Dark Crystal Comic-Con News: Panel, New Fan Site with Production Images

Worldcon Fantasy Convention in Chicago, September 5, 1982 [left to right]:  Jim Henson, Brian Froud, unknown and Gary Kurtz present at the convention (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
September 5, 1982: Another time, another con. Left to right: Jim Henson, designer/artist Brian Froud, unknown and producer Gary Kurtz present at the Worldcon Fantasy Convention in Chicago, (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
San Diego International Comic-Con is here, and, like for many companies and entertainment properties, the con is the time to announce news and give fans sneak peeks of new product. In the case of The Jim Henson Company, that news relates to the reboot of The Dark Crystal franchise.

Last month on this blog, I talked about a new Dark Crystal book contest, wherein writers send their ideas for the “first book in a new young adult series based on the world of the classic fantasy film.” The winner receives gets a $10,000 contract to write the book.

This weekend at Comic-Con (on Saturday from 3:00pm – 4:00pm in Room 28DEat, to be precise), there’s a panel called “Dark Crystal Author Quest: All You Need to Know.” Lisa Henson (CEO, The Jim Henson Company) and Cheryl Henson (Labyrinth, The Muppet Show), and representatives from the publisher, Grosset and Dunlap, will all be on on hand to discuss the contest.

The Jim Henson Company also chose this weekend to launch their new “official Dark Crystal fan site” featuring all kinds of goodies about the 1982 fantasy film co-directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The site includes backstory on the world of The Dark Crystal; a comprehensive encyclopedia; info on Dark Crystal‘s invented languages; and a fan forum with ways to share fan fiction, videos and even a “meme generator.” There’s also info on the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest.

I’ve poked around on the site and have to admit it’s pretty cool, especially “The Making Of…” section. Click that tab and you’ll see a detailed timeline of the film’s roots, as well as sample concept and production artwork, behind-the-scenes stills of the shoot, Jim Henson’s notes and outlines, and other photos and ephemera.

Here’s a selection that provides a peek into the making of the film, as well as Jim Henson’s creative process.

February 6, 1978:  Jim Henson, snowed in at the Howard Johnson's at Kennedy International Airport, writes the basic story of The Dark Crystal.(Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
February 6, 1978: Jim Henson, snowed in at the Howard Johnson’s at Kennedy International Airport, writes the basic story of The Dark Crystal. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
October 17, 1978: Short test film is made in Bedford, NY, plus concept sketches of the creatures.
October 17, 1978: Short test film is made in Bedford, NY, plus concept sketches of the creatures. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
screenplay
May, 1979: The Dark Crystal screenplay is written by David Odell and Jim Henson. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
February 10, 1981: Tests for puppeteers in London.(Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
February 10, 1981: Tests for puppeteers in London. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
April 15, 1981 The first scenes shot are: Mystic Valley, Dying Emperor and Crystal Chamber.
April 15, 1981: The first scenes shot are: Mystic Valley, Dying Emperor and Crystal Chamber. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
September 11, 1981 First unit finishes Dark Crystal shooting.
September 11, 1981. First unit finishes Dark Crystal shooting. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)
April 19-30, 1982: Jim Henson works on changes to the script. See Frank Oz's note to Jim at the bottom.
April 19-30, 1982: Jim Henson works on changes to the script. Note Frank Oz’s note to Jim at the bottom. (Image: (C) 2013 The Jim Henson Company)

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