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They were once a great elven-like race on the world of Thra. They had created large cities and had mastered many aspects of magic, including the ability of prophecy. They were also a peaceful race who opposed the Skeksis, who carried on a genocide against them.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Female Gelflings have fairy wings; males don't.
- The Dreaded: To the Skeksis, The Gelflings are nothing more than monsters that want to kill them.
- Telepathy: Two Gelflings can read each other's mind by physical contact (like touching their hands.)
Voiced by: Stephen GarlickA Gelfling orphan who was saved from the genocide and raised by the wisest of the Mystics.
- Berserk Button: Kira's death infuriates him and gives him the resolve he needs to restore the Crystal.
- Last of His Kind: What he thought until he met Kira.
Voiced by: Lisa MaxwellA Gelfling orphan who was raised by the Podlings.
- Does Not Like Shoes: According to The Merch (in the form of her 2001 and 2016 action figures), she goes barefoot. Probably overlaps with Earthy Barefoot Character.
- Heroic Albino: Kira seems to have this look going on, except for the hazel eyes. Then again, she's a Gelfling living on the planet Thra, so it might be hard to apply earthly biology to these critters.
- Last of Her Kind: What she thought until she met Jen.
- Our Fairies are Different: Like all female Gelflings, she's got fairy wings.
- Raised by Wolves: She was raised by the Podlings but grew up in the wilderness.
A race of creatures not native to Thra and born of the Crystal before it became dark. They were noble beings shining with an inner light, however, in attempting to perfect themselves, they instead tore themselves apart to become two distinct races, the Mystics and the Skeksis.
- Fusion Dance: The surviving urRu and Skeksis are rejoined into their original Urskek forms at the end.
The ur Ru (a.k.a. Mystics)
The Mystics are peaceful crouching, bipedal creatures with 4 fully-functional arms and long necks covered with a mane of hair, ending in a triangular head with an extremely wrinkled face. They have long tails that drag on the ground, and only stand up to their full height at the Great Conjunction. According to the novelization urRu means: "The old and wise ones." They are actually spawn of the UrSkeks species and lost control of Thra in a tumultuous conflict with the Skeksis who also spawned from UrSkeks during the burning light emitted from the Crystal during the last Great Conjunction.
- Actual Pacifist: They have all the virtue of the UrSkeks, but none of the assertiveness.
- Age Without Youth: Though they still age more gracefully than the Skeksis.
- Big Good: They are this to Jen, and essentially the plot.
- Call to Adventure: When it's time for Jen to start his adventure, they call him with an Ethereal Choir which echoes as far as the jungle where Jen is playing his double flute.
- Dying Race: There's about ten eight by the end of the film, when there were originally eighteen. note
- Embodiment of Virtue: They are peaceful and gentle to a fault.
- Extreme Doormat: Due to their benevolent nature, they can't take action, since action is a negative force.
- Gentle Giant: The biggest characters in the movie (save for the Garthims), as well as the nicest.
- The Hermit: Compared to the Skeksis' lavish lifestyle, they live much more humbly and more isolated from society.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Nonviolent, humble and gentle to a fault, which is why they send Jen who is more assertive than they are.
- I Was Quite a Looker: When they first divided from the UrSkeks, they were lean and agile.
- Long Lived: Due to their connection to the Skeksis via original form, the UrSkeks, they have lived long lives due to the former's extended life technologies.
- Long Neck: All of them, likely to support their bodies.
- Multi-Armed Multitasking: They share multiple arms with the Skeksis, but theirs are much more noticeable, predominant and useful.
- No Body Left Behind: They die more gracefully then the Skeksis.
- Only Six Faces: Double subverted. Compared to the Skeksis who all have unique traits, the Mystics are harder to tell apart unless you look very closely at their faces and clothes.
- Psychic Link: They are linked with the Skeksis. If a Skeksis is injured or dies, his Mystic alter-ego feels pain or dies because they were originally the same being.
