For Taron Egerton, getting cast in Netflix’s “The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance” prequel series was a dream come true. Growing up as a fan of the original 1982 movie, the Welsh actor says he jumped at the chance to voice a Gelfling named Rian.
“I basically bit [director] Louis Leterrier’s hand off. I was so excited to be involved in something I was so enamoured with as a kid,” he says during a press conference for the series at Comic-Con. “I watched the film originally when I was 7. My dad showed it to me. I thought it was completely enchanting and thought it was quite scary.”
The upcoming Netflix series returns to the world of Thra, as envisioned by Jim Henson, where three Gelfling discover the horrifying truth behind the evil Skeksis’ power and the events leading up to the original film.
As Egerton promises, the 10-episode series is “very, very faithful” to the original source material. With Henson’s daughter, Lisa Henson serving as executive producer, she explains the new show will not alter any established stories or canon of the film.
“This is not a reboot, this is a prequel and it’s meant to lead seamlessly into the film,” she says. “We’re very conscious about anything that was established in the film. We’d have to be able to get there eventually in the storytelling.”
“It starts at the beginning, the why, what happens to these people, is what the show is about, adds director Louis Leterrier. “The movie is just the centre of a very long story. You guys know the original movie and there are more people that don’t know the dark crystal and we need to bring into our story.”
“I was a fan,” Egerton says of the film. “As an actor, it’s always fascinating and exciting to get to do something that’s different that you haven’t been involved with before.” The 29-year-old actor spent time on the set, getting an inside look at the production including the puppets which were based on the original 1982 designs.
With over 85 to 90 per cent of the series achieved through practical puppetry, only select parts of the world of Thra are “enhanced” by CGI with production involving nearly every working puppeteer in England, according to Henson.
Those original elements are what drew the show’s voice cast, including Egerton, Mark Hamill, Sigourney Weaver, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, Alicia Vikander, Lena Headey and more to the Netflix series. “It’s really thanks to Jim Henson and the power of that original movie,” Leterrier says, calling it a “dream cast.”
“I revisited the original film. Actors love to talk about their process and months of work,” Egerton jokes. “What happens in the moment on the set is a negotiation with director. It’s receptive and interactive.”
He continues: “It’s a very physical role. It demanded a lot of action and energy in the voice booth.”
And yes, that includes some singing for the “Rocketman” star, who confirms he will perform a song in the series.
Thirty-seven years after the original film, Egerton says 2019 is the perfect time to introduce a new audience to the characters of “The Dark Crystal” and draw original fans back in.
“There’s still validity in escapism. It’s a fantasy show, it’s a family show, it’s about being lost in wonder and adventure,” he says.
“The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance” arrives on Netflix on August 30.