Watch the Restored Original Cut of <em>The Dark Crystal</em> (2022)

The version of The Dark Crystal that was released in 1982 was dark and weird, especially for a kids' movie. But there was an earlier version—darker, weirder, and trippier—that didn't make it to theaters. The earlier cut didn't test well with audiences, so the film was substantially changed to appeal to a broad audience. Voiceover was added, and English dialogue was added to many scenes where the action was previously supposed to be understood through puppets' pantomime.

For the past two years an enterprising fan, 31-year-old Christopher Orgeron, has labored to reassemble that original cut of the movie. He had limited materials to work with, so there are rough edges in many places (most notably the black-and-white scenes from a VHS dub of the original cut). But looking at this version of The Dark Crystal gives us a dose of the Henson weirdness that we see in many of his early films. Whether this is better or worse than the theatrical version is debatable—but at the very least, it's a fascinating glimpse into what might have been. Here it is, and below, my interview with Orgeron.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: On Monday, January 27, 2014 the videos were removed from YouTube and the Internet Archive, at the request of the Jim Henson Company.

Higgins: When you look at this cut of the movie, do you feel that this is closer to what Henson and his collaborators intended than what was released theatrically?

Orgeron: Not necessarily. That's where there's a little contention over the use of the "Director's Cut" title on my video. This edit is indeed an exact replica of an early version of the film that Henson and company showed to a test audience. In that sense alone it's a "director's cut," but I think sadly that's where the distinction ends.

(Video) The Dark Crystal: Chamber Ceremony Scene - Jim's Red Book - The Jim Henson Company

There were obvious hurdles for Henson when it came time to convince the studio execs of the viability of such an ambitious film. So the changes that were made to the dialogue had to be done to help the film appeal to a wider, theater-going audience. I think it should also be noted that the performances given by the puppeteers on set were based on the lines heard in the workprint [the early cut] so in that way, this cut matches the acting better.

Higgins: How would you characterize the differences between this version and the theatrical version? Certainly it is darker, weirder, more surreal. There seems to be a parallel to me with Blade Runner (another 1982 film...) and its many cuts—it had narration and other de-complicating factors added after test screenings, but the original version has more depth. Do you agree with the Blade Runner parallel?

Orgeron: Absolutely. It was clearly a time of film-making experimentation. Late 70s and early 80s sci-fi movies are arguably some of the best that have ever been made. It's like 90s Nickelodeon. Less restriction in unexplored mediums led to some really great creativity. This version of The Dark Crystal plays out more like a sci-fi film set on a different planet than a kids' fantasy movie. The Skeksis and Gelflings seem more like extraterrestrials in a way.

The Blade Runner comparison is a fantastic analogy with similar circumstances. Another one I just discovered recently was in, oddly enough, a Frank Oz film called Little Shop of Horrors. Totally different ending where (spoiler alert!) the plant multiplies and goes on a killing rampage, destroying the entire city! These days I think the formulas for movie-making and audience reception are a little more clear and changes made after test screenings are a little less dramatic.

Watch the Restored Original Cut of <em>The Dark Crystal</em> (1)
(Video) The Dark Crystal- Presenting Kira Scene

Higgins: What's your personal relationship with the theatrical version of The Dark Crystal? Do you remember seeing it as a kid? Did you like it?

Orgeron: This tidbit is a little shameful. I was born the same year the film was released and was a huge Henson fan as a kid but didn't really hear about The Dark Crystal until I was about 17. Roughly a year after that, I decided to buy the DVD and give it a go. My perspective while watching it was a little unusual since the film was undeniably "Henson" but my matured brain got to see a vivid and ambitious world that had somehow eluded me as a child. I loved it to death. It appealed to my childhood and early adulthood while still being brand new. I watched the DVD many times and all the deleted scenes, which made me want to find out more about this early version that was subsequently lost.

Higgins: When did you find out about the workprint? Do you know "Aikousha" [the pseudonymous person who posted a low-quality, black-and-white version of the workprint] personally?

