Full spoilers for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance follow.
Well, it’s official, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has been axed by Netflix after just one amazing season. Receiving nothing but rave reviews from old school fans of the original 1982 film as well as new fans like me, today (the day of the cancellation announcement) is truly a sad day.
You can find my full review of Age of Resistance here if you are not already aware of just incredible this show is / was.
While I was disappointed to hear the news that we wouldn’t be getting a second season, I can’t say I was overly surprised. In a bid to make myself, and others I suppose, feel better about Netflix’s seemingly questionable decision, I have compiled five reasons why it’s not the worst thing that more episodes won’t be made.
Tough Act To Follow
Let’s face it, season one was going to be an extremely tough spectacle to beat. The sheer weight of the talent of the puppeteers and voice cast was indisputable, and I am sceptical they could have recreated or successfully built on the overwhelming hype that the first season had generated. I’m by no means denying outright that they could have pulled it off, but the furor that followed season one was deafening, and it was immediately very clear the showrunners would have to pull something very special to top their original effort and keep viewers engaged.
The Cost of CGI
The culmination of the Darkening story arc in the series finale featured CGI heavy scenes where the power of the Darkening rips through the ground and blasts purple beams of light throughout the battlefield at Stone-in-the-Wood. After the battle has concluded, which sees Deet absorb the power of the Darkening and stagger off into the woods with purple eyes and a much wilder appearance than usual, it is implied she has become unstable and could release the dark energy at any time, even without intending to.
The looming possibility that season two would need to lean on CGI effects, as well as the other significant costs which production of such a show would generate, could well have impacted Netflix’s decision to pull the plug on this beloved story.
Huge Big Name Cast
While it is in no way a negative point on the final product, the fact that Age of Resistance used so many big name talents straight off the bat meant that production costs were always going to be much higher than if they’d just used lesser known voice actors who nailed the vibe of the character they portrayed. The fact you know the face behind the voice (Nathalie Emmanuel, Jason Isaacs and Simon Pegg etc) doesn’t do a great deal to create authenticity behind their portrayal, but now that those names are established no others will suffice to step in to fill the role.
The casting was definitely one of the main attractions to Age of Resistance, as if we’re honest, not everybody is going to be sucked in by the offerings of creepy puppets and a strange world alone. I was only mildly interested due to the fact The Dark Crystal film terrified me as a kid (I’m still a coward now so some things never change) but if it wasn’t for the massive cast of household names and the first wave of highly positive reviews I might have not looked into the show at all.
As soon as I found out about the voice talents drafted in to bring Thra to life I was completely invested, and to this day I still find myself imitating The Chamberlain’s whimper or declaring things to be ‘sacrilege!’ like the Ritual Master.
Now that Age of Resistance has made a name for itself, it can’t simply drop the big names and bring in lesser known and therefore cheaper voice actors, as that would dampen the feeling of season two before it’s even released.
As there were Skeksis known to fans who did not appear in Age of Resistance, it stands to reason they would have to follow the example already set by being voiced exclusively by big name actors, which in turn would only serve to inflate costs further to give new Skeksis the ability to command as much screen presence as the already well established characters.
For the record, I really wanted Gwendoline Christie to voice The Mariner and Will Arnett to voice the Slave Master.
More Expensive Production
I’ve touched on this with the big name cast already but it is worth pointing out that the sets and character puppets take hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. The obvious argument to this is that the majority of puppets have already been made, and sets like the Castle of the Crystal are already fully realised. The unfortunate answer to that is in order to make season two as much of a success as the first, and I’m reiterating points from my original point on this list, it would take a lot more money to be able to carry on the fanfare and magic created from the first season.
Lack of skekLach
My final point, and scoff all you like, is that as skekLach dies in the season finale I think the show died with them. skekLach is one of those characters who is so grotesque that you can’t look away but also so funny that they always command your attention while on-screen. The unfortunate fact their head explodes makes it highly unlikely they could return.
skekLach’s banter with the Scroll Keeper is one of my favourite moments of the opening episode, and the ‘this issss fuuuun’ line with the General in episode nine is also a highlight for me.
I could also do without (but also wanted with every fibre of my being) a modern take on the Garthim Soldiers, and I choose to believe the only reason another season isn’t being made is because they scared the writers so much that they physically couldn’t carry on. Maybe Netflix will change their mind in the future..
How do you feel about the cancellation of this phenomenal series? Who was your favourite Skeksis? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @MaliceVER and I will be back next week with, I hope, a much less depressing feature. Thanks for reading!