The Skeksis are humanoids with heads of birds of prey who took control of Thra and rule it as "lords of the Crystal". Both the Skeksis and the urRu/Mystics actually spawned from the urSkeks, when the Crystal was cracked during the last Great Conjunction.
For about a thousand years, the Skeksis ruled with the trust of the Gelflings and managed to hide their depravity and exploitation of the Crystal's powers from them... until they found out the corruption they inflicted on the Crystal made it extract the life essence of nearby creatures, and used that essence to prolong their life. They turned on the Gelflings to obtain the purest of said life essence, which caused the Gelflings to rebel.
When prophecies revealed that the tyranny of the Skeksis would end when the missing shard is found and the Crystal is restored by a Gelfling, the Skeksis went on a campaign of genocide. With the help of their new Garthim soldiers, they managed to wipe out the Gelflings, leaving only two known survivors, Jen and Kira.
Individual names of the Skeksis originally come from the film's novelization. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has since made a point of having the Skeksis occasionally address one another by name, and so did the comics The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths before it.
- 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.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Their last moments before the Crystal is restored are spent begging and screaming at Jen not to do it. He doesn't listen.
- Alien Blood: They bleed purplish-red blood, as evident by skekTek's transparent tubes in place of veins which show his blood circulation, and when Jen cuts skekSil's hand with the Crystal shard.
- Always Chaotic Evil:
- Being literally made from the darkness of the urSkeks never gave them much moral autonomy. Still, they manage to make their society work through sheer courtesy and pragmatism.
- Age of Resistance shows that, while most Skeksis are evil, not all of them are purely evil, some being capable of love, remorse and their own moral standards. One of them, skekGra the Heretic, even gave up on his evil ways as the Conqueror and is trying to atone for them.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Skeksis delight in the suffering and humiliation of their comrades, usually willing to turn on each other at a moments notice, but they always stop short of actually killing one another and are usually terrified when one of their own dies. This has less to do with morality and more to do with how their own fear of death and the implications of what the death of one supposedly immortal Skeksis means for the rest of them. The only known Skeksis who has killed another Skeksis is skekSil.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Unlike their Mystic counterparts, they're cruel and live lavishly, dominating everyone through their self-imposed royalty.
- Badass Decay: In the series, they're each killing machines and viciously talented in their respective fields. By the time of the film, however, their society has atrophied to the point where only skekTek the Scientist can be described as having retained his full abilities.
- Believing Their Own Lies: The Skeksis are so terrified of death and the concept of what might happen after death that they try to convince themselves that they are immortal.
- 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.
- Bird People: Essentially rotting toothed humanoid vultures. Brian Froud describes them as being "part reptile, part predatory bird, part dragon".
- The Caligula: Initially much more affable in the past, they eventually descend into selfish and genocidal behavior as time passed.
- Card-Carrying Villain: With the exception of the Chamberlain, the others make no attempts to hide the fact they have done horrible and cruel deeds for selfish reasons and relish in it. When Seladon tries to bargain with them to spare at least some of the Gelfings in Age of Resistance, skekZoc calls her "coldblooded" for betraying her own kind, before mockingly adding on, "She could be a Skeksis!" Brea calls them monsters, to which skekOk retorts "Have you only just figured that out? Perhaps you are not so clever after all."
- Cast of Snowflakes: Unlike their counterparts the Mystics, the Skeksis each have a unique wardrobe and shaped skull to identify which individual is which.
- Circling Vultures: They're basically toothed vultures as it is, and when drinking Mira's essence they look like scavengers fighting for the best bits. Not to mention how they circle the Emperor on his deathbed, with skekSil eyeing his scepter throughout and only skekUng showing the Emperor any respect.
- Cool Sword: The dueling swords for the Trial by Stone ("Haakskeekah" in the original dialogue), are huge shiny and ornately decorated sabers. They were used by the Skeksis in battle at Stone-In-The-Wood prior to this.
- Creepy Long Fingers: All of them have near-skeletal long fingers that are as rotten as the rest of their body.
- Dark Is Evil: In spite of being vulture-like creatures made from the darker halves of the urSkeks who like to dress in black, the Skeksis were intended to not be straight up evil as several side materials show, their contrast with the Mystics being more along the lines of hedonism vs spirituality. They were originally elegant and courteous and even were friends towards Aughra and the Heretic even managed to turn good again, but eventually they gave in to increasingly sicker desires and now are straight up malicious.
- Deadly Decadent Court: They're genocidal hedonists who only think about living an eternal life, maintaining their power over Thra, enslaving the Podlings, dressing in riches and feasting, not even bothering with physical exercise. Without an Emperor to keep everyone in check, they would certainly jump at each other's throat.
- Dirty Coward: By the time of the film, they've managed to exterminate almost every Gelfling, but they run and scream in fear when the Chamberlain presents them with a captured Kira.
- Divide and Conquer: They maintained their power-base so completely by keeping the Gelfling clans at odds with one another through subtle background manipulation. In addition to that they drove the Arathim out of their home, so that their resulting antagonism could be used to direct and distract the Gelfling as needed.
- Does Not Like Shoes: With the exception of the Hunter, none of the Skeksis wear shoes.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Quite literally, as they all revel in the rush that drinking Gelfling essence gives them. And supplementary material says that constant imbibing in the Essence "made them mad", making it seem that the Essence combining with their naturally dark nature is what made them slowly more and more willing to commit heinous acts to get more and more of the Essence, until they finally leapt past the point of no return with the Garthim War.
- 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! We are lords of the Crystal!
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Skeksis more commonly use their titles when talking about each other than their actual names. Exclusively so in the movie, and even with the occasional name-drop in Age of Resistance they still seem to prefer being addressed by their titles, not their names.
- Evil Counterpart Race: To the Mystics.
- Evil Is Hammy: They tend to express themselves loudly when in court, be it rejoicing, cheering or freaking out.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Drawing life energy from the Crystal ironically served to cause their bodies to become more decrepit and withered, and only got worse when they started consuming essence.
- Tellingly, skekMal and skekGra, the two Skeksis who didn't live in the Castle, were in the best shape.
- Evil Old Folks: They are over 1000 years old as well as genocidal hedonists.
- Exotic Equipment: Thanks to skekAyuk's pissing scene we know that Skeksis have three penises or urethral holes.
- Fallen Angel: They are the dark half of the angelic urSkeks, seperated in a failed ritual to get them home.
- Fat Bastard: Some of them are both this and Lean and Mean; generally very scrawny but have fat middles. skekAyuk is just plain fat.
- Feathered Fiend: Technically not so feathered (though some like the Chamberlain and the Garthim-Master do have fuzz akin to that of Old World vultures), but they look like humanoid birds of prey, and they're very wicked.
- Final Solution: They hunted down the Gelflings to extinction.
- Formerly Fit: Aughra notes in Age of Resistance that the castle's Skeksis have become "fat and shriveled all at once" when she was in her space-exploring slumber. Those living outside the castle, the athletic skekMal the Hunter especially, seem to live healthier.Scroll-Keeper: Perhaps your interminable age has finally caught up with you.Aughra: You're ones to talk! Look at you! These are not the Skeksis Aughra remembers! Fat, shriveled, all at once!
- Immortality Seekers: They seek eternal life via life extensions by extracting Podling and Gelfling essence. Apparently, the Dark Crystal's final Great Conjunction would've made them immortal had it not been restored.
- Interservice Rivalry: All of them. Especially with skekUng and skekSil.
- 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, not too dissimilar to female Gelflings' fairy-like wings.
- Jabba Table Manners: Except for the Ornamentalist, their table manners (or lack thereof) are simply disgusting. Some of the things they eat aren't even dead yet.
- Karma Houdini: Played down. At the film's conclusion, all of the (remaining) Skeksis are reformed with their Mystic counterparts, and are restored to their urSkek selves, ironically getting the immortality and power they desired in the process. However, none of them wanted that to happen, as in the process, they lose their individuality.
- Lack of Empathy: All have comparatively little in the way of compassion, probably because they are Made of Evil. Even the benevolent Heretic has Innocently Insensitive tendencies.
- Laughably Evil: While there's plenty of moments not Played for Laughs, thanks to the Large Ham performances and their quirky personalities, it's seldom not amusing or just plain funny when the Skeksis are on screen.
- Lean and Mean: They are very scrawny.
- Light 'em Up: Weirdly enough they make use of magical light in a variety of ways. They regenerate themselves with sunlight and their essence extraction shines the crystal's light on the victims.
- Long-Lived: They managed to extend their lifespan over a thousand years thanks to a life extension Magitek they developed using the power of the Crystal. It also extended the life of the Mystics as a result, since their souls and lives are linked. However it's hinted that it's less that the power of the Crystal is extending their lives, than it is they attempt to use it to attain immortality. Ironically, both skekGra and skekMal are actually healthier than their decrepit counterparts at the Castle precisely because they do not make use of the Crystal, suggesting the Skeksis are naturally long-lived.
- Made of Evil: Upon dying, the Skeksis turn to ashes and crumble, by contrast with the Mystics who are Made of Good and disappear in sparkles. Emperor skekSo is a special case because his prolonged exposure to the Darkening made his body rot, making him crumble like dry rotten wood upon dying instead of ashes.
- Mortality Phobia: The basest motivation of the Skeksis is a deep seated fear of dying; to that end, they were willing to do almost anything to extend their lives, regardless of the consequences. They are so terrified of death that the mere thought of one of them dying causes them to panic. In fact, they share more than a few traits with Batman villain Ra's al Ghul where a certain exchange could fit the Skeksis just as well, "Sure Ra's, why not? Anything to hold off the Grim Reaper another few seconds. I take it back. You don't cheat death; you whimper in fear of it!"
The Emperor: We know the torments that lie behind us, but what torment awaits beyond this existence? All the more reason to hold onto life, with all claws! ...No matter the cost...!
- Breaking this down further, the Emperor and General discuss that what they remember of their time as urSkeks consists of negative emotions like suffering, guilt and sorrow, and describe the remembering of these memories as a nightmare. And, for the Emperor at least, the thought of something even worse waiting for them beyond death is enough motivation for them.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They share this trait with the Mystics, but thankfully theirs are atrophied. Only skekMal the Hunter made any use of them in combat, which made him particularly fearsome.
- Naked on Arrival: Both the Skeksis and urRu (Mystics) appeared naked when their urSkek selves split apart as shown in the comics The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths.
- Non Action Big Bads: Their first battle against the Gelflings didn't turn out well for them as seen in Age of Resistance, so they resorted to using the Garthim, who ended up doing all the dirty work for them.
- The only one to avert the trope in a major way was skekMal the Hunter, who was the deadliest and most agile Skeksis in combat by far, so deadly and unstoppable that it took the suicide of his Mystic counterpart to get rid of him.
- Non-Mammalian Hair: Most of them seem to have wispy hair atop their heads along with eyebrows and eyelashes, despite being based on birds and reptiles. This actually has inspiration on Old World vultures, which do have simple, hair-like feathers covering most of their heads.
- The Nose Knows: They appear to have an enhanced sense of smell, as evidenced when the Scientist and the Chamberlain are able to detect the hiding Rian and Gurjin with skekSil even being able to tell what clans they belong to by scent alone.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In Age of Resistance, the Skeksis often come off as rather foppish and shallow, but the series makes it clear that they are cruel, vicious monsters at heart and are not to be underestimated, often giving individual Skeksis moments to show how dangerous they can be. The best example is probably when the castle guard revolts against them. Even though the Gelfling greatly outnumber them, the Skeksis have no problem in overwhelming them, with even the likes of the Gourmand being able to take them out with ease, and take great sadistic pleasure in doing so.
- Obviously Evil: Not in the beginning, surprisingly enough. They started being this with their actions in Age of Resistance, and by the time of the film, they all are.
- Phlebotinum Dependence: They depend on Gelfling life essence to increase their lifespan. By the time of the film, they have long since run out of it.
- The Power of the Sun: Every day they perform a ritual to use the light of Thra's three suns to regenerate themselves. It only does so much, however, which is why they drain other beings for essence.
- Prefers Raw Meat: They frequently and casually eat live animals.
- 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. Two exceptions are the Gourmand and the Collector, whose beaks are much less prominent.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Easily the most memorable characters of the Dark Crystal universe and steal the spotlight from everyone.