After reading the liner notes on the DVD I was disappointed to find that this strange "early" version of the film was mostly destroyed. It seemed that the original idea Henson and Oz had was really different compared to the wide release of the film and I had a looming curiosity to see it. Around that same time I was really getting to more artistic films and began wondering if there was some surviving copy out there in the wild of this darker take on The Dark Crystal. I'd Google it every now and then but never really came up with anything, until 6 or 7 years ago (ish) when I found out about the workprint in a forum somewhere.

(Video) How The Dark Crystal Took 30 Years to Prove Muppets Aren’t Just for Kids | Deep Cuts | Netflix

I found the thread well after Aikousha had posted his insights into the workprint and how he obtained it, but the site that was hosting the upload was gone and no one seemed to have a copy. I made many attempts at buying a VHS copy from a few guys to no avail, but finding out that there was indeed a living copy of this version refueled my desire to see it. I wish I could contact Aikousha to thank him for finding it in the first place but he's not easy to track down. A few years ago some torrents started popping up for it, which is where I eventually got a copy.

Higgins: Can you tell me a little about the technical process here? It looks to me like you've gotten the majority (or all) of the soundtrack from the workprint, then matched available video to that. Is that correct?

Orgeron: So if anyone is morbidly curious, I recommend finding a workprint copy and checking it out. It's a test of patience to watch. While I did very little to the black & white video clips you see in my cut, the audio was nearly unlistenable on the workprint. Most of the reason I made my edit was to show to some of my friends that really wanted to see the workprint but couldn't stand to sit through the awful quality.

The idea was to use the entire original workprint audio and then match the clean video to it, which is how it mostly went down. The audio had loads of tape hiss and noise that I pulled out and equalized. It's still very compressed, but I was happy to discover the dialogue was still intelligible after processing. I did pepper in some of the final high quality Trevor Jones score during transitional scenes for dynamic range and perspective but some of the score by Vangelis is of course different on the workprint, which I left in. [Ed. note: Vangelis was initially considered to score the film, but Jones got the job instead. Some Vangelis music is included in the workprint.]

Watch the Restored Original Cut of <em>The Dark Crystal</em> (2)
(Video) Frozen 2: BURNT (Official Fake Trailer)

Higgins: Do you intend to continue working on this? For instance, if someone actually had better footage to insert at various points, are you prepared to include that?

Orgeron: There are some rough little bits in the edit I intend to smooth out and I would absolutely devote the time to insert better footage. If anyone can improve the black & white footage or clean up the deleted scenes then we can get a few steps closer to restoring this piece of film history.

Where to Learn More

You can read more from Orgeron about his process on The Internet Archive or in the film's YouTube description. If you've got a hankering to watch the theatrical cut, I suggest the Blu-ray release.

FAQs

Where can I watch the original Dark Crystal? ›

Watch The Dark Crystal Streaming Online | Hulu (Free Trial)

Is the original Dark Crystal on Netflix? ›

Watch all you want.

Is The Dark Crystal still on Netflix? ›

Not even winning an Emmy could save this show. Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots.

What age is The Dark Crystal appropriate for? ›

The series doesn't have a specific rating, but Common Sense Media deemed the original movie appropriate for kids aged 7 and up, so parents with very young children may have to screen the series beforehand to gauge how their kids might react to it.

Is Dark Crystal on Disney plus? ›

Is The Dark Crystal on Disney Plus? No sign of The Dark Crystal on Disney+, which is proof that the House of Mouse doesn't have its hands on every franchise!

Is The Dark Crystal on HBO? ›

How to Watch The Dark Crystal. Right now you can watch The Dark Crystal on Showtime, fuboTV, and HBO Max. You are able to stream The Dark Crystal by renting or purchasing on Google Play, Vudu, and iTunes.

Why does Netflix cancel good shows? ›

Great shows that Netflix cancels due to what they deem is low viewership. Great shows that are buried among a giant pile of content Netflix pushes out every week, so they're ignored or left in limbo.

