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Mark Hamill and Taron Egerton Bring The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to Hall H

Plus a sneak peek at the artistry behind the long-awaited sequel.

Fans of the 1982 puppet-animated fantasy film The Dark Crystal have long awaited a follow-up to the cult classic series. And if the footage we’ve seen of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is anything to go by, the Netflix miniseries will be worth the wait. The Dark Crystal panel took over Hall H at San Diego Comic Con, where stars Mark Hamill and Taron Egerton were joined by executive producer Lisa Henson and executive producer and director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk).

The audience was treated to a behind the scenes featurette as well s a surprise sneak peek at the first episode of the 10-episode miniseries. In the featurette, Lisa Henson emphasizes the painstaking work that went into the series, saying “Everything is hand-sculpted, hand-painted, just an amazing amount of craftsmanship that you see across the whole image.”

The groundbreaking series not only showcases the artistry of the puppetry and production design, but it also incorporates green screen and CGI for backgrounds in an effortless blend of technology and puppet animation. Leterrier said that he hoped viewers would “watch the show and you forget you’re watching puppets.”

The synopsis for the series reads:

“Based on The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s groundbreaking 1982 feature film, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance tells a new epic story, set many years before the events of the movie, and realized using classic puppetry with cutting edge visual effects. The world of Thra is dying. The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for the planet begins.”

Egerton stars as Rian, one of the Gelflings, and Hamill takes over the role of The Scientist, a Skeksis previously voiced by Steve Whitmire. Other voice talent includes Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), Catriona Balfe, Helena Bonham Carter, Simon Pegg, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, and more.

Hamill stole the show at the panel, which is unsurprising giving his iconic geek cred. He did an imitation of Kermit the Frog and discussed how his role as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series has led him to voice countless villains over the years. “Ever since I first played a certain berserk clown, I’ve become typecast as a villain in voiceover,” he quipped.

Of course, Hamill has a personal connection to the classic film by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Oz operated the puppet and voiced Yoda in alongside Hamill in the Star Wars films. And Hamill has always been a long time fan of The Muppets, telling the crowd he was “a Muppet fanatic, from the minute I saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show. They were just one of my favorite, favorite things in the world, and one of my career highlights to this day is being on The Muppet Show’s Star Wars episode.”

Egerton, who grew up as a fan of The Dark Crystal, gushed over working on the project saying “My father showed me it, and I just thought it was enchanting and completely unlike anything else. I still feel that way about it.” He also fanboyed out about working with Hamill. Both actors appeared in Kingsman: The Secret Service but didn’t share any scenes together. “Mark was in Kingsman: Secret Service, and we sadly never met and I was heartbroken because — can I swear? — I mean, he’s Luke f—ing Skywalker!”

Henson discussed her connection to The Dark Crystal and her family’s incredible legacy, saying “It was a very special project very, very close to [my father’s] heart and he found it to be the biggest challenge and his most personal film.” She went on to say, “And so for us to go and try to approach the work that he and Frank Oz and [concept illustrator] Brian Froud did, we had trepidation, but it’s also tremendously ambitious and everybody who came to it was in love with the original movie. So it was developed through great respect and love of the original, so ultimately we were not afraid to do it. It was a lot to achieve, to push for… but to be in Hall H saying it’s real is like the greatest moment of my professional life. It’s come out so much better than I ever dreamed, and my family’s so proud and the company’s so proud as well.”

Before the first episode screened, there was one more surprise in store: Mark Hamill received the 2019 Comic-Con Icon Award, saying “Listen, I told you how lucky I feel to be able to do all the things that I loved as a kid and get paid for it, so this just… seems wildly excessive, but it is much appreciated.”

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance lands on Netflix on August 30th.

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: Netflix)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.