- Succession Crisis: After the death of the Emperor, three candidates emerge to replace him, with supporters on each side — the Chamberlain, the Garthim-Master and the Ritual-Master. The Ritual-Master steps down and it's eventually settled with a Trial by Stone, with the Garthim-Master winning and becoming the new Emperor.
- Synchronization: Due to originally being part of the same species, the lives and souls of the Skeksis and Mystics are linked. If one gets injured or dies, so does his counterpart.
- Toothy Bird: All of them sport teeth in their mouths.
- Trade Your Passion for Glory: In ancient times they exterminated the Gruenaks, drove the Arathim from their homeland, and brought the Gelflings to heel in a series of wars. By the time of the series, centuries of decadence and indolence have taken their toll, to the point that all but one have had their secondary arms atrophy and they can barely match a Gelfling (who they outmass and overpower by a huge margin) in a straight fight. By the time of the movie they rely entirely on Garthim constructs to do their fighting for them.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Skeksis consider Roast Nebrie to be a great delicacy, often slaughtering the animal for their daily banquets.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: When the urSkeks split, their assertiveness and will to act went to the Skeksis; to that end, while the Mystics generally just sit in hiding waiting for something to happen, the Skeksis proactively seek out their own ends.
- Villain with Good Publicity: At the time of Age of Resistance they've convinced the rest of Thra they are benevolent and just rulers, whom the Gelflings serve happily.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Aughra, who voices this almost word-for-word. In Age of Resistance they are noticeably more tolerant of her than with anyone else, verbally dressing her down and banishing her from the castle rather than harming her. She even sounds fond of skekMal of all people when she returns to pay her respects. The Scientist in particular seems unsettled when Aughra reminds them of their past friendship before she is drained.
- You Don't Look Like You: In the prequel comic where they first defused from the Mystics, for some reason they lack the unique faces of the ones we know from the film.
The Castle of the Crystal
The Skeksis who rule Thra from their seat of power, the Castle of the Crystal. They use the powers of the cracked Crystal for their own benefits, no matter how destructive their actions are for Thra.
skekSo the Emperor
Performed by: Jim Henson (1982), Dave Chapman (2019)
Voiced by: Jerry Nelson (1982), Jason Isaacs (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths | The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
- "...never forget, there is absolutely nothing in this world that does not bend to my will."
The first Skeksis Emperor, who revelled in manipulating the destructive force known as the Darkening, which spawned out of the Crystal when it was cracked and corrupted. He is dying as of the beginning of the 1982 film.
- Anxiety Dreams: He started getting them after prolonged exposure to the Darkening. They are implied to be about dying, and what might come after.
- Ascended Extra: He was in the 1982 film, but only in one scene at the beginning, at the very end of his life on his deathbed. He's the Big Bad in Age of Resistance.
- Ax-Crazy: He was presumably quite cunning at some point, but throughout Age of Resistance he acts unhinged and short-sighted, most likely due to his desperation to keep himself immortal.
- Bad Boss: He frequently belittles and batters those under his command, be they Gelfling, Pod Person or Skeksis. He subjects fellow Skeksis to horrific tortures for failure and only stops short of outright killing them due to his belief in Skeksis superiority, his own phobia of death and what the death of one Skeksis may mean for his own mortality.
- Berserk Button: The topic of death. Specifically, his death. He flies into a rage whenever someone warns or even hints that he is fated to die.
- Big Bad: In Age of Resistance.
- Big "NO!": He's fond of these when things go wrong.
- Body Horror: Moreso than the other Skeksis, since he's literally rotting alive. By the time of the movie, his snout has rotted to the bone.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: He doesn't seem to have much love for Thra's wildlife, dismissing them as "meek and fuzzy," and grabs one of skekTek's animals and threatens to crush the thing unless skekTek tells him how many Gelfling they need to drain every trine to live forever. SkekTek manages to come up with a number ("Fifty! Fifty Gelfling! Every trine!"), and so skekSo releases the critter.
- Casting a Shadow: He can manipulate the Darkening via a small crystal on his scepter.
- Classic Villain: A psychotic despot who embodies greed, ambition and pride.
- Determinator: He might be on his deathbed, but he surely won't let anyone touch his scepter till he is Deader Than Dead.
- Due to the Dead:
- His ashes are given a funeral in a Deleted Scene.
- After the supposed death of skekMal the Hunter, the Emperor decrees that his body won't be buried or burned, but clad in the finest armor and hung in the Throne Room so that the Hunter might rule at the side of his fellow Skeksis forever. But then the Hunter turns out to be Not Quite Dead.
- The Emperor: The first Skeksis emperor, who reigned over 1000 years till his death.
- Evil Counterpart: To urSu the Mystic Master.
- Eviler Than Thou: As befitting the leader of the Skeksis, skekSo is perhaps the worst of all of them. When the Scientist and Chamberlain urge caution over the excessive use of Essence, the Emperor dismisses them and allows everyone to gorge themselves. When skekTek wants to slow the draining because of the Darkening and the damage it will do, skekSo screams at him that there is no such thing as the Darkening, only for it be revealed later that not only is skekSo fully aware of the Darkening's existence and its effects but he actively seeks to harness it for its power. In the end, skekSo will go the extra mile for cruelty and looks down on the pragmatism and standards of any of the other Skeksis.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Usually he has no sense of humor whatsoever, but he seems to think he's being hilarious when he responds to every one of Seladon's attempts to negotiate with a childish, "Uh, no". Of course, the rest of the ass-kissing Skeksis laugh themselves feral.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Counts for all Skeksis really, but particularly for him. It's his manipulation of the Darkening that makes him rot.
- Evil Overlord: For about 1000 years he ruled over Thra, with the Skeksis' tyranny becoming more overt by the time of Age of Resistance. The power and presence he wields is so potently intimidating, that even as a withering and decrepit vulture on his deathbed literally seconds away from death, he can still command fear among the other Skeksis with only his voice. And his actions in Age of Resistance show why this is so.The Emperor: General, you will take The Chamberlain's place at my side.
The General: I am honored, sire-
The Emperor: No! You are commanded.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Very much not the case with Jerry Nelson's reedy performance in the original film, but Jason Isaacs in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance gives his typical deep voice, which was presumably worn away by his rotting after so much exposure to the Darkening. This is proven when he removes his prosthetic beak when he speaks to the General to display the toll the Darkening has taken on his body. When removed, his voice sounds distinctly closer to the withered and reedy voice he has in the Movie.
- Evil Sorcerer: That scepter of his isn't just a symbol of power, it's a conduit through which he can manipulate the Darkening.
- Famous Last Words: "I...I...I...am...still emperor. I..."
- Freudian Excuse: The Emperor is driven by far more than simply his fear of death. The nightmares he's been experiencing about his existence before he was sundered from his counterpart has him living in existential fear about what may happen if the Crystal is ever healed, and the Skeksis and urRu are ever recombined. As skekSo he carries no guilt for all his cruelty and avarice, and he's terrified what it will mean if he were to ever be rejoined with urSu, and regain the capacity for it.
- Hypocrite: When Aughra resists giving up her essence, skekSo furiously accuses her of reneging on their bargain. Never mind the fact that he went back on his own word when he ordered the General to kill the Gelflings that were freed in exchange for Aughra's essence.
- I Lied:
- Said word-for-word to skekVar, in regards to his public denials about the existence of the Darkening.
- After Aughra voluntarily offers to be drained of her essence to save skekMal's life on the condition the Emperor releases all the Gelfling prisoners he plans on draining, the Emperor agrees. And then covertly tells skekVar to murder them all once they're out of their cages and out of Aughra's sight.
- Irony: In the prequel The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, he claims that "[He] did not build an empire just to turn to dust." His fate in the movie is exactly that.
- He also furiously rebukes Aughra's statement as she's being drained that he will never turn to dust. As above, that's his fate in the film.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Threatens one of skekTek the Scientist's lab animals unless he can come up with the number of Gelflings it'll take for them to drain in order to live forever. skekTek manages to blurt out "Fifty! Fifty Gelfling! Every trine!", so skekSo releases the animal.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: When skekMal arrives at the Citadel, mortally wounded, the Emperor spares no expense in doing everything possible to keep him alive. Not because he cares about one of his own, but because he's horrified about the ramifications of a Skeksis dying when he believes they're immortal and what it means for his own mortality. Even his elaborate Due to the Dead is more about reinforcing the idea of Skeksis being eternal beings. It's also why he doesn't execute fellow Skeksis for failure, "merely" torturing them instead.
- Jerkass: While most of the Skeksis are capable of feigning affability to maintain the ruse, it seems beyond the Emperor. He's a resolute asshole to absolutely everyone, including his fellow Skeksis. He's short-tempered, impatient and perpetually angry. That being said, he does put on a pretty convincing act when promising Rian's father that the Skeksis will "cure" his son of his supposed madness.
- Karmic Death: His situation and eventual death is due entirely to his own actions, as his manipulation of the Darkening causes him to rot and decay much faster than his fellow Skeksis.
- King on His Deathbed: The film opens with the Emperor on the verge of death before crumbling away, thus setting the Chamberlain and the Garthim-Master against each other for the right to succeed him.
- Lack of Empathy: All Skeksis lack empathy to one degree or another but it's especially noticeable with the Emperor. Near the end of the first season part of his motivation is revealed to be that he's afraid of the capacity for empathy and guilt; merging with his Mystic half would restore those feelings and he will do what he can to prevent that from ever happening.
- Large and in Charge: He stands the tallest of all of the Skeksis, even if he isn't the brawniest.
- Made of Evil: Upon dying, he undignifyingly crumbles like a dry and rotten piece of wood, which mirrors the decadent and brutal way he reigned (and revealed in Age of Resistance to be because of his insistence on working with the Darkening, which slowly rotted him from the inside out). His Mystic counterpart, by contrast, is Made of Good, and disappears as gracefully as his life was simple and pacifistic.
- Nasal Trauma: Under his silver beak-covering, the Emperor's snout and nostrils are decomposing hideously.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Seladon could have been his greatest asset; she's blindly loyal even above her own family and as the new All-Maudra, she could have been instrumental in silencing dissent. All the Emperor had to do was throw on his Faux Affably Evil face and give the slightest, most meaningless of concessions. Instead, he had her humiliated and imprisoned. By and large, his decision to stop being a Villain with Good Publicity in favor of becoming an outright tyrant helps fuel the rebellion against him.
- Nightmare Face: Without his metal prosthetic beak, it's revealed that his snout has rotted to the bone. Also displayed in the film when he rises one last time to prevent the Chamberlain from grabbing his scepter.
- Not Quite Dead: When the Chamberlain thinks the Emperor is in a coma or far enough into death and grabs his scepter, the Emperor uses his last bit of strength to rise one last time and ferociously hold onto it, then passes away.
- Pragmatic Villainy: For the most part this is Averted. The Emperor is shown to be a being of excess and quick gratification and reacts violently to the Scientist and Chamberlain's cautions about consuming Essence too quickly or rule through slow subterfuge. That said there are a few moments where the Emperor is shown to rein himself in; he declines to have Gurjin drained when the Scientist rebuilds his machine because Gurjin still has information. This also seems to be why he doesn't kill any of the other Skeksis as doing so would shatter the illusion of their immortality, an illusion he fights to maintain.
- Predecessor Villain: Was this to skekUng the Garthim-Master for about a thousand trine (years), as the Emperor.
- Red Right Hand: He's rotting away from his exposure to the Darkening, with his beak-nose having been rotted to the bone.
- Sadist: He's seemingly more sadistic than some of the other Skeksis, taking great pleasure in leading the charge against Seladon after spending time cruelly taunting her. Also, previously, when the Scientist is draining Mira, while all the other Skeksis initially react with shock, confusion, and even horror (they don't know about the essence at this point), the Emperor's first reaction is to laugh, as if entertained by the sight of another creature in pain. Only having a problem and demanding skekTek explain himself when she perishes as a result, likely only because killing Gelflings is problematic to their "Benevolent rulers" image unless they have good reason...like their essence stopping their aging.