Should I watch The Dark Crystal before the Age of Resistance? ›

The first line of my glowing review of Age of Resistance gives the short answer to the most often asked question I get regarding the series: No, you don't have to watch The Dark Crystal movie beforehand.

Why Netflix cancel so many shows? ›

Bela Bajaria, director of global programming at Netflix, explained that this was just a marketing strategy. He explains, “If you look at season twos and more, we actually have a renewal rate of 67%, which is industry standard,” Bajaria said, according to Deadline.

Does Disney own dark crystals? ›

The Jim Henson Company, which was purchased by the Henson family in July 2003 from the German media company EM.TV, will retain all other assets of the company including Jim Henson's Creature Shop and ownership and rights to all other characters and entertainment properties in The Jim Henson Company's extensive film and ...

Why did Netflix cancel the Dark Crystal season 2? ›

Why was season 2 of Dark Crystal canceled? One of the reasons would be because of how expensive the series is with 2,500 having worked on the first and likely a similar number going into any second season although as many point out, most of the groundwork for any second season had already been laid.

Does Dark Crystal Age of Resistance end on a cliffhanger? ›

The series ended on a cliffhanger that will now go unresolved. “We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance," executive producer Lisa Henson said in a statement.

Is Dark Crystal scary? ›

A classic production from the makers of the original Muppet animations, The Dark Crystal takes viewers on a quest through a dark fantasy world. It's full of scary creatures and creepy scenes, so it's a movie best enjoyed by older children and adult fans of fantasy movies.

Is The Dark Crystal movie scary? ›

Yes, it's a bit scary, and it might frighten some younger kids, but probably not much more than a particularly spooky episode of a show like Doctor Who.

Is the princess bride OK for kids? ›

Movie at a glance

A 1987 classic, The Princess Bride is based on a 1973 novel of the same name. With adventure to engage children and wit to entertain adults, it's a true family movie – so long as your children are old enough to cope with occasional violence and scary scenes.

Will they ever make a season 2 of Dark Crystal? ›

Lisa Henson, the show's producer, made a statement regarding the cancellation. She said: “We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

Is there a new Dark Crystal movie? ›

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is an American fantasy television series produced by Netflix and The Jim Henson Company. It is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal that explores the world of Thra created for the original film.
...
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Original releaseAugust 30, 2019
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What was Jim Henson's first movie? ›

Jim Henson

Is David Bowie in The Dark Crystal? ›

Sarah(Jennifer C) is fighting the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) to get her baby brother back before the 13th hour. She must solve the labyrinth and has adventures meeting new friends and finally realizes what truly matters.

How much did The Dark Crystal cost? ›

What shows did Netflix cancel 2022? ›

  • First Kill. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • Bone. (Image credit: Graphix) ...
  • The Midnight Gospel. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • Another Life. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • The Baby-Sitters Club. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • Gentefied. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • Cooking with Paris. (Image credit: Netflix) ...
  • On The Verge. (Image credit: Netflix)
31 Aug 2022

How many people have canceled Netflix? ›

The data showed that overall cancellations hit 3.6 million people last quarter, an increase from the 2.5 million cancellations in the past five quarters.

What shows are getting renewed on Netflix 2022? ›

  • Shadow and Bone (Season 2) – Filming from January to July 2022.
  • Sharkdog (Season 2) – Coming in June 2022.
  • Somebody Feed Phil (Season 6)
  • Stranger Things (Season 5) – Final season set to debut in coming years.
  • Sweet Magnolias (Season 3) – Set to begin filming in summer 2022.
11 Aug 2022

Are Labyrinth and Dark Crystal related? ›

Froud also collaborated with Henson for his next project, the 1986 film Labyrinth. The Dark Crystal was produced by Gary Kurtz, while the screenplay was written by David Odell, with whom Henson previously worked as a staff writer for The Muppet Show. The film score was composed by Trevor Jones.