- The Quiet One: Only two Mystics have any dialogue beyond a single phrase, but by nature they don't talk at all.
- The Stoic
UrSu the Master
Voiced by: Brian MuelhThe wisest of the Mystics and their chief, who saved Jen and educated him. Before he died, he commissioned Jen for his quest, showing him what the shard of crystal looked like and where to find it — at Aughra's observatory.
- The Atoner: Since he was an UrSkek, he is largely responsible for everything going wrong.
- Big Good: He serves as the Mystics' leader before he died.
- Deathbed Confession: His last words lead Jen to the plot, just before he dies.
- Last Request: To fix the world and get rid of the Skeksis.
- No Body Left Behind: After UrSu dies, he disappears in sparkles.
- Parental Substitute: He adopted Jen after his parents were killed.
UrIm the HealerUrlm is the Mystics' Healer, and counterpart to the Garthim Master. UrIm could still perceive the corona of the UrSkeks flowing in the Mystics, though the Great Division had unbalanced it. urIm sought to restore this balance by using amulets, baths and acupuncture. With his right hands he made patterns in the air to restore the fires of the soul, with his left hands he made patterns in water to reduce them. He neglected all music, save for that of the death trance.
- Actual Pacifist: The technical appointed leader of the Mystics after the leader's death, he does not engage in conflict like the rest of his brethren, but by his nature as a healer, he especially does not do so.
- Big Good: Technically he does, via connection to the current Big Bad, the Garthim Master.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He neglects all the musical activities of the Mystics save that of death rites and later on their final journey, rarely joining in the music rituals.
- Irony: While he himself is a pacifist, his counterpart is a Blood Knight with a Hair-Trigger Temper.
- The Medic: Using acupuncture and bathes to heal his companions.
UrSol the ChanterUrSol is the Chanter and the counterpart of SkekSil the Skeksis Chamberlain. He is the one with the topknot and green coat. Although he has the job of chanter, it is urZah who leads the Mystics in the chants in the movie.In the novelization, he taught Jen music, but Jen couldn't sing like a Mystic.
- Psychic Link: When Jen stabs the Chamberlain, urSol's hand also bleeds.
UrZah the Ritual Guardian
Voiced by: Sean BarrettUrZah is the Mystic ritual guardian, and the Mystic counterpart of SkekZok the Skeksis ritual master. He would make the sand paintings of prophecy for the Mystics by pouring out the colored sands while the others chanted. urZah would comb and brush the sands of amethyst, opal, agate, onyx, and chalcedony to build the forms of spiral energy. He speaks more freely than the other urRu, but mostly in riddles. Deep meditation leaves spirals in all his body, not just in his face. He is the first Mystic seen in the movie. He also leads the chants throughout the movie and leads the Mystics out of the Valley of when it is time to return to the castle.
- Big Good: Shares this with the technical leader, UrIm the Healer, being the one with the most assertiveness in the group.
- The Face: He gets the most dialogue of the Mystics, second to urSu.
UrTih the AlchemistUrTih was the Mystic Alchemist, and counterpart to SkekTek the Skeksis Scientist. He wore a bandana, and his right front arm and leg were artificial limbs of wood. He was forever lost in his alchemical experiments, constantly seeking to change the forms of substances. He approached his work with humility, as he knew that he could never create anything that was nature's work. urTih ultimately never managed to merge with his Skeksis counterpart, having suffered an untimely death when SkekTek fell to his fiery death in the Chamber of Life.
- Artificial Limbs: Has them in the same place as SkekTek.
- Killed Off for Real: When SkekTek dies, UrTih, as the other half of their shared UrSkek soul, dies as well.
- No Body Left Behind: He spontaneously combusts when his Skeksis counterpart falls into the pit beneath the Dark Crystal.