- And during the Peeper Beetle Ceremony, he spends the majority of it laughing his head off as The Scientist screams for mercy and cries in utter terror as the Peeper Beetle scuttles across their head, and he's seen in the background getting in nice and close with what could only be described as an excited smile of anticipation right as the Peeper Beetle forces The Scientist's eyelid open to get at it's meal.
- The Sociopath: A sadistic liar devoid of empathy, the Emperor also goes a further step by being barely functioning, having a poor impulse control.
- Sorcerous Overlord: He rules with an iron fist and as the Darkening grows he seeks to wield its power. His control is limited but the volatile energy makes him an even more powerful monster.
- Stupid Evil: Actively cultivated the Darkening for the sake of power, in spite of being aware of its effects on his already frail body and even comparing it to Thra's decay. He also seems very short sighted, not caring for the Chamberlain's idea of moderating their feeding habits, or the Scientist's concern about the spread of the Darkening.
- Synchronization: When he dies, urSu dies with him.
- Villain Has a Point: In Age of Resistance Episode 3, when Aughra confronts him about the Crystal, the Emperor accurately points out that she willingly gave up ownership of the Crystal in exchange for the Skeksis (actually the urSkeks) building her an orrery, and that for the last thousand trine, she's taken absolutely no interest in the affairs of Thra.
- Villainous Breakdown: He throws a huge tantrum when skekMal the Hunter seemingly dies."Dead... No, no, no. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! WE! CAN! NOT! DIE! [Smashes equipment; starts gasping painfully] ...I cannot die."
(Shaking with rage) "I...will NEVER...be...DUST!! NOOOO!!! "
- Throws another major one when Aughra, while being drained yet not providing essence, says that he and his kind are doomed, and are nothing but dust. It causes him to have a tantrum so powerful that he pulls the lever that supercharges the draining process, something The Scientist told him not to do, out of fear of what it might do to the crystal.
- We Have Reserves: He thinks nothing of slaughtering Gelflings by the dozens, seemingly never halting to think that the Gelflings are a finite resource.
skekUng the Garthim-Master / the (Second) General / the New Emperor
Performed by: Dave Goelz (1982)
Voiced by: Michael Kilgarriff (1982)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal
- "I hate your whimper!"
The strongest of the Skeksis by the time of the film, and the one in command of the Garthim. He challenges the Chamberlain for the throne after the death of Emperor skekSo, and wins the Trial by Stone, thus becoming the new Emperor.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He becomes the new Emperor by beating the Chamberlain at the Trial by Stone with his superior strength. The other Skeksis don't even bother to challenge him.
- That he's both strong and an imposing presence is also very likely the reason he was put in command of the Garthim.
- Badass Long Robe: His robes are decked in armor pieces that rattle as he moves, unlike the other Skeksis who wear mere cloth robes. He even wears a pair of spurs which spark every time he walks.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist for Jen and Kira, by way of being leader of the Skeksis for most of the film.
- The Brute: He's undoubtedly the strongest of the remaining Skeksis and easily one of the most brutish and violent, at one point being described as "finding pleasure in tearing apart the gentle Gelfling".
- The sequel comic, Power of the Dark Crystal, gives a rather terrifying look at what his strength was like in his prime when he begins single-handedly punching through a barricade of stone rubble using only his fists after consuming the essence of the Crystaline Eminence, all in order to get to a wounded, elderly Jen who he had nearly killed earlier.
- The Caligula: In the novelization, he ends up losing his mind and plans on executing the Scientist after the Convergence (he doesn't know the Scientist is already dead) and going even farther than skekSo ever did.
- Contrasting Replacement Character: In regards to the Skeksis who held his positions in the first season of Age of Resistance.
- As the new General, he considers skekSil the Chamberlain as a serious threat within the court unlike skekVar, not leaving him much room to scheme. He also has an army to command, the Garthim, while skekVar had none.
- As the new Emperor, he is not a Sorcerous Overlord like skekSo, who wielded the Darkening. He is content with ruling by Asskicking Equals Authority and sending his Garthim to do the work.
- The Dragon: He is the most dangerous (and seemingly loyal) servant to the Emperor at the time of the film with his brute strength and command over the Garthim. He eventually becomes a Dragon Ascendant after winning the Trial by Stone.
- Dragon Ascendant: skekUng seems to be actually loyal to the Emperor, demanding his fellow Skeksis show him respect even on his deathbed. Unlike skekSil, skekUng is not openly vying for the crown until the death of the Emperor. Then he openly opposes the Chamberlain, whom he despises for a while, and they settle the dispute with a Trial by Stone, which skekUng wins, earning the position of Emperor.
- The Emperor: The second Emperor of the Skeksis.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- While the other Skeksis are hovering around the Emperor on his deathbed like vultures waiting for him to die, skekUng demands that they all kneel and bow to show respect to their dying leader.
- As with skekZok the Ritual Master, he respects the rules and gets pissed when skekSil the Chamberlain tries to grab the Scepter of Office before a new Emperor has been formally chosen.
- He doesn't personally partake in stripping down skekSil and orders the others to stop before they can do anything worse to him and has him banished. When skekSil shows up with a captured Kira, an impressed skekUng gives him his title and clothes back on the spot.
- Evil Counterpart: To urIm the Mystic Healer.
- Evil Is Hammy: Courtesy of Michael Kilgarriff's booming voice and guttural shoutings, he is by far the loudest of the Skeksis, bordering on No Indoor Voice. Highlights include:"KNEEEEEEEEL! BOWWWWWWWW!""CHAMBERLAAAAIN!! LAY DOWN THAT SCEPTER!""Trial by STOOONE!""Garthim! ATTAAACK!""DEATH TO GELFLING!""THIS IS NO GELFLING!""Find that Gelfling - NOWWWW!""You FRAUD!! ARGGH! LIAR!!! Slave squeezer!"
- Evil Overlord: He becomes Emperor after winning the Trial by Stone, and terrorizes Thra with the Garthim, who wreak havoc in many places in search of the last of the Gelflings.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Has a deep growling voice courtesy of Michael Kilgarriff.
- Grumpy Bear: He always looks grumpy. The closest he has to a "happy" expression on his face comes after drinking Podling essence, and it doesn't last very long.
- Guttural Growler: He speaks with a very raspy voice, again courtesy of Michael Kilgarriff at his hammiest.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's quite quick to anger, to say the least. His volatile anger is what sets him apart from the other Skeksis.
- I Want Them Alive: Contrary to the Ritual Master, he wants Jen and Kira alive, to drain their life essence and regain his youth (or at least some of it).
- Large and in Charge: He is a bit taller than the other Skeksis, has the most imposing stature of them all, and becomes the new Emperor.
- Legacy Character: Technically this after The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He is the second Skeksis to hold the rank of General (following the death of skekVar), and later the second Skeksis to hold the position of Emperor (following the death of skekSo).
- Mook Commander: Commands over the Garthim, who fill the mooks role for the Skeksis.
- Omnicidal Maniac: In the novelization, he goes completely insane and decides to wipe out all life on Thra besides his brethren.
- Phlegmings: He visibly drools at times.
- Power Of Hate: During the Trial by Stone, he gets pissed when the other Skeksis start to cheer on skekSil and musters enough force to break the stone into several glowing pieces with his second swing.
- Put on a Bus: He is absent from the castle during the first season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He is, however, mentioned in Episode 9, where it is suggested to summon him. The unveiling of the Garthim prototype at the end of Episode 10 following the Skeksis' first defeat also hints at his return to command legions of them during the incoming Garthim War.
- The Rival: He openly rivals and challenges skekSil the Chamberlain for the throne after the Emperor's death.
- Short-Lived Leadership: He was emperor for mere days, weeks at best, before the remaining Skeksis (himself included) and Mystics were reunited into the urSkeks. His predecessor remained on the throne for over a thousand years, for comparison.
- Villainous Breakdown: He is prone to losing his temper whenever his plans don't go the way he expected.
skekSil the Chamberlain
Performed by: Frank Oz (1982), Warrick Brownlow-Pike (2019)
Voiced by: Barry Dennen (1982), Simon Pegg (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The slimy, constantly scheming and whimpering chief secretary of the Skeksis court and second in line to the throne. With mere suggestions to his brethren, he broke the hundreds of trines old status quo between the Skeksis, which ended in a war that caused the Gelfling's near-extinction. After the death of the Emperor, his greed for power led to a challenge for supremacy by skekUng the Garthim Master, when he decided to crown himself emperor. The Chamberlain responded by declaring the challenge be a Trial by Stone. After losing the Trial by Stone, the Chamberlain was banished as punishment.
Has a Self Demonstrating page.
- Ambition Is Evil: As he tells skekMal the Hunter, the Chamberlain's own quarry is power, and there's nothing he won't do to obtain it. And taking or even trying to take the power he has already gained from him may as well be a death sentence for you. As skekVar learned the hard way.Hunter: Pathetic!! You hunt a chair?!
Chamberlain: No! I...hunt...power. You have your trophy, I have mine.
Hunter: I will honor your hunt. Take your trophy and I will take mine. But if you deny me...
Chamberlain: Yes! Yes! Hunter will never stop until hunt is finished.
- The Artifact: Why does the Chamberlain speak in broken sentences while every other Skeksis speaks perfectly? Because originally, the Skeksis had their own untranslated language similar to the Podlings, and he was the only one able to speak Gelfing language (or at least shown to be able to) to some degree, which would have come as a surprising reveal. The Skeksis language was scrapped in development since it made it too difficult to tell what the hell was going on, but skekSil continued to speak only simple "English". However, as a side-effect, it made him appear to have Obfuscating Stupidity, hiding a cunning mind behind a mask of dimwitted friendliness.
- Berserk Button: There is little that can make the Chamberlain outwardly enraged, compared to the rest of his fellows. But it's shown very quickly in Age of Resistance that he does NOT tolerate someone making moves on his position as the Emperor's advisor in any fashion. He outright confronts the physically stronger skekVar for standing in "his spot" by the Emperor's side. And the Emperor replacing skekSil with skekVar as his advisor causes skekSil to pursue a long con that results in him murdering skekVar, breaking the Skeksis' Ape Shall Not Kill Ape law.Chamberlain: OUT of my SPOT! (Hisses loudly)
- Beware the Silly Ones: In the original film he's almost a comical figure, with his odd speech patterns and whimpering. However, as the series unfolds, it reveals just how dangerous he actually is (or at least used to be). He very nearly breaks Rian with words alone, and he masterfully orchestrates the downfall of the General. He's the only Skeksis in the entire series who kills one of his fellows, and his murder of skekVar may be one of the cruelest acts carried out by any Skeksis in the series outside of draining the essence of Gelflings.note Behind that whimper and toadying speech patterns is a ruthless and merciless schemer who will achieve his goals at any cost.
- Blatant Lies: He claims this is his specialty. He convinced the Gelflings that Rian is a murderer and has a madness that is contagious. At least until they learned the truth.
- He plans to use Jen and Kira to regain his status, and tells some twisted truths to them in order to lure them to the castle. It mostly doesn't work since, well, he's a Skeksis, the very race that had most of the Gelflings slaughtered, and he isn't very convincing either, making him Obviously Evil from the get-go.
- Telling Jen and Kira that the Skeksis want "peace" with them and won't harm them is a bit too obvious of a lie to swallow.
- Breaking Speech: He gives one to Rian about how hes done nothing but run away since learning the truth about the Skeksis, and continuing to rebel will only lead to the Gelflings extinction. It actually seems like it would have worked if Rian wasnt rescued.
- Break Them by Talking: skekSil proves to be a master of this in the series. He almost manages to end the Gelfling Rebellion or at least Rian's involvement simply by talking to him, and is even able to make the genocide of the entire Gelfling race seem reasonable!
- Breakout Villain: The Chamberlain, while well beloved by fans and acts as the face of the Skeksis, was not the main villain in the original film, and acted mostly as a supporting character. In Age of Resistance, the Chamberlain is unambiguously a main character, he is the focus character among the Skeksis as a whole, and much of the plot is moved by his hand.
- Catchphrase Insult: "Spithead".
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Chamberlain betrays pretty much everyone he allies himself with in order to strengthen his own position.