Is The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance a reboot? ›

The company announced its 2021-2022 run of Jim Henson Company-cosigned show titled The Dark Crystal: Odyssey, just six months after Netflix unceremoniously cancelled its gorgeous reboot The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance after only one season.

Are Skeksis immortal? ›

The Skeksis, while not immortal, are a naturally long-lived species (after all, Aughra expected them to still be around after a thousand trine).

What shows are getting Cancelled 2022? ›

Canceled TV Shows 2022: Which of Your Favorite Series Are Coming to an End?
  • ABC. black-ish, 8 seasons. ...
  • AMC. The Walking Dead, 11 seasons. ...
  • Apple TV+ Servant, 4 seasons.
  • BBC America. Killing Eve, 4 seasons.
  • CBS. B Positive, 2 seasons. ...
  • The CW. Batwoman, 3 seasons. ...
  • EPIX. Bridge and Tunnel, 2 seasons.
  • FOX. The Big Leap, 1 season.
4 days ago

Why does Netflix only do 4 seasons? ›

Netflix doesn't release rating figures in the same way as linear television networks, but it's been widely reported that it decides to renew or cancel its shows based on a viewership versus cost of renewal review process, which determines whether the cost of producing another season of a show is proportionate to the ...

What show is Netflix Cancelling? ›

In fact, they're in line with many of their competitors. 2021 was a big year for Netflix cancelations, with titles like Jupiter's Legacy, Cursed, and Dash & Lily all getting canceled. There are also plenty of shows ending in 2022, such as Ozark, Grace and Frankie, Dead to Me, and Family Reunion.

How did The Dark Crystal crack? ›

However, when the Great Conjunction began, an urSkek gave into its darker nature, resulting in The Great Division of the urSkeks into the cruel Skeksis and the gentle urRu. In the ensuing confusion, a Skeksis attacked the Crystal and chipped off a shard.

What is Jen in Dark Crystal? ›

Jen was a male Gelfling who was raised by the urRu after his clan was destroyed during the Garthim War. One of the last of his kind, he was tasked by urSu to retrieve the Shard of the Division from Aughra, thus putting an end to the tyranny of the Skeksis.

What happens at the end of The Dark Crystal? ›

The Dark Crystal movie ends on a triumphant note. Jen and Kira return the lost shard during the Great Conjunction, reuniting the Mystics and the Skeksis; the UrSkeks leave for their home world and Thra is left to reclaim its former glory.

Why is The Dark Crystal so popular? ›

Henson has a number of movies to his name, but The Dark Crystal can easily be identified as his best movie for a number of reasons, including its groundbreaking puppetry and effects, enriched lore, and some of the most terrifying villains in fantasy cinema.

How old is Brea in Dark Crystal? ›

Brea is about the age of a human teenager, with fair skin, pink lips, hazel eyes, and long platinum blonde hair with two mini-braids.

Who narrates The Dark Crystal series? ›

Sigourney Weaver narrates. Netflix previewed the series' first episode at Comic-Con in July to a very positive reception from the Hall H crowd. Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me) directed all 10 episodes and executive produces with Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford.

Does Deet like Rian? ›

Deet. Deet was Rian's second love interest after Mira's death. Despite only knowing each other for a brief time at that point, Deet and Rian shared a close bond as they both saw each other for themselves.

Who are Kira's parents Dark Crystal? ›

This suggests that Brea is Kira's mother, and Rian is Jen's father. The female gelfling in Kira's memory has eye and hair color similar to Brea. She is also dressed in the same style of clothing.

What kind of Gelfling is Kira? ›

Kira
The Dark Crystal character
SpeciesGelfling
GenderFemale
HomePodling village
AffiliationsPodlings
4 more rows

Is Labyrinth OK for kids? ›

Although Labyrinth is a little dated now, it's still a very entertaining story for children aged 8-10 years with parental guidance. Adults might enjoy watching David Bowie swagger about in revealing leggings and a feathered mullet.

When did The Dark Crystal release? ›

What was the original Dark Crystal about? ›

On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and to restore order to his world. On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and to restore order to his world.