UrNol the HerbalistHe is the Mystic Herbalist, and counterpart to SkekNa the Skeksis Slave Master. He was distinguished by his eye patch and splintered finger. He was a close friend of urAmaj the Cook, and the two of them would attend to the greater and lesser balances of the bodies and spirits of their companions. His medicinal herbs, which he grew in his own gardens, were taken in between meals. Birds' feathers and the mosses and lichens that grew on the Standing Stones were also used in his concoctions.
UrAmaj the CookUrAmaj was the Mystics' Cook, and counterpart to SkekAyuk the Skeksis Gourmand. He was a close friend of UrNol the Herbalist, and the two of them would attend to the greater and lesser balances of the bodies and spirits of their companions. He approached his work slowly, blending the flavours and textures of various food till the desired soothing properties were attained. UrAmaj's meals however was disliked by Jen, as he was unable to cook Gelfling food.
- Good Counterpart: To SkekAyuk, where the latter cooks for his companions, the latter who would only have it prepared only to eat it himself.
- One-Note Cook: As Jen notes, he is unable to cook Gelfling, implying that he knows how to make Mystic food.
- Supreme Chef: He does this by blending the flavours and textures of various food till the desired soothing properties were attained to feed his companions.
UrAc the ScribeUrAc was the urRu's Scribe, and counterpart to SkekOk the Scroll Keeper. Aside from composing the urRu's prayers and carving their Prayer Sticks, urAc incorporated the thoughts of his comrades on unwound cloth spirals, a process the urRu called "writing in rays of sunlight." He wound particularly deep thoughts into spirals.
UrYod the NumerologistUrYod the Numerologist kept track of time with moving strings of stones. Before the Urskeks' division, he aided Aughra with the Observatory. He is the Mystic counterpart of SkekShod the Skeksis Treasurer.
UrUtt the WeaverUrUtt the Weaver created the blanket coats wore by the Mystics. Every coat was a record of the wearer's thoughts and fate. He used a system of knotted threads to make them, not using scissors to cut the fabric. In the film, he is seen playing the harp at urSu's funeral. He is the Mystic counterpart to SkekEkt the Skeksis Ornamentalist.
- Harp of Femininity: In addition to his weaving talents, he plays a harp, which serves as the Leitmotif of the Mystics as a whole.
The Skeksis are vulture-like humanoids who took control of Thra after a tumultuous conflict with the Mystics. Both species spawned from the UrSkeks during the burning light emitted from the Crystal during the last Great Conjunction. When prophecies revealed that the Skeksis tyranny would end when the missing shard of the Dark Crystal is one day found and restored by the Gelfling people, they took the Gelfling tribe by force. With the help of their Garthim warriors they managed to kill all but two survivors, Jen and Kira.
- Age Without Youth: A major plot point, as they capture Gelflings and Podlings to temporally reverse the aging process because they get uglier with age unlike the Mystics.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Unlike their Mystics counterparts, they live lavishly and dominate everyone through their self-imposed royalty.
- Big Bad: A Big Bad Ensemble of sorts, but the true one would be SkekUng via Authority Equals Ass Kicking and SkekSil being The Heavy.
- The Caligula: Initially much more affable in the past, they eventually descend into selfish and genocidal behavior as time passed.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Unlike their counterparts the Mystics, the Skeksis each have a unique wardrobe and shaped skull to identify which individual is which.
- Creepy Long Fingers: All of them.
- Deadly Decadent Court: As close as one gets in this series.
- Dying Race: There's ten at the time of the film when there was originally eighteen note
- Embodiment of Vice: Jim Henson said that in the development of the Skeksis, the creators drew inspiration from the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Even Evil Has Standards: They might be decadent, genocidal tyrants, but they abhor profanity.Aughra: Mouldy mildew, mother of mouthmuck, dangle and strangle and death!Ornamentalist: Oh! How crude.Ritual Master: Watch your tongue, harridan!
- Evil Is Hammy: SkekUng being the most prominent.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: They don't age well.
- Evil Old Folks: They are 1000 years old as well as genocidal hedonists.
- Feathered Fiend: Technically not feathered, but they're birds all the same.