- Didn't Think This Through: Probably wasn't his finest moment to challenge skekUng to Trial by Stone, given the Garthim-Master is bigger and stronger than him... to make it worse, skekUng got the first hit! Though to be fair, it's the Garthim-Master who actually issues the challenge. The novelization of the movie further explains that the Chamberlain really had no choice but to go through with the Trial by Stone, as declining to do so would forfeit his claim to the throne. The novelization also implies that Trial by Stone is the only type of challenge available. That all being said, it still wasn't a great idea for him to grab the scepter before making sure the majority of the other Skeksis were either on his side or out of his way.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He is disgusted by the other Skeksis descending into further depravity when he returns. Furthermore, he's genuinely disturbed when the Emperor begins ranting about how great it is that the Skeksis no longer have to pretend to be benevolent rulers. See Only Sane Man below.
Chamberlain: Skeksis squabble, yes. But are not enemy.
- He also doesn't believe in Skeksis killing each other. Later revealed to be a lie when he murders skekVar.
- Evil Chancellor: Technically, the Chamberlain, but has the same attitude. In Age of Resistance we see him in his prime, whispering evil ideas into the ear of the already evil Emperor whom he wishes to supplant.
- Evil Counterpart: To urSol the Mystic Chanter.
- Evil Genius: He's the one who comes up with the plan of extracting life essence from the Gelflings.
- Evil Is Petty: Orchestrates the downfall of the General, which involves letting him get harmed after swapping his essence with a placebo, "saving" him and giving him real essence at the last second and earning his trust, making him believe that they were friends, then suggesting he duel Rian, and after he loses that duel, while he's alone, disgraced, and tending to his mortal wound, the Chamberlain ruthlessly stabs and kills him. This long con took the entire season to come to conclusion. Why go through all this effort to utterly ruin the General? Because he was the one the Emperor replaced him with as his chief advisor all the way back in the fourth episode. Never take the Chamberlain's seat.
- Eviler Than Thou: He proves to skekVar just which one of them is worse when he murders him while the latter is alone and wounded. While the other Skeksis delight in seeing their comrades humiliated or abused, they draw the line at actually killing each other. The Chamberlain has no such reservations.
- The Exile: For a majority of the film, he is exiled by the Skeksis after being defeated by skekUng during the Trial by Stone. At least until he regains his position by bringing Kira to the castle.
- Faux Affably Evil:
General: I misjudged you, Chamberlain.Chamberlain: Am used to it.
- Tries to act as a peacemaker with Jen and Kira, but once Jen stabs him, he caves him in a fit of rage.
- In Age of Resistance the Chamberlain is a flatterer who calls many people friend. However, in large part due to his simpering tone and the fact that he uses politeness while dealing with people he wishes ill on, its clearly a transparent affect he uses to manipulate people. Thats not to say he cant be successful, he almost manages to sway Rian with a Breaking Speech and, more impressively, wins the friendship of skekVar after saving his life from Princess Tavra, and healing him with Gelfling essence. However, it's all a deliberate ploy to regain his influence and get the General to lower his guard. The moment he's achieved his goal and skekVar is vulnerable, skekSil turns on him again.
- The Heavy:
- In the 1982 film. While skekUng leads the Skeksis as the new Emperor, skekSil's actions towards Jen and Kira make him more of a personal and proactive antagonist since he's not confined in the castle.
- He also serves this role in Age of Resistance where his scheming drives a lot of the plot. He's also revealed to be the one who first gave the Scientist the idea to use the Crystal of Truth to drain Gelflings of their essence and use it to give the Skeksis immortality, and is shown to be the one who came up with the idea for the creation of the Garthim, making him retroactively responsible for the Gelflings' near extinction.
- I Want Them Alive:
- In the series, he practically begs the Hunter to leave Rian alive so the Chamberlain can deliver him back to the Emperor in the hopes of using Rian's execution to quell the Gelfling rebellion before it can even start.
- In the movie, he prevents Garthim soldiers from capturing Jen and Kira, because he wants to deliver the last two living Gelfling to his fellows in court so he might be reinstated into his old position and his exile ended. When Jen wounds him with the Shard of the Crystal, the Chamberlain tries to murder him and settles on just delivering Kira instead.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: In the movie, for a given value of sympathetic, before he manages to capture Kira. The series has him much less sympathetic and much more effectual.
- Karma Houdini: In Age of Resistance, he's able to slip out of his failures by putting the blame on someone else. He does this to the Scientist after Rian escapes and skekTek gets punished instead.
- Likewise, in the film, despite being the individual most directly responsible for the desolate state of Thra and its inhabitants, he ultimately faces no real comeuppance, and rejoins with his Mystic half and returns to being an immortal urSkek; whilst he may not be himself anymore, his Laughing Mad moment as the reunion begins suggests he views it as a victory.
- Kick the Dog: Drinks the last drops of Mira's essence in front of the captive Rian.
- The Man in Front of the Man: To the Emperor in Age of Resistance. Little happens in the Skeksis court without his direction, subtly or unsubtly.
- Manipulative Bastard:
- Not really a successful manipulator in the movie since he can't convince Jen and Kira to his side, but his actions arguably get him what he wants. Still, he seemingly couldn't play skekUng the Garthim-Master like a fiddle unlike what happened with skekVar the General.
- Played straight in Age of Resistance. He plays the other Skeksis for fools, initially turns all the other Gelflings against Rian, and even manages to run a gambit where he purposefully weakens skekVar by replacing his essence with a placebo, feigns friendship by saving his life and giving him real essence, uses him to get back in the Emperor's good graces, then personally murders him mid-battle when the time is right. But his greatest example is his one on one with Rian, where, using a mixture of truth, lies, half-truths, and ruthless exploitation of Rian's Survivor Guilt, he weaves a manipulation so powerful he actually completely shuts down the normally hopeful and determined Rian's Shut Up, Hannibal! Moment, and convinces him that surrendering to the Skeksis and publicly confessing he made up seeing them drain Mira is the best possible option, and just to drive it on home, gives Rian the opportunity to escape but he's so broken by the speech he doesn't take it and resigns to his fate. It's heavily implied this would've stuck had Rian not been saved and had his hope revitalized.
- Not So Different: Actually manages to pull this with the Hunter to form an alliance. After the Hunter successfully captures Rian, whom the Chamberlain hired him to find, he manages to gain custody with nothing more than a promise that he will return the Gelfling so the Hunter can have his trophy. His argument? That he and the Hunter are both hunters, with power as his prey. And the Hunter completely buys it. Granted, the movie shows this not to be complete bunk as he spends the entirety of it personally hunting the last two Gelflings to restore his position at court following his banishment.
Chamberlain: Skeksis conquered death. And you, Gelfling, would do same in Skeksis' place!Rian: We are nothing alike!Rian: There was nothing I could do!Chamberlain: You run. Yes, and when Drenchen friend is caught, what did Gelfling do?Rian: But Gurjin told me to-Chamberlain: Run, yes? Save self. And father, too! Gobbled up by gobbles so son could run. Save. Self.Rian: I tried! I just couldn't save them...Chamberlain: Mmmm. Now Gelfling tells truth. You couldn't save any of them. But what if Rian could save all the rest...? Mmmmhhhmmmmm.
- He accuses Rian of being this during the ride taking Rian back to the castle, after Rian declares the Skeksis are evil for their actions to save themselves. To compound with and make his manipulation of Rian stronger.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain:
- He starts out as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain in the movie but does eventually capture Kira and brings her to the castle.
- In Age of Resistance he turns out to be responsible for harvesting the Gelflings to begin with, making him the architect of their near extinction. He also personally kills Tavra and later the General.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretends to be a lot dumber than he is, at one point telling skekTek "Small words. Please. Chamberlain is not smart like Scientist." In reality, he is very intelligent, and allows others to think he's stupid so he can take advantage of them; in the YA novels, even his simpering, whining way of speaking is revealed to be an affectation to make him seem harmless with his real voice being much deeper, though this has yet to carry over to the main canon.
- Only Sane Man: As treacherous and greedy as he is, he's the only one who doesn't become completely drunk on Gelfling essence, and the only one who thinks a war is a stupid idea that will deplete the Gelfling stock and cause unnecessary chaos.Chamberlain: Is difficult being voice of reason in such crazed world.
- When he finally does start advocating for the genocide of the Gelflings, it's not for essence, but because he believes (and rightfully so) that the Gelflings have become an existential threat that needs to be eliminated if the Skeksis are to survive.
- Note that, however much he abuses the Scientist, he carefully stops short of killing or crippling this most useful of tools beyond recovery. Occasionally even acting to distract, say, the Emperor, from going too far. This is quite definitely not friendship and not out of any respect, but at least one Skeksis is aware how much they all need the guy alive and functional enough to do his job. All while making very sure none of the rest will respect his intelligence enough for the Scientist to become a threat to himself, of course.
- Pragmatic Villainy: In Age of Resistance, when the other Skeksis suggest harvesting the entire Gelfling race for their essence, the Chamberlain counters that they should just take the minimal number of Gelflings needed to survive. He makes this point not out of any sympathy for the Gelflings, but rather because he realizes that culling every Gelfling on Thra at once would mean no more essence.
- His pragmatic approach to problems is also evident in how he handles Gurjin's interrogation. Unlike General skekVar, skekSil knows that Torture Is Ineffective. Instead, he banks on the idea that the threat of it will work, using a peeper beetle as an example and making sure to leave the jar containing the creature beside Gurjin when he leaves as an unspoken threat. However, Defiant Captive Gurjin still refuses to spill the beans.
- Premortem One Liner: To skekVar the General.Chamberlain: You. Took. My. Seat.
- Refuge in Audacity: The Hunter balks at the Chamberlain's Not So Different speech until skekSil likens his pursuit of power to a hunter tracking their prey. skekMal completely buys it.
- Riches to Rags: Gets stripped to rags after losing the Trial by Stone. And back to riches once he brings Kira to the castle.
- The Right of a Superior Species: When Rian calls the Skeksis "evil" for draining and consuming the essence of Gelflings to prolong their own lives, the Chamberlain shoots back that all animals survive by killing weaker animals, and that the Skeksis are to Gelflings what Gelflings are to crawlies. And skekSil almost manages to convince him.
- The Rival:
- He is skekUng's rival for the throne after the death of the Emperor.
- It turns out he used to be this to skekVar at the time of Age of Resistance, with the two vying for the Emperor's favor and facing each other aggressively.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: He tends to let out quite the feminine sounding shriek when scared, like when skekTek pulls a knife on him.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: He delivers a brutally effective one to Rian to break his Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, while never raising his voice above a pleasant and conversational tone. He very nearly ended the Gelfling resistance before it started with nothing more than words, and may have succeeded had Gurjin and the others not rescued Rian.
- Sissy Villain: Not as effeminate as skekEkt, but his constant whimpers and smarmy voice surely don't help.
- Smug Snake:
- He used to be smarter and more cunning, but by the time of the film, as he's the closest he ever got to becoming Emperor, he overestimates himself and gives in to precipitation by rushing to grab the scepter any chance he gets after skekSo's death, and underestimates skekUng badly. It bites him in the ass and gets him banished from the castle.
- Averted in the series, however, where his cunning is on full display and goes virtually unopposed in Season 1.
- The Social Darwinist: Tells Rian in Age Of Resistance that their essence draining is natural, as all living things consume others to survive. Though it fits with his sociopathic disregard for other lives, but, as with all things the Chamberlain "believes" in, whether he truly believes this, or it's just another piece of his current scheme of manipulation is debatable. Rian certainly doesn't buy it.Chamberlain: And what are Skeksis? Hmmmmm?
Chamberlain: (Laughs) Delightful! And how are Skeksis evil? Please! You tell.
Rian: You killed Mira!
Chamberlain: Hmmmmm...all things kill! Is Z'nid Bird evil because it eats crawling Nurloc?
Rian: Birds eat to live!
Chamberlain: So do Skeksis! All living things consume other things to survive! Not evil! Natural!
Rian: There was nothing natural about what you did to Mira!!
Chamberlain: Death is unnatural! Death is cruel joke! Death mocks life! Mocks Skeksis! But no more! Skeksis conquer death!
- Slimeball: He's extremely slippery and only seeks to improve his position whatever the cost.
- The Sociopath: Is a manipulator who craves power, and does not care what he has to do to obtain it. This is most apparent when he kills skekVar after feigning being his friend, and telling the other Skeksis that his death was "so sad".
