It’s been a few years since rumors of a sequel to the much-beloved puppets-and-nightmares feature The Dark Crystal last bubbled to the surface of the Great Hollywood Remake Swamp. Now, a director once attached to the project has revealed his reasons for walking away, citing the producers’ lack of respect for the ideas of the late Jim Henson.
During a conversation with The Guardian to promote his upcoming sci-fi thriller Infini, director Shane Abbess said that The Dark Crystal 2 (sometimes also known as The Power Of The Dark Crystal) was one of a plethora of projects he was offered after the indie success of his low-budget angel movie Gabriel. But he walked away from the project after executives fought him on following the handwritten notes Henson left behind for the project, because, quote, “Nobody gave a shit about what Jim Henson wanted.”
And while it’s fun to imagine what those handwritten notes might look like—full as they might be of beautiful drawings of androgynous elf children and ideas like, “Let’s take a picture of a young child’s parent, insert it into the film, and have a terrifying bird monster tear them limb from limb”—the executives in question do have a point. The original Dark Crystal, co-directed by Henson and Frank Oz, was at best a minor Hollywood success, only gaining real cultural saturation as time went on and its young viewers gave it good word of mouth during their various group therapy sessions. Plus, Henson hasn’t had a big Hollywood hit in 30 years, having spent the majority of that time focusing on TV work like Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street, and also on the busy work of being dead.