- Immortality Seeker: They do this via life extensions by extracting Podling and Gelfling energy, but apparently the Dark Crystal's final Great Conjunction would've made them immortal.
- Interservice Rivalry: All of them. Especially with Ung and Sil.
- It's All About Me: They live to live beautifully, eternally and satisfy their hedonism.
- I Was Quite a Looker: In their youth, they were slender, vibrantly colored, and partial to wielding ornate fan-like devices.
- Jabba Table Manners: Except for the Ornamentalist. Some of the things they eat aren't dead yet.
- Long Lived: Via life extension.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They share this trait with the Mystics, but thankfully theirs is atrophied.
- Non-Action Big Bads: The Garthims do all the dirty work for them, despite having tremendous strength.
- Obviously Evil: Not in the beginning, but by the film, they all are.
- Psychic Link: They are linked with the Mystics. If a Skeksis is injured or dies, his Mystic alter-ego feels pain or dies.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Concept artist Brian Froud claims the Skeksis are made to look "part reptile, part predatory bird, part dragon."
- Sinister Schnoz: Technically beaks. An exception is the Gourmet, whose beak is much less prominent.
- Spot Light Stealing Squad: Easily the most memorable characters of the film and steal the spotlight from everyone.
- Toothy Bird: All of them sport teeth in their mouths.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Skeksis consider Roast Nebrie to be a great delicacy, often slaughtering the animal for their daily banquets.
- You Don't Look Like You: In the prequel they first defused from the Mystics, they lack the unique faces of the ones we know of the film for some reason.
SkekSo the Emperor
Voiced by: Jerry NelsonThe dying ruler of the Skeksis.
- Big Bad: Prior to his death, he serves as the main antagonist of the film.
- Determinator: Will not let anyone touch his scepter till he is dead.Emperor: Mine! Ehh-ehh Mine! Not! I-I-I-I am still Em... Pe... Ror... I... (dies)
- The Emperor: The first one till his death.
- Evil Counterpart: To urSu the Mystic Master.
- Evil Overlord: For about 1000 years he was this. Now he's dying.
- Made of Evil: There's a reason he crumbles like a dry and rotten piece of wood eaten by termites.
- No Body Left Behind: Crumbles into dust when he dies.
- Synchronization: When he dies, UrSu dies with him.
SkekUng the General / the New Emperor
Voiced by: Michael KilgarriffThe strongest and most brutal of the Skeksis, he is the master of the Garthims. He competes against the Chamberlain for the throne and wins the Trial by Stone, becoming the new Emperor.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Physically the strongest of the Skeksis.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: How he gained the authority by beating his rival as well as the other Skeksis not wanting to fight him.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist of the film, via being leader of the Skeksis.
- The Big Guy: Served as this as the physically strongest of the Skeksis, though technically the second largest after SkekZok.
- The Emperor: The second one till the re-merger.
- Evil Overlord: Gains this title after winning the Trial by Stone.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Has a deep growling voice, courtesy of Michael Kilgarriff.
- Guttural Growler: He speaks with a very raspy voice.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's very quick to anger.
- I Want Them Alive: To regain his youth via the Chamber of Life.
- Large Ham: By far the hammiest Skeksis.Trial by STOOONE!Garthim! ATTAAACK!
- The Starscream: Not openly until the death of the Emperor.
SkekSil the Chamberlain
Voiced by: Barry DennenThe chief Secretary and second in line to the throne. After the death of the Emperor, his greed for power led to a challenge by the General, when he decided to crown himself the new self-appointed emperor. Without hesitation, SkekUng confronted him and issued the challenge for supremacy. The Chamberlain responded by declaring the challenge be a Trial by Stone. After the duel, the Chamberlain was outcasted as punishment for losing to the new emperor.
- Blatant Lies: Since he was planning to use Jen and Kira to regain his status.
- Evil All Along: Then again, looking as vile and smug as he is, it's not hard to understand why.
- Evil Chancellor: Technically, the Chamberlain, but has the same attitude.