- The Starscream: Best shown when he tries to get his hands on the scepter while the Emperor is not even dead yet. Needless to say, the Emperor didn't like that. After the death of the Emperor, his open greed for power leads to a challenge by the Garthim Master.
- Surrounded by Idiots: His opinion of the other Skeksis is low, especially when he's trying to explain to them the value of moderation and how dumb a war would be, only to be repeatedly ignored and belittled.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: He used to be very cunning and smart when the Skeksis started turning against the Gelflings, and he masterfully played many of his fellow Skeksis like fiddles. By the time of the film, he's so eager to become emperor that he tries to grab the Scepter of Office any chance he gets, not even trying to figure out ways to get rid of the two major hindrances left on his way to the throne, the Ritual-Master and especially the Garthim-Master. Then (probably out of having no other option, but still) he chooses a Trial by Stone to decide who will be the next Emperor and loses it due to the Garthim-Master's formidable strength. Finally, his Blatant Lies don't convince Jen and Kira to follow him one bit and they run away.
- Justified since he's been out of practice ever since the Skeksis went from being Villains With Good Publicity to being Obviously Evil, and by the time of the film the Gelflings were all wiped out save for Jen and Kira, and since this effectively means they had ended the last sentient society on Thra, eliminating the need to practice his true cunning potential; also, Jen and Kira aren't going to trust a member of the group that genocided their entire race. His folly in grabbing the Scepter is also Justified in that his ravenous ambition for more and more power was always around, and now that ultimate power was finally within his metaphorical and literal reach after thousands of trine, his insatiable hunger for power caused him to become impatient and attempt to just take the Scepter without ceremony, leading to his downfall.
- That being said, when he's presenting Kira to skekUng, he does a pretty good job of making it sound like he selflessly risked his own life to capture the Gelfling and that he suffered a grievous injury in the process (in reality, he just got a cut to his hand).
- Troll: In The Age of Resistance, he makes a lot of eye related puns to skekTek after the Scientist had his eye eaten out by a peeper beetle thanks to him.
- Underestimating Badassery: He must have thought skekUng the Garthim-Master was made of the same wood as skekVar the first General, if not weaker, and that he would be no hindrance on his way to the throne. Turns out skekUng never trusts him, gets annoyed at him for constantly trying to grab the Emperor's scepter and ends up beating him at the Trial by Stone.
- The Unfettered: The Skeksis generally maintain a few standards that hold them back. For all their abuse and backstabbing, actually killing one another is largely taboo. SkekSil has nothing holding him back and adheres to no code. He will happily kill his own if it brings him one step closer to the power he craves.
- Verbal Tic: He's known for his trademark noise, which the Garthim-Master refers to as a whimper, but it's really more of an intrigued hum, or what a smirk would be if a smirk was a sound.
- He tends to talk this way, yes?
- 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.
- Villainous Rescue: He stops the Garthim from capturing Jen and Kira during the attack on the Podling village, allowing the two Gelflings to escape. However, he does so purely because he wants to gain their trust so he can personally bring them to the castle and be reinstated. Likewise, in Age of Resistance, he shows up just in time to talk the Hunter down from killing Rian, since he needs to bring Rian back to the castle alive in order to regain the Emperor's favor.
- The Watson: He asks the Scientist to explain the Crystal's properties to him in layman terms. In-universe it's just skekSil playing dumb, but it's a great excuse to explain to the audience what it does without sounding forced.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Not at first, as he thrives when the Skeksis are posing as Thras benevolent protectors, but hes caught quite off-guard when they decide to drop all pretense and openly conquer the Gelflings, making his primary skill set of subtle behind the scenes manipulations suddenly useless.
- You Leave Him Alone!: Surprisingly, when appearing in the nick of time to save skekVar from Tavra...but only so he can kill him later on.Chamberlain: Leave... friend... alone!
- You Have Failed Me: Averted. Although it's his fault that Rian got away, he manages to successfully shift the blame onto skeTek instead.
- 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. In Age of Resistance he talks like this at all times, even among his fellow Skeksis.
skekZok the Ritual-Master / the High Priest
Performed by: Jim Henson (1982), Victor Yerrid (2019)
Voiced by: Jerry Nelson (1982), Keegan-Michael Key (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths | The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The court 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. He also tries to control the other Skeksis with false prophecies and divinations, but they soon learn better.
- Ax-Crazy: Not so much in Age of Resistance, but after many trine of consuming Gelfling essence, he becomes much more inclined toward violence. He kills Kira in a fit of anger due to his overzealous obsession to kill the Gelflings.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has a fairly sharp wit, particularly when dealing with the General.General: - The Emperor is forgiving.Ritual Master: Of course. If there's one quality our Emperor is known for, it's mercy.[moments later]General: We must escape without delay!Ritual Master: At long last, you've had a good idea.
- Dirty Coward: When Lore approaches the carriage, he starts freaking out, his voice becoming high-pitched with absolute fear. He is also the first to suggest retreat, and the first to start fleeing after skekLach's messy death.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: He gets uncomfortably intense when looking over a group of Gelfling volunteers with General skekVar, and discussing their suitability for draining. He tells a doubtful skekVar that "It's not about size, it's about vigor," all while eying up the Gelfling and licking his beak lasciviously.
- The Dragon: He is skekUng's second-in-command, although it's not by choice.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Both Jerry Nelson and Keegan-Michael Key give the Ritual Master a commanding baritone that fits his role as an authoritative Sinister Minister.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As someone who's obsessed with law and structure, he sometimes disagrees with his more hedonistic cohorts.
- He tries to stop skekSil the Chamberlain from grabbing the Emperor's Scepter of Office right after the latter's death before any successor is officially designated.
- Played for Laughs, but like skekEkt the Ornamentalist, he finds profanity to be bad taste.
- He seems to find the General's eating of the unimoth chrysalis to be distasteful.
- He's initially furious with the General for murdering the All-Maudra in cold blood.
- When the Emperor demands that all the available essence be given to the Hunter to revive him, the Gourmand weakly suggests that maybe they don't give all of it...and the Ritual Master gives him a Death Glare that makes his disgust clear.
- Evil Counterpart: To urZah the Mystic Ritual-Guardian.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Arguably the deepest voiced Skeksis, because he doesn't growl, unlike skekUng.
- Faux Affably Evil: He isn't as inclined toward petty squabbling as much as his fellow Skeksis, but sadist that he is, none of his genial mannerisms are really genuine. He reassures skekTek that his torture will be over soon, but is very clearly enjoying the situation. When it comes to dealing with the Gelflings, skekZok might be the most skilled at feigning politesse. This can perhaps be best seen in the visit to Ha'rar, alongside the General. While skekVar is demanding, disrespectful and flies off the handle at the slightest hint that someone might be talking back to him, skekZok is polite and accomodating. He also gently comforts Seladon after her mother's death, but later turns on her along with the rest of the Skeksis after they drop all pretence of caring. Of course, by the time of the film, he's lost all traits of this and has become utterly brutal.
- High Priest: He is responsible for leading the Skeksis in rituals and practices.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His actions causes the downfall of the empire, through killing Kira, giving Jen the resolve to heal the Crystal.
- Icy Blue Eyes: He has very pale blue eyes. While he carries himself with a formal and polite air, underneath that there's a malice behind his cold stares.
- Knife Nut: He is sometimes seen with his unsheathed dagger, and seemingly has a collection of knives for various purposes."I have just the knife for such an occasion."
- Knight Templar: SkekZok views that the Gelflings should die when he finally does kill one, it ends up being the thing to undo their entire existence.
- Lawful Stupid: He's obsessed in following the Skeksis' rules (many of which he invents himself) to the letter. For example, he is disappointed when skekUng decides to drain Kira of her essence before executing her, instead of killing her there and then.
- Light Is Not Good: Is a lawful priest who wears golden clothes and leads his brethren in sun-based rituals, but is plenty evil.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Takes the Skeksis' Toothy Bird tendencies even further, with his lower jaw containing several rows of overlapping teeth.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If he hadn't decided to kill Kira at that moment, Jen probably wouldn't have have had the necessary anger to inject the shard back into the Crystal.
- The Resenter: He deeply resents skekUng once the latter becomes The Emperor.
- Sadist: Possibly moreso than any other Skeksis - with the exception of the Emperor, the Ritual Master takes pleasure in the suffering of others. In Lisa Henson's words, his character was conceived as a "stately sadomasochist" and therefore many of his 'rituals' seem to be purely torture. In Age of Resistence, when skekVar the General talks about how the Emperor will "skin the Scientist alive" if his current experiment fails, skekZok is quick to cheerily proclaim how he has "just the knife for such an occassion", and he is utterly gleeful at The Scientist being sentenced to the Peeper Beetle.Chamberlain: Perhaps Scientist would most benefit seeing...peeper beetle.Emperor: What an excellent suggestion.Ritual Master: [breathily] My most adored of the Five Ocular Castigation.
- Sinister Minister: He may be a priest but he's not holy at all.
- The Starscream: SkekZok conspires with skekShod to overthrow skekUng, but it doesn't work out.
skekTek the Scientist
Performed by: Steve Whitmire (1982), Olly Taylor (2019)
Voiced by: Steve Whitmire (1982), Mark Hamill (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The Skeksis whose task if to find solutions to extend the lifespan of his species. One day, he discovered that the Crystal can drain the life essence of Thra's creatures.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He begs endlessly for mercy when the Emperor and Chamberlain choose to have him punished via peeper beetle.
- An Arm and a Leg: It is mentioned in tie-in material for the 1982 film that he amputated his own arm and leg in order to replace them with mechanical constructs. Not just that, but he also performed all kinds of experiments on himself, like replacing one of his jugular veins with a transparent tube in order to study his own blood circulation (which somewhat makes sense since the Skeksis are immortality seekers).
- Ax-Crazy: Zig-zagged with Mad Scientist trope. A self-mutilating freak who relishes in experimenting on and torturing other lifeforms and brutally snaps when his Gruenak slaves rebel.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: A depraved scientist who tortures animals during the course of his experiments. That said, he does (or did) have one bird-like animal he seems to genuinely care about.Scientist: Lackadaisical Skeksis! They feast while we toil. But do not worry! SkekTek never forgets a true friend!
- Berserk Button: Being called weak or a coward, and not being respected in general.The Hunter: Useless coward!The Scientist: The Emperor commanded me to stay behind. I wanted to fight! I am not a coward!
- Classy Cane: Though not often seen, the Scientist leans on a cane in some scenes of the movie.
- Disney Villain Death: Pushed down into the fiery chamber, leading to his urRu counterpart's death.
- The Dog Bites Back:
- The Gruenak slaves he abused briefly rebel in his lab and use one of his electrodes on him. It only manages to infuriate him even more and he ends up killing them both.
- His downfall comes at the paws, claws, and teeth of his much abused lab animals, which Kira turns against him. Their Zerg Rush causes him to fall down into the fiery bowels of the Crystal's shaft.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: He has a reason to be annoyed with how the other Skeksis treat him so bad, given he's literally the only one with the knowledge and expertise to keep their race alive. Played for Drama, his constant abuse and disrespect at the hands of his fellow Skeksis, and his steadily increasing pain and anger at his mistreatment boils over at the end of Season 1 of Age of Resistance, and ultimately drives him to violently lash out and murder his Gruenak slaves, indirectly leading to the creation of the Garthim Prototype by recycling one of their corpses.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He has a pet in a cage he keeps near by and considers it his one friend. When the Emperor comes in demanding to know how many Gelflings were needed for the essence and starts strangling the creature, the Scientist hurriedly throws out a number.Emperor: [squeezing the bird] Give me a number.Scientist: A great many.Emperor: A number. [squeezes harder]Scientist: [whimpering] Fifty! Fifty Gelfling! Every trine!Emperor: Fifty it is then. [lets go]Scientist: [after skekSo departs, he gently closes the cage door] Hush, now, Hush, now. All is well.
Aughra: It did not have to end this way between us. We were friends once.Scientist: [grumbles and looks briefly to the Emperor]Scientist: [subdued] Another world. Another time.
- He is also shamed when Aughra reminds him of their past friendship.
- Evil Counterpart: To urTih the Mystic Alchemist.
- Evil Genius: The brain of the Skeksis, and the creator of many of their devices.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: He has a hoarse, raspy voice and has a tendency to snarl and snort a lot.