Is The Dark Crystal a childrens movie? ›

It's totally appropriate for children, but there is something challenging about it. There's something that feels a little bit dangerous and dark about it. And so, it's both satisfying for kids and grown-ups I think, and the series is absolutely in the spirit of that.”

What is the movie The Dark Crystal about? ›

Are there any cuss words in The Princess Bride? ›

- there are a couple swears and curses, but nothing extreme. - a reference to breasts and some kissing. - slight physical abuse (nothing terrible).

Why is The Princess rated R? ›

The Princess is rated R by the MPAA for strong/bloody violence and some language. Violence: A woman is seen with her wrists chained and lying in a bed.

Will they ever make a season 2 of Dark Crystal? ›

Lisa Henson, the show's producer, made a statement regarding the cancellation. She said: “We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

How long after age of resistance is Dark Crystal? ›

Now, nearly 40 years after Jen and Kira defeated the Skeksis and healed the titular crystal, we're returning to Thra in the form of Netflix's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a prequel series that shows off the massive Gelfling civilisation that was only glimpsed in ruins during the original movie.

Are Jen and Kira in the new Dark Crystal? ›

The Dark Crystal movie ends on a triumphant note. Jen and Kira return the lost shard during the Great Conjunction, reuniting the Mystics and the Skeksis; the UrSkeks leave for their home world and Thra is left to reclaim its former glory. But not everything is fixed.

When did Dark Crystal come out? ›

Box office. The Dark Crystal was released in 858 theaters in North America on December 17, 1982 and finished third for the weekend with a gross of $4,657,335, behind Tootsie and The Toy, performing better than some people expected.

What happens to DEET in The Dark Crystal? ›

Darkened by the power she had absorbed, Deet fled from her companions into the Endless Forest, and although Rian followed after her, Deet used the Darkening to wall him away, and vanished into the woods.

Why did Netflix cancel The Dark Crystal season 2? ›

Why was season 2 of Dark Crystal canceled? One of the reasons would be because of how expensive the series is with 2,500 having worked on the first and likely a similar number going into any second season although as many point out, most of the groundwork for any second season had already been laid.

How old is Brea in Dark Crystal? ›

Brea is about the age of a human teenager, with fair skin, pink lips, hazel eyes, and long platinum blonde hair with two mini-braids.

Why did Aughra give the Skeksis the crystal? ›

Believing that skekSo had matured into a benevolent ruler, Aughra agreed to leave the Crystal in the Skeksis' care in order to continue her research into the stars via astral projection, unaware that skekSo intended to conquer Thra to build an Empire, using the Crystal's power to prolong the lives of himself and the ...

Is David Bowie in The Dark Crystal? ›

Sarah(Jennifer C) is fighting the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) to get her baby brother back before the 13th hour. She must solve the labyrinth and has adventures meeting new friends and finally realizes what truly matters.

How did the Skeksis get the crystal? ›

In order to save the world from the Skeksis, Jen needed to return the broken shard—which also showed him a vision of the past revealing it was the Skeksis who cracked it—to the Crystal during the Great Conjunction.

Is Rian Jen's father? ›

This suggests that Brea is Kira's mother, and Rian is Jen's father. The female gelfling in Kira's memory has eye and hair color similar to Brea. She is also dressed in the same style of clothing. Another intriguing clue is the design on Kira's dress, which looks like the symbol of the Vapra clan.

Does DEET like Rian? ›

Deet. Deet was Rian's second love interest after Mira's death. Despite only knowing each other for a brief time at that point, Deet and Rian shared a close bond as they both saw each other for themselves.

What clan is Kira from? ›

The Kira clan(吉良氏 - kira-shi) was a Japanese clan, descended from Emperor Seiwa (850–880), and was a cadet branch of the Ashikaga family from the Minamoto clan (Seiwa Genji). Ashikaga Mitsuuji, grandson of Ashikaga Yoshiuji (1189–1254) was the first to take the name of Kira.

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