If you’ve watched 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ on Netflix, the lack of a continuation probably still hurts. And it’s no wonder because it is one of the most beautiful works of cinematography, adorned with numerous awards and recognition from both viewers and critics.
According to popular opinion, 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ was canceled due to it’s high budget. Initially, the Henson Company, which is often involved in special effects, wanted to make a regular animated film. However, Netflix intervened and said, 'No, you will do it like the original, with puppets.’ The thing is, the effects we see in 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ are incredibly costly, so Lisa Henson, a representative of the company, asked Netflix to add more zeros to the production budget.
The problem is that the streaming giant closely monitors the creators’ expenses and viewership. Do budgets and viewership go hand in hand? In the case of this project, something seems to have gone wrong. They even waited a year to decide whether to renew the show or not.
And you see, 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ premiered on Netflix in 2019. In 2020, the pandemic hit, and it is speculated that it would have been impossible to realize such an outstanding and visually stunning project while adhering to pandemic restrictions. Yes, let’s remember that the film industry tried to comply with them, but that’s another topic. Nonetheless, if the pandemic had an impact on the fate of 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,’ it is not the only series that finds itself in this unfortunate group.
Let’s take a closer look at the production costs because that may provide an answer to 'whether it was really about the budget.’
In addition to the exceptional voice actors lending their voices to the puppets, there were also many individuals involved in animating those puppets. Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the show’s producer, stated that the production of 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ was one of the longest in terms of shooting. And it’s no wonder, as the series utilized 170 puppets, 75 different sets, with 83 puppeteers working on the project.
Does it make an impression? The series itself does too!
’The whole world is rich because we created everything from scratch,’ said Louis Leterrier in an interview with radiotimes.com.
Unfortunately, in 2020, Netflix did not release any statistics regarding the series, so we don’t know the exact numbers we’re talking about.
However, in August 2020, Lisa Henson decided to elaborate a bit more on the cancellation of the show. '…COVID-19 concerns are perhaps even more significant because we have such large crews. It’s interesting because we like to say that 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ was the largest puppet production in history. It looks delicate, it looks beautiful, but it’s an incredibly massive undertaking. You have no idea, watching the finished series, how big it was. To just resume it would be a huge task.
Lisa gives an example of a puppet jumping off a carriage – in an actor’s performance, it would be a simple stunt, but it’s not that easy when the actor is a puppet.
About 2,500 people worked on the series, and although many projects were completed that would have been used in the second season, it didn’t amount to much. According to What’s on Netflix, it was like an invasion of misfortunes on the production: 'Ultimately, due to COVID-19, low viewership performance according to industry insiders, the departure of the person responsible for strong support for the series, and probably many other factors (mainly financial), the show was canceled.’
In August 2020, The Hollywood Reporter obtained information that Netflix was undergoing restructuring. I think we all understand what that can entail. Unfortunately, in the film industry, it can lead to project cancellations – as we currently see with Marvel, for example (as of 2023). The result? One of the company’s main CEO’s, Ted Sarandos, dismissed Cindy Holland and promoted Bela Bajaria to her position. And he commented on the series: 'Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was an expensive disappointment for the streaming platform.’
Because the production costs did not translate into audience numbers. Of course, companies have the right to think about profits and investments that will pay off. The company restructuring theoretically brought desired results. However, Bela Bajaria is responsible for canceling 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,’ and her moves were well-received by some Netflix employees. 'The real power of Netflix doesn’t lie in what we talk about [e.g., Stranger Things]; it’s The Witcher, Money Heist, Dark, and all the international content – not in producing another Ozark. (…).
The Witcher. That’s where Netflix’s true strength lies. If you didn’t laugh at this moment, congratulations.
Unfortunately, for many productions, the opinion of the community doesn’t matter when it comes to decisions about them. On one hand, this is not surprising; after all, „Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance” had a really high budget, and that is evident, although we don’t know exactly how much it was. So financial reasons could be an argument here, but really? Because HBO’s „Velma” got completely trashed and still received another season. And that’s probably because it’s messed up like a bunch of LGBT negroes tripping on LSD in a meadow. But that’s HBO. Although… Netflix produces „The Witcher.” The series is getting worse ratings, one spin-off was a complete failure, but the corporation doesn’t mind making more spin-offs. So let’s think, is it really about money or ideology? This question may seem strange, but „Dark Crystal” doesn’t have political correctness. It’s a beautiful, spiritual story. On the other hand, in „The Witcher,” we have a complete disregard for the source material and a bisexual Jaskier.
How did the community react to the cancellation of „Dark Crystal”? Well, the fans of the show were not surprised, and one could even say they are accustomed to such a situation. The original film from 1982, which was equally costly and extraordinary, was also considered a flop, but over time, it became a part of cinema history.
Here are a few reactions to the news of the closure of „Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance”:
Of course, fans wouldn’t be fans if they didn’t create petitions – after three years, it has 4,749 signatures out of the intended 5,000. They are slowly increasing, but it seems that anyone who learns about it adds their voice. I would be grateful if you could contribute to this cause as well, although unfortunately, it probably won’t change anything. The petition can be found here.
And although Lisa Henson mentioned that the company will be looking for a way to continue the production, there is currently no news indicating that it will happen. Even if it does continue in the form of books or comics, they will likely not be easily accessible to Polish viewers. Nevertheless, after such a long time, I am still deeply saddened that Netflix canceled „Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance”. It’s even more disheartening when you see what garbage is supported by corporations.
the opinion of one of the users filmdaily.co