- Evil Virtues: Diligence. As evil and selfish as any of the other Skeksis, but he's much more hard working.
- Eye Scream: Age of Resistance reveals losing his eye wasn't part of his own experiments, but punishment for letting Rian escape, eaten by a peeper beetle kept specifically for this purpose as the greatest shame a Skeksis can face.
- Glass Eye: He has a mechanical (and part-glass) eye to replace the one he lost.
- Ignored Expert: He expresses concerns when telling the Emperor that exploiting the Crystal to get essence weakens it and spreads the Darkening. The Emperor doesn't care.
- The Igor: Despite being the Mad Scientist and having Igors of his own, his stooped over stature and slightly hobbling gait make him resemble a stereotypical hunchbacked Igor-like character at times.
- It's All About Me: Considers himself to be "incontrovertibly the most abused creature in all of Thra". Stated without a shred of irony in front of his own assistants who have their mouths stitched shut by the Chamberlain.
- Karmic Death: Pushed into the Crystal's pit, just like the Gruenak slave he murdered, by the animals he imprisoned and experimented on.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: His near-constant complaint. And, it's justified: the rest of the Skeksis basically treat him as being only one step removed from an exiled outcast. Yet, without him and his gadgets and theories, their collective capacity for active evil would be greatly diminished. Not to mention the tiny fact that both Mystics and Skeksis alike would have been dead long before the Great Conjunction without his very questionable methods of life extraction-extension.
- Mad Scientist: Performs experiments on himself and tortured/took the life essence of numerous creatures and Gelflings. It mostly paid off, but only for the Skeksis' benefits.
- Meaningful Name: It is probably not a coincidence that the Gadgeteer Genius of the Skeksis is called Skektek ("tech").
- The Medic: Due to his scientific background, skekTek is often the one called in for medical work. Even the essence he harvests is used to heal the Skeksis wounds and grant them vitality. When the Hunter returns gravely injured, the Skeksis freak out while skekTek checks for vital signs and later removes the arrows from him. skekTek is, of course, the one tasked with bringing him back from the brink.
- No Respect Guy: skekUng's Villainous Breakdown and insults against him when it appears that the effects of Podling essence vanish almost immediately is actually the least of all the abuse he got. In Age of Resistance, despite his work being vital to the Skeksis obtaining immortality, every one of them takes the time to insult, humiliate and abuse him in some fashion. He got some respect and a seat at the table once his machine was finished, but only for a short while.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Age of Resistance has him be abused and maimed by the other Skeksis, and when he's alone in the castle he rather comically pretends to be the Emperor. Then when his Gruenak slaves attempt to revolt, he throws one down the Crystal's shaft and savagely beats the other to death before using his organs in the creation of the first Garthim.
Scientist: What if I slice off that forked tongue?!
- A smaller moment occurs when he catches the Chamberlain in the act of stealing the last of Mira's essence from his lab. The previously put-upon, self-pitying Scientist furiously pulls out a knife and slashes the Chamberlain's hand to make him drop the essence.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Throughout Age of Resistance the Scientist's many talents are shown. He studies the crystal and by extension how the life essence works. He's a mechanical engineer who's built many of the machines to tap into the crystal. He knows metalwork and forges the Skeksis armor and he knows enough biology to cobble together the Garthim. He also has a lot of medical knowledge as he's seen treating the Hunter and he's performed a number of self-surgeries.
- Only Sane Man: Much like the Chamberlain, he tries to take a more logical and pragmatic approach to handling their situation compared to the others. When skekSo wants him to start mass producing essence, he warns that moderation would be key due to the corruption of the Darkening on the Crystal. The Emperor proceeds to scream at him that there is no Darkening and strangle his pet bird to make him do it.
- Professor Guinea Pig: As mentioned above, he becomes this after the loss of his eye, first fashioning a replacement before moving on to removing body parts of his own accord.
- Red Right Hand: Has a mechanical eye, and replaced an arm and leg with prosthetics. And he removed a part of his jugular vein and replaced it with a transparent tube.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Definitely enjoys his long words.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Wears some animal's rib cage as a carapace.
- Techno Babble: Lapses into this when talking about his work.Scientist: It's too much to bear. My every experiment ends in disaster. And now, I've accidentally reversed the Crystal's magnetostatic field!Chamberlain: Please, small words. Chamberlain is not smart like Scientist.
- Trauma Button: Implied. When his Gruenak slaves revolt they're able to overpower him at first but when one of them shoves a cage over his head (much like the bone cage put on him when his eye was eaten out) he immediately starts to panic and once he gets it off he flies into a rage and mercilessly kills them.
- Troubled Abuser: The worse he's treated by the other Skeksis, the worse he treats his underlings. This is seen when he parrots the same words directed at him before his eye was taken, "When we fail our Emperor, we must be punished!", while stepping on a Podling's hand. Later, he finally snaps after the perceived injustices against him become too much to bear, and violently murders his poor Gruenak slaves when they try to escape.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has an epic one near the end of Age of Resistance, Episode 10: "A Single Piece Was Lost" when the two Gruenak slaves rebel. After an entire season's worth of a Trauma Conga Line of disrespect and abuse from his fellows despite discovering the means of extending their life, the problem the rest had no answer to, the Gruenaks' rebellion causes him to just utterly snap, his bottled up anger and pain boiling over as he practically screams his accomplishments, his emotions overwhelming him to the point where he sounds like he's close to tears right before he pounces on them.
- You Have Failed Me: He's on the receiving end of this after the Chamberlain frames him for letting Rian get away with the vial of Mira's essence. As punishment, skekSo has his eye eaten out by a "peeper beetle".
skekAyuk the Gourmand
Performed by: Louise Gold (1982 and 2019)
Voiced by: Thick Wilson (1982), Harvey Fierstein (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The Skeksis court's food specialist. 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's kitchens and feasts.
- Big Eater: He is a voracious glutton who loves to eat, including small creatures that aren't dead yet. He even contemplates eating lab animals the Scientist experiments on in Age of Resistance. And he loves stuffing his mouth with food so much to the point of almost choking.
- Even Evil Has Standards
- He averts his eyes in horror when the Scientist drains Mira's essence, and is seen covering his mouth, and heard crying out "No, no! What have you-...?!".
- He finds the Hunter's trophies to be repulsive.
- Evil Counterpart: To urAmaj the Mystic Cook. Where the Cook prepares meals for his friends as well as himself, the Gourmand prepares meals so he can stuff his mouth with them, or even shove his face in them.
- Fat and Skinny: Frequently seen with the skinny Ornamentalist.
- Fat Bastard: The fattest of the Big-Bad Ensemble.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his somewhat simple personality, he's able to tell that they've taken too much from the Crystal and that's why they can't get anymore energy from it.
- Irony: As noted in Hidden Depths, he can tell that they've taken too much from the Crystal and that's why they can't get anymore energy from it, and as he can be associated with gluttony, and that can come off as rather ironic.
- Jabba Table Manners: The Skeksis (minus the Ornamentalist) are pretty disgusting when feasting, and the Gourmand beats them all at that in the film, with audible belches to boot. And he almost chokes because of his horrible manners. The only reason he doesn't win the prize for most repellent in Age of Resistance is skekLach's habit of eating food his pustules have leaked into.
- Nature Tinkling: After quashing the Castle Guard's rebellion, the Gourmand relieves himself on a wall. At one point three separate streams can be seen at once. He's not even embarrassed when the Chamberlain finds him and chastises him for "public micturition". The Chamberlain even averts his eyes and covers his face when the Gourmand forgets to adjust his robes after he's finished.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He might seem the least sinister of all the Skeksis due to the gross-out jokes associated with him and amusingly grotesque design, but he finds it as easy as the rest of the Skeksis to perform a Curb-Stomp Battle on the castle guard, and indeed tells the Chamberlain he found the experience of combat to be a real rush.
- Post-Stress Overeating: Claims this as an excuse for why he eats so much, Subverted in that he immediately uses that statement as a punchline, and it's likely that he's just a glutton in general.Gourmand: Will snacks be served?
General: Don't you ever think of anything but your next meal?!
Gourmand: I eat when I'm stressed!
Chamberlain: Hhhmmm! Must be stressed often, yes?!
Gourmand: All the time! (Laughs)
- Ungrateful Bastard: A Podling servant saves the Gourmand's life when his Jabba Table Manners cause him to choke on his food. The Gourmand repays him by calling him an idiot and smacking him.
- Villainous Glutton: He can't stop thinking about food and eats the most out of the Skeksis cast. It's so bad that he almost chokes on his own food.
skekEkt the Ornamentalist
Performed by: Brian Muehl (1982), Alice Dinnean (2019)
Voiced by: Brian Muehl (1982), Alice Dinnean (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The most effeminate of the Skeksis by far, he is frequently seen to be screaming dramatically and being very flamboyant. He is in charge of the castle's decorations.
- Ambiguous Gender: Voiced by a man in the 1982 film and a woman in Age of Resistance.
- Cruella to Animals: As described in Dark Crystal Supplementary Materials, he seems to take near sadistic delight in fashioning clothes and materials from animals. In one particular case, having killed almost 100 birds at once to fashion a single cloak, and used their clotted blood to make a "youth-restoring powder".
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He takes skekLach's death the hardest, sobbing into skekOk's arms. Though considering he's by far the most dramatic Skeksis, it's ambiguous how genuine this is.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Played for Laughs, but he's appalled when Aughra yells profanity at them.
- Evil Counterpart: To urUtt the Mystic Weaver.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: During the Skeksis' humiliation of Seladon, skekEkt snatches up the Gelfling's crown and preens around with it while mockingly imitating Seladon, much to the other Skeksis' amusement.skekEkt: Ohhhhh, look at me! I'm the All-Maudra! I'm the leader of the Gelfling! The ruler of the DEAD!!
- Evil Is Hammy: It's easier to count the scenes in the film where he isn't screaming dramatically or reacting near-exaggeratingly. But is particularly hammy in Age of Resistance, where he chows down on the scenery for all it's worth and his favorite method of communication seems to be yelling. That's to say nothing of his hand gestures.
- Fat and Skinny: Frequently seen with the fat Gourmand, with whom he seems to share a love of food.Ornamentalist: I like those grey ones that go mushy when you put them on your fork.
- It's All About Me: Is described as being "starved for attention" when not focusing on his looks. In Age of Resistance, during his welcome back party he gets huffy when the others start talking about how much better essence would taste than the welcoming feast he was having.Ornamentalist: Essence, essence, essence! That's all any of you talk about since I've returned! It's my party, talk about me!
- No Indoor Voice: His main form of communication is always screeching loudly.
- Pass the Popcorn: All the Skeksis seem to take great pleasure in seeing feuds among the other Skeksis degenerate into fights, but he's particularly giddy and unabashed about it.Ornamentalist: There's going to be a FIGHT!
- Sissy Villain: He is the most effeminate and flamboyant in the Big-Bad Ensemble.
- Wicked Cultured: At the very least he has good/polite table manners when feasting, unlike the other Skeksis who pretty much all display Jabba Table Manners.
skekNa the Slave-Master
Performed by: Mike Quinn (1982)
Voiced by: David Buck (1982)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal
The Skeksis who's in charge of the Castle's Podling slaves, and chooses promising specimens for the slave choir, claiming to have an ear for music.
- Evil Counterpart: To urNol the Mystic Herbalist.
- Eyepatch of Power: He has an eyepatch on his right eye.
- Eye Scream: Sometime before the film began, he lost vision in his right eye and put an eyepatch on.
- Hook Hand: His left hand has been replaced with a hook.
- Put on a Bus: He is absent from the castle during the first season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He gets mentioned in Episode 9, however.
skekOk the Scroll-Keeper
Performed by: Bob Payne (1982), Neil Sterenberg (2019)
Voiced by: John Baddeley (1982), Neil Sterenberg (2019)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
The shortest of all the Skeksis and their historian. He keeps rewriting his accounts in order to please his shifting allies, which often causes the truth to be lost. He always arrives late to the meetings and usually falls asleep during them and he could often at times be found mumbling to himself.
