will continue onscreen in the same way through means outside of Netflix. Fans may continue to show support if the story continues in books or comics, but having it told on the screen was a special experience. With the cancellation of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Netflix has lost something that was much more than a mere gem.

Source(s): io9, The Hollywood Reporter