- The Exile: For a majority of the film, he is exiled by the Skeksis after being defeated by SkekUng. At least until he regains it by offering Kira to regain his status.
- Faux Affably Evil: Tries to act as a peacemaker with Jen and Kira, but once the former stabs him; he caves him in a fit of rage.
- The Heavy: While SkekUng led the Skeksis, Sil's actions towards Jen and Kira makes him more of a personal antagonist since he's not confined in the castle.
- Manipulative Bastard: Not successful in manipulating, but his actions arguably get him what he wants.
- Riches to Rags: And back to riches once he takes Kira to restore his honor.
- Sissy Villain: Downplayed. Not as much as SkekEkt though.
- Smug Snake: Thinks he's both strong and clever enough to rule, his interactions with SkekUng and the Gelflings show him otherwise.
- The Starscream: After the death of the Emperor, his open greed for power leads to a challenge by the General.
- He tried to take the scepter from the Emperor while he was on his death thralls. Needless to say, the latter didn't like that.
- Villains Never Lie: In his attempts to lure Jen and Kira to the castle, he explains that the Skeksis fear Gelflings as creatures who will harm them. Though this is actually very true, he says it in the least trustworthy manner possible and the Gelflings wind up bolting.
- You No Take Candle: He slips into this when talking to the Gelflings. This is apparently due to Translation Convention; according to the novelization he only barely speaks the Gelfling language.
SkekTek the Scientist
Voiced by: Steve WhitmireHe is responsible for draining the Essence of the captured Gelflings and Podlings deep inside his laboratory known as The Chamber of Life.
- Disney Villain Death: Pushed down into the fiery chamber, leading to his counterpart's death.
- Evil Genius: Of the Skeksis, and the creator of many of their devices.
- Red Right Hand: Has a mechanical eye.
SkekAyuk the Gourmand
Voiced by: Thick WilsonThe Skeksis court's Gourmand. He likes sweet liquors and hot spices,and he boasts to have a different menu for every feast. He's in charge of the Castle kitchens.
- Evil Counterpart: To urAmaj the Mystic Cook.
- Fat and Skinny: Frequently seen with the Ornamentalist.
SkekEkt the Ornamentalist
Voiced by: Brian MuehlThe most feminine of the Skeksis by far, s/he is frequently seen to be screaming dramatically and being very flamboyant. S/he is in charge of the castle's decorations.
- Evil Counterpart: To urUtt the Mystic Weaver.
- Fat and Skinny: Frequently seen with the fat Gourmand, with whom he seems to share a love of food.
SkekNa the Slave Master
Voiced by: David BuckHe is in charge of the Skeksis' slaves, and chooses promising specimens for the Choir, claiming to have an ear for music. SkekNa is recognizable by his eyepatch around his right eye and a hook which replaces his left hand.
- Evil Counterpart: To urNol the Mystic Herbalist.
- Eye Scream: Sometime before the film began, he lost vision in his right eye.
- Red Right Hand: He has a hook on his left hand and an eyepatch on his right.
SkekZok the Ritual Master
Voiced by: Jerry NelsonThe court Ritual Master (also referred to as the High Priest) of the Skeksis. He leads the Skeksis in their various rituals and practice such as The Ceremony of the Sun, and he sees their laws as absolute and inflexible.
- Ax-Crazy: Kills Kira in a fit of anger due to his overzealous obsession to kill the Gelflings.
- Evil Counterpart: To urZah the Mystic Ritual Guardian.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Arguably the deepest voiced Skeksis, because he doesn't growl like SkekUng.
- Hero Killer: Mortally wounds Kira in the climax.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His actions causes the downfall of the empire, through killing Kira, giving Jen the resolve to heal the Crystal.
- Knight Templar: He views that the Gelflings should die when he finally does kill one, it ends up being the thing to undo their entire existence.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If he hadn't decided to kill Kira, Jen would've probably not had the necessary anger to inject the shard back into the Crystal.