- Ascended Extra: He didn't have much to do in The Dark Crystal bar cheering with the others, freaking out with the others and feasting with the others, and barely said anything. In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, he goes to Ha'rar with skekLach to collect the Gelflings' tithe along with skekLach, has a more defined personality (as the most affable towards the Gelflings initially), "befriends" Brea and is part of the infamous bath scene where Aughra returns to the castle only to see the Skeksis' decadence.
- Bait the Dog: During his initial interactions with Brea it seems like he might be an actually decent Skeksis since he treats the "clever princess" with surprising courtesy, even promising to talk to her mother to get her out of trouble. However, skekOk quickly proves to be just as petty, selfish and sadistic as the rest of the Skeksis, even taking the time to mock Brea after she's imprisoned by the Skeksis who intend to drain her of her essence.Scroll-Keeper: Perhaps you are not so clever after all.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Unlike the Chamberlain, who presents a more philosophical stance on the matter when Rian calls the Skeksis evil for draining Gelflings for their essence, the Scroll-Keeper is just fine with he and his race being called "monsters" by Brea.
- Evil Counterpart: To urAc the Mystic Scribe.
- Evil Is Petty: When two farmers can't pay a satisfying enough tithe due to the blight affecting their crops, the Scroll-Keeper guilt trips one of them into giving up the necklace her deceased mother left her. Then he simply gives it away to the All-Maudra later, showing he never really cared.
- Fan Disservice: The audience is given the horrifying sight of his old, shriveled, flabby half-naked body while he's taking a bath.
- Faux Affably Evil: Initially seems the nicest of the Skeksis through his first interactions with Brea, which occur even before he realizes she's someone of status. He later reveals himself to be just as bad as the rest.Brea: No! You can't do this!Scroll-Keeper: And yet it is already done.Brea: You're all monsters!Scroll-Keeper: Have you only just figured that out? Perhaps you are not so clever after all.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Technically "seven eyes" since he's a self-professed monster who wears two pairs of reading glasses and a monocle.
- Hero Killer: During the battle at Stone-In-The-Wood the Scroll-Keeper manages to mortally wound Maudra Fara by slicing off part of her wings with his razor-blades, causing the first non-Skeksis causality. Though skekOk isn't able to capitalize on it and finish her off himself since Fara's pet Fizzgig attacks him and distracts him long enough for Seladon to carry her to safety, Fara still passes away from the injuries he inflicted shortly after.
- High-Class Glass: He's part of a Decadent Court, and wears reading glasses at all times.
- Innocently Insensitive: Comes across this way after he finds out about Brea's hobbies. While he manages to phrase it in the most condescending way possible, he does seem genuinely thrilled.Scroll-Keeper: [gasping] So you can read! Oh, how wonderful! Did you hear that, skekLach? She can read! And write!
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The only Skeksis to ever to show a moment's kindness to the Gelflings. He's also the only one who initially agrees with the Chamberlain's suggestion that they drain only the minimum number of Gelfling needed to survive (he's seen nodding in the background, seemingly in response to the Chamberlain's proposal).
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: When a poor farming couple can't pay their full tithe, he insists they instead give the wife's precious heirloom necklace. This is what starts Brea's disillusionment with the Skeksis.
- Nice to the Waiter: As part of his Bait the Dog introduction, he treats Brea with politeness even before he finds out she's the daughter of the All-Maudra, and only acts nicer when he learns the truth. Whether it was all an act or a sincere kindness that his later essence consumption corrodes is never really made clear.
- Sissy Villain: Not as much as skekEkt, but he enjoys his perfumed bath water and doesn't do much besides flail in outrage and embarrassment when Aughra dunks her eye in it. Furthermore, when Aughra starts poking him with her staff to indicate his deteriorating physical state, he tries to fend her off by splashing water at her.
- Villainous Friendship: In the first season finale, he seems genuinely upset at the death of skekLach the Collector.
skekShod the Treasurer
Performed by: Tim Rose (1982)
Voiced by: Charles Collingwood (1982)
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths | The Dark Crystal
The Skeksis Treasurer. He counts gifts, and because his greed is so great and his speech so limited, the only way he got his ways was extravagant bribery.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He is the only absent Skeksis who originated in the 1982 film to not get mentioned whatsoever in the first season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. skekUng the Garthim-Master and skekNa the Slave-Master don't appear in the first season, but they do get mentioned, hinting at their arrival in the future. Due to Foregone Conclusion, skekShod will be introduced later just like them.
- Contrasting Replacement Character: It turns out he replaced the deceased skekLach the Collector as the Skeksis' financial manager. Unlike the latter, he isn't disease-ridden and clearly has a male voice.
- Evil Counterpart: To urYod the Mystic Numerologist.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: His voice is so raspy and croaky that it's barely audible.
- Greed: Nobody dares to approach him without some offering.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, before there was an emperor, he questions the need for a ruler and openly mocks skekSo as the potential candidate. This enrages skekSo, who beats him to a pulp with the scepter then asks if anyone else wants to question his rule. Nobody does, unsurprisingly.
- Put on a Bus: He is absent from the castle during the first season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. And he doesn't even get a mention, unlike skekUng the Garthim-Master and skekNa the Slave-Master.
- The Quiet One: He speaks only once in the film, and it's barely audible.
skekVar The General (formally the Ambassador)
Performed by: Kevin Clash
Voiced by: Benedict Wong
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths | Legends of The Dark Crystal | The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The quick tempered military commander of the Skeksis at the time of Age of Resistance.
- 0% Approval Rating: He's pretty much despised by the other Skeksis, who view him as a useful tool but personally difficult to get along with due to his joyless, hot-blooded demeanor. Only the Emperor seems to like him, since they're birds of a psychotic feather. Ultimately even the Emperor views him as an embarrassment.
- Animal Motif: Pigs. He has a heavyset build, the end of his beak resembles a pig's snout, the large teeth on his lower jaw look like tusks and he has a tendency to snort when he talks. His brutish personality can also be associated with stereotypical portrayals of wild boars.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Scheming is not his strong suit, so he relies on brute strength to get things done. He dismisses less physically imposing Skeksis like the Chamberlain and the Scientist as "weaklings" and flaunts his strength at every opportunity.
- Ax-Crazy: He's bloodthirsty and violent.
- Bald of Evil: When his helmet falls off in the final episode, it's revealed he has male-pattern baldness. The Chamberlain even comments on it ("Bald!") as though he's never even seen skekVar without his helmet before.
- Berserk Button: Don't ever imply he's weak or a coward. For an already quick tempered being who has plenty of buttons that send him flying into violent anger frequently, this is easily his biggest one.Chamberlain: Is good thing we are not all so weak, as to be scared of single Gelfling, yes?
General: (Slams fist on table) YOU QUESTION MY BRAVERY!?!
Chamberlain: KEEP YOUR ROBES ON, SPITHEAD!
- Blood Knight: Fitting of his title of General, he is easily the most eager out of all the Castle Skeksis to engage in combat, and almost always the first to suggest a violent solution to their problems. He immediately suggests a vicious hunt when Rian escapes the castle, he's one of the first to suggest war with the Gelflings when Rian's words begin to spread, and when The Chamberlain suggests he duel Rian at The Battle of Stone-In-The-Wood in the Emperor's place, he accepts it with glee. He's not even above challenging his fellow Skeksis to a fight when he believes his honor is offended. He also believes cloak-and-dagger trickery and diplomacy are pointless when they're strong enough to take and do whatever they want, which is the source of his rivalry with the Chamberlain.Chamberlain: YOU! YOU ARE RECKLESS! LEAD US INTO WAR!
General: I WELCOME WAR!!
Chamberlain: BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO THICK-HEADED TO USE BRAIN!
- The Brute: He was this prior to becoming The Dragon to the Emperor, but even after his ascension he seems to prefer being the Brute. He doesn't care about the internal politics and rivalries of the Skeksis, and favors the most immediate, violent solution that springs to mind.
- Cannot Dream: Though this might be a trait of all Skeksis, as the Emperor could not until the Darkening gave him nightmares.
- The Confidant: To the Emperor. Notably, he's the only person the Emperor is shown confiding in about his existential fears regarding their mortality and their existence prior to splitting from the Mystics. It's perhaps because they're both prideful, impulsive individuals who value brute force.
- Cool Helmet: He's constantly wearing one, which becomes less cool when it's revealed it was hiding his baldness.
- Didn't Think This Through: Much like the Emperor, he takes great risks without any thought as to the consequences of failure. He tries to drain a prisoner as a form of torture, and in doing so risks a valuable source of information.
- Dumb Muscle: The General's sword is sharper than he is. The Chamberlain lampshades this, calling him thick-headed.
- The Dragon: He manages to supplant the Chamberlain as the Emperor's right-hand man partway through the first season of Age of Resistance and acts as his main enforcer. This comes to an end with his death.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He cries out "What have you done?!" when skekTek drains Mira. Although he quickly tosses aside any notions of decency after this as he joins the others in slopping up Mira's essence.
- Evil Counterpart: To urMa the Mystic Peacekeeper.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He has Benedict Wong's deep, threatening baritone to add weight to his constant threats.
- Four-Star Badass: As expected of someone of his title, he's no slouch in combat.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's in a perpetual bad mood and very quick to anger, perhaps just as much as skekUng the Garthim Master.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He believed that the Chamberlain's saving of his life was actually sincere, to the point of calling him 'friend'. One would think that after living with the Chamberlain for nearly a thousand trine, the General would have at least suspected the Chamberlain of having an ulterior motive.
- I Owe You My Life: After the Chamberlain saves his life from Tavra then gives him real essence to heal his wounds, the General is sincerely grateful, regards him as a friend and helps the Chamberlain get back in the Emperor's good graces. Unfortunately for him, the Chamberlain was just using him and put him in mortal danger in the first place. Once he got what he wanted from him and the General is alone and weakened, the Chamberlain seizes the opportunity to murder him.
- Kick the Dog: He callously eats some of the Vapra Gelfling clan's unimoth chrysali.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: When he's confronted by the All-Maudra Maylin, he loses it right away and murders her. The Emperor praises him for supposedly freeing the Skeksis from having to keep up appearances, but this impulsive action results in the Stonewood and Drenchen Maudras refusing to acknowledge Seladon and eventually uniting the other clans against the Skeksis. While nobodies like Rian and Deet could have been taken care of with the right lies, the murder of a beloved leader makes it impossible for common Gelflings to ignore the Skeksis' brutality.
- Predecessor Villain: As the military leader of the Skeksis, he was this to skekUng the Garthim-Master. He fits a similar role as The Rival to skekSil.
- The Rival: To the Chamberlain. They both try to outdo one another to become the Emperor's right-hand but their methods vary, with the General preferring brute force and the Chamberlain preferring subtle scheming. SkekVar manages to supplant the Chamberlain as the Emperor's second until the Season 1 finale when the Chamberlain murders him.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To skekUng the Garthim-Master. Like skekUng, skekVar is a martial minded brute with a rivalry against the more cunning Chamberlain. He is so similar in general appearance that he was assumed to actually be skekUng by the fandom until his name was revealed as skekVar, and skekUng was later revealed to be absent but likely to return along with skekNa the Slave Master and skekShod the treasurer.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Emperor.
- Villains Want Mercy: He begs for his life when wounded and cornered by Tavra.
- You Have Failed Me: Said verbatim by the Emperor after he is mortally wounded by Rian. He sends skekVar away in disgrace, which is what gives the Chamberlain the opportunity to kill him.
skekLach the Collector (formally the Census-Taker)
Performed by: Helena Smee
Voiced by: Awkwafina
Appears in: Legends of the Dark Crystal | The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
A disease-ridden Skeksis who collects tributes from the Gelflings. Loosely adapted from the villain of the Legends of the Dark Crystal manga, where he oversaw the collection of Gelfling prisoners for essence draining.
- Adaptational Ugliness: The Legends of the Dark Crystal manga depicted the Collector as looking not that different from the other Skeksis. The Netflix prequel gave him some nasty looking, seeping boils on his face as well as a stouter head, similar to the Gourmand.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Collector in the manga was explicitly male. The Netflix version's gender is never directly addressed, but is voiced by a woman. This fits the film's novelization by A.C.H. Smith, which describes how the Skeksis lack sexes, but have a form of gender identity.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Unlike skekOk, the Collector doesn't bother saluting the Vapra Gelflings or even being polite to them when visiting them to collect the tithe in Ha'rar.