SkekOk the Scroll Keeper
Voiced by: John BaddeleyHe is the shortest of all the Skeksis, something that the other Skeksis laugh at. However he keeps rewriting his accounts in order to please his shifting allies, which causes the truth to be soon lost. He always arrives late to the meetings and usually falls asleep during them.
SkekShod the Treasurer
Voiced by: Charles CollingwoodThe Skeksis Treasurer, counts gifts. Nobody dared to approach him without some offering. Because his greed was so great and his speech so limited, the only way he got his way was extravagant bribery.
The loyal soldiers of the Skeksis. They appear to be Golem-like creatures that are animated through the power of the Dark Crystal. When the dark power of the Crystal was healed the Garthim fell apart to reveal nothing but hollow shells. They were probably created by the Skeksis themselves after the shattering of the Crystal to serve and protect them. They were used to carry out genocide against the Gelfling race.
- The Brute: They act as the brute force of the Skeksis.
- Golem: Are essentially animated armor via the Dark Crystal.
- Mechanical Monster: From the Gelflings and Podlings' perspective.
Voiced by: Billie WhitelawShe is the very essence of the world of Thra itself. An old hermit woman with a gorilla-like face who lives in a brain-shaped observatory atop a mountain, Aughra is wise and experienced enough to know the joy of the world before the takeover by the Skeksis.
- Ambiguous Gender: The character is meant to be a combination of male and female genders. She sounds like a bossy old battleaxe of a grandmother.
- Cluster F-Bomb: A G-rated example is the scene where Aughra shouts fantastic profanity at the Skeksis.Aughra: Moldy mildew, mother of mouthmuck, dangle and strangle and death!note
- Dark is Not Evil: She may be a menacing hermit with a gorilla-like face, but she is one of the good guys.Aughra: Are you afraid of me? Afraid I'm going to EAT YOU?
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: She has no fear of the Skeksis, and when questioned on why she has the ballsnote to treat them with disrespect, she retorts that their time is coming, so she's unafraid of them.
- Eye Scream: She can remove her own eyeball at will and use it like a remote camera. While it doesn't hurt her, it certainly is weird.
- In the backstory, she lost her other eye and came to be how she looks in the film when she laid on the ground to watch the Great Conjunction. A beam of intense light struck her eye, destroying it and burning her badly. She considers it a worthwhile trade.
- Good Is Not Nice: She can be rude to anyone she meets, but she does mean well.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While she may be a jerk, she is a very good person at heart and a wise woman.
- Really 700 Years Old: As the Expanded Universe clarifies, she's in fact almost three thousand years old, having lived through the first two Great Conjunctions and seen all the eras of the Urskeks, Skeksis and Mystics (and all the terror, bloodshed and sorrow) firsthand. By the end of the movie, she's lived through the third Great Conjunction and has officially hit the 3000 mark.
- Solitary Sorceress: Lives by herself in a mountain cave.
Voiced by: Percy EdwardsKira's furry pet.
- Cute but Cacophonic: It speaks in very loud bass shrieks.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It is quick to get angry over the slightest things.
- Undying Loyalty: Even performs a Heroic Sacrifice to try to save Jen.
- Volumetric Mouth: Has a mouth as big as his body when fully yelling.
Voiced by: Miki Iveria, Patrick Monckton, Sue Wheatherby and Barry DennenA race of small, kindly and simple people with potato-shaped heads. They build their tools out of gourds and wood. They have the ability to communicate with animals and live in relative peace. The Podlings were kind enough to adopt Kira after her parents were killed in the Skeksis attack on their people. Their only fear is being captured by the Garthim and taken into slavery.
- Empty Shell: Once their life essence is drained by the Skeksis.
- Hobbits: Probably the closest race the Dark Crystal universe has to them.
- Slave Race: Many of them were taken into slavery by the Skeksis.
- Too Happy to Live: They're throwing a great party with awesome music in honor of the reunion of the last two Gelflings... then the Garthim burst through the wall.