- Blatant Lies: He warns Brea that knowledge is the reason he's ugly and disease-ridden now. The Scroll-Keeper calls him a liar, saying that he's always been ugly. (Although considering the Scroll-Keeper starts cackling immediately afterwards, this may have simply been a snarky joke.)
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Death by zit popping has got to be an unpleasant way to go.
- The Eeyore: A cynical pessimist that complains whenever the other Skeksis get him involved with anything.
- Facial Horror: His face is covered with oozing pustules that even the Crystal's energy barely keeps under control. He says no matter what he does, they always come back.
- Guttural Growler: Awkwafina makes her distinctive raspy voice a bit deeper than usual, to quite unnerving effect.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Claimed to be beautiful once, but the Scroll-Keeper says he's always been ugly.
- Tempting Fate: After getting hit by the Darkening, what does he say before his head explodes? "That wasn't so bad."
- Too Many Belts: The character's original manga costume was loaded with belts and masks in an almost Final Fantasy boss fashion.
- Verbal Tic: He tends to punctuate his sentences with a harsh "Ahh!" Although, it might be due to nasal problems thanks to the boils on his nose.
- Your Head Asplode: The Emperor attempts to weaponize the Darkening to kill the Gelfling resistance, only for Deet to redirect it back at the Skeksis. SkekLach is the only one hit, and after a brief Hope Spot, his head explodes.
- Villainous Friendship: With the Scroll-Keeper. They may bicker, but the Scroll-Keeper seems genuinely upset at his death.
Constructs of the Skeksis
Artificial creatures who serve the Skeksis residing in the castle of the Crystal.
Appear in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | The Dark Crystal
When it appeared that the Skeksis were doomed due to not having an army of their own when facing both the Gelfling rebellion and their Arathim allies, they turned to skekTek the Scientist to create fearsome, soulless and loyal soldiers who would blindly serve them and fight for them. The Garthim were born, and the Garthim War began. They were used to exterminate the Gelflings, and replaced them as guards of the Crystal's castle.
- Attack Drones: Essentially Magitek versions of this, having no mind of their own and obeying every order the Garthim-Master gives them.
- The Brute: They act as the brute force of the Skeksis.
- Dem Bones: Can be seen as an exoskeletal take on this trope.
- The Dreaded: At the time of the film, Podlings live in constant fear of their raids.
- Empty Shell: At the end of the film, they stop being animated and fall apart into hollow shells when the Crystal is restored.
- Flesh Golems: The prototype seen in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is partly made of Arathim and Gruenak remains skekTek animates using the power of the Dark Crystal, with the addition of the pincers and armor.
- Giant Enemy Crab: They look mostly like giant crabs, combined with beetle shells and spider legs (fitting for the latter, given that they were made using Arathim remains).
- Hell Is That Noise: The characteristic rattle-like sound their torso emit when moving, which undeniably contributes to make them scarier.
- Leitmotif: Whenever they crash into a scene in the film, a "Psycho" Strings theme plays.
- Mechanical Monster: From the Gelflings and Podlings' perspective.
- Mecha-Mooks: They're soulless Magitek servants to the Skeksis, doing the dirty work/brute force work for them.
- Power Pincers: Their right hands are crab-like bladed pincers.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Their eyes are purple due to the Crystal's power and particularly glow when they spot their targets, such as with Jen and Kira. The first one created however has blue eyes, interestingly.
- Spider Limbs: Their "legs". Those were made to hide the puppeteers' legs, but it didn't always work. Age of Resistance reveals that the Garthim were made using Arathim remains, hence the spider parts.
The Crystal Bats
Appear in: The Dark Crystal
Bat-like flying creatures that, like the Garthim, are animated by the power of the Dark Crystal and serve the Skeksis. They carry a purple crystal that shares what they see with the Crystal at the castle, allowing the Skeksis to spy on and find their preys pretty much anywhere on Thra.
- Animal Eye Spy: Technically, they're Magitek animals and are the Skeksis' and Garthim's "eyes" everywhere on Thra.
- Bat Out of Hell: They don't attack, but spotting one is Oh, Crap! worthy, meaning the Garthim won't be long to come.
- Magical Eye: Their "eye" (most of their body actually) is a purple crystal.
- Surveillance Drone: Their role in a nutshell.
Skeksis who don't reside at the castle.
skekMal the Hunter
Performed by: Kevin Clash
Voiced by: Ralph Ineson
Appears in: Shadows of the Dark Crystal | Flame of the Dark Crystal | The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The wildest and most brutal of the Skeksis by the time of Age of Resistance. Essentially a solitary hunter who will go to great lengths to track and kill his preys if he deems the hunt worth it.
- Arch-Enemy: He collects archenemies just as much as he collects trophies. He's a very particular enemy to:
- Kylan, who was a child when the Hunter murdered his parents.
- Rian, who he becomes obsessed with the moment he becomes the target of the hunt, pursuing him endlessly and killing Rian's father in the process.
- UrVa the Archer, most naturally, due to them being two separate parts of a single being and as such have been enemies since the moment they split. The Archer even refers to skekMal as his "dark half" and considers it his duty to stop him.
- Badass Boast: He's prone to these, the most memorable of which being his bombastic declaration as he holds Rian hostage, in response to Brea's pleas to let him go.skekMal: QUIET, PUNY GELFLING!! I have conquered death! I return more powerful than ever! More powerful than Thra itself! NOTHING CAN STOP THE HUNT!!
- Blood Knight: The Hunter, as you might guess from his title, lives for the hunt, pursuing his prey halfway across the world if he has to. The Chamberlain has to practically beg skekMal to bring Rian back alive and not take him as a trophy.
- Blow That Horn: skekSil summons skekMal at the Castle by blowing a huge horn on the Castle's heights. The other Skeksis instantly recognize that horn sound, as they dread him.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Bases his decisions entirely around 'The Hunt'. Initially he plans on cutting out Rian's tongue and taking it as a trophy when the Chamberlain interrupts him, since he needs Rian alive to restore his place at the Emperor's right-hand. The Hunter's initially contemptuous of the Chamberlain hunting "a chair," but relents when the Chamberlain counters that he's hunting power, actually managing to make a successful Not So Different connection between them. He lets the Chamberlain have Rian so he can claim his trophy, just so long as the Hunter can have his own afterwards.
- Chest Burster: A magical example; when the Hunter dies, Aughra is resurrected right where he stands in an eruption of light. After all, it was her essence that revived skekMal in the first place.
- Combat Pragmatist: Each encounter skekMal engages begins with him ambushing his prey. You know, like a hunter.
- Creepy Souvenir: He collects and wears parts of his victims, some of which double as battle trophies.
- Dead Guy on Display: Believing him to be dead, the other Skeksis hung his body on a frame in the throne room so he will command with them all "forever". Turns out he's Not Quite Dead.
- Determinator: One of his defining traits is how utterly unstoppable he is. As he himself says: Nothing can stop the hunt!!
- Ordon throws himself and skekMal into a patch of Man Eating Plants in an effort to stop him and save Rian. The Hunter leaps out none the worse for wear.
- Despite being skewered by three arrows, he manages to drag Brea's cage all the way from the Crystal Desert to the throne room before he finally collapses, near death. In contrast, his Mystic counterpart faints after feeling the pain of the third arrow.
- He immediately goes back on the hunt after reviving. His first words upon waking up? "Where is Rian?"
- Disc-One Final Boss: Of all the Skeksis, skekMal is the most persistent threat to Rian and the others in the first season, and victory in the Battle of Stone-In-The-Wood only becomes certain once he truly dies for good as it severely demoralizes the remaining Skeksis, as well as paves the way for Aughra's resurrection. However, his loss is rendered moot by the subsequent unveiling of the first Garthim by skekTek, who will become a much graver threat to the Gelfling than the Hunter ever was.
- Doomed Hurt Guy: A villainous example. Fatally wounded by the Archer, his Mystic counterpart, the other Skeksis go to great lengths to try and save him, but he perishes anyway. However, he suddenly revives a few episodes later thanks to an injection of Aughra's essence.
- The Dragon: To skekSil, the Chamberlain. By virtue of being summoned to hunt down Rian, skekMal becomes skekSil's primary hand in violence.
- The Dreaded: Everybody is terrified of this guy, and with good reason. He's feared in Gelfling legends as a boogeyman-like figure whom may or may not exist, and even the other Skeksis are afraid of him due to his violent, predatory nature, which not even they are safe from.
- Dual Wielding: His preferred method of head-on combat is carrying two, or even four blades.
- Dynamic Entry: Almost every one of his appearances involves him rushing into frame and ruining someone's day.
- Eaten Alive: He's pushed into a patch of carnivorous plants by Ordon. Unfortunately for Ordon, the Hunter is able to claw his way out.
- Egomaniac Hunter: He is initially insulted when given a Gelfling target, but skekSil manages to convince him.
- Evil Counterpart: To urVa the Mystic Archer.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Ralph Ineson brings his famous growl in his performance.
- Evil Virtues: The Hunter might be a merciless, bloodthirsty killer but he has a strong sense of honor, and does not share the vices of the other, hedonistic Skeksis. He's brave, determined and holds himself to a higher ideal than pure self-interest. The bickering of the other Skeksis seems to disgust him."Poor skekSil. Still consumed by petty squabbles! When will you learn? Only the hunt matters!"
- Famous Last Words: His final words are a desperate, furious cry out to his Good Counterpart after urVa leaps from the Circle of the Suns, even while his body crumbles in ashes.skekMal: Archer! What have... you... done?!
- Godzilla Threshold: Seems to represent a living example. The Skeksis have a special horn just to summon the Hunter, but are afraid of and dislike being around him, since not even they are safe from his bloodlust. Only in their most desperate times do they consider calling him to the castle.
- Guttural Growler: Not a single line he says goes without a bass snarl to it.
- Hero Killer: Skeksis are usually only a physical threat to Gelflings because of their superior size and strength. The Hunter, however, is fast and strong even for a Skeksis, having dedicated his life to the hunt. After capturing Rian and killing his father, he shows off the trophies he's claimed from past heroes and warriors he's slain. Whenever he shows up, it's clear the heroes are in genuine danger.
- I Was Quite a Looker: According to Aughra, skekMal was "always the most beautiful" of the Skeksis.
- Implacable Man: He means it when he says "Nothing can stop the Hunt!"
- Irony: What would have been his fate if Aughra's essence hadn't revived him. His corpse would have been decorated and hung up in the Skesis throne room as a gruesome tribute, just like a hunter's prized kill being hung as a mantle piece.
- Killed Off for Real: He dies a second and final time after the Archer throws himself off a cliff.
- Knight of Cerebus: Not that The Dark Crystal is lighthearted by any means, but skekMal is notably more violent and agile than the other Skeksis, who are visibly perturbed by his presence. And whereas most of his compatriots prefer subterfuge, backstabbing and relying on Mooks to do their dirty work, the Hunter actively pursues his quarry, posing a much more immediate threat to the protagonists. Notably, he's the only Skeksis whose back limbs have not atrophied into uselessness.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's very strong but also able to leap and cling to branches with ease, unlike the other Skeksis who just shamble about, presumably due to his more active lifestyle.
- Meaningful Name: "Mal" is the French word for "evil", and the Latin form malum means the same.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: He's the only Skeksis whose secondary arms haven't atrophied, and uses them to wield another pair of daggers when outnumbered.
- Not So Different: As much as he holds his fellow Skeksis in contempt for their hedonism and cowardice, his final moments show that he's just as terrified of dying as they are.
- Oh, Crap!: The look in his eyes as he realizes what the Archer has done is one of sheer terror.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: He picks up the trail in no time at all, and later catches up with Rian again at the Crystal Desert.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Wears an animal skull on his head and what appears to be an armor made of bones. He has a couple of smaller skulls dangling from his raiment, which he describes as other hunters and warriors he's killed to take their power for himself.
- Synchronization: His life and soul are linked to those of urVa the Archer, which lets him see what urVa sees when falling to his death (i.e. the ground closing in).
- Taking You with Me: When Ordon pushes him into the patch of carnivorous plants, the Hunter grabs him so neither can escape death.
- Tempting Fate: His entire Badass Boast turns out to be this, as right after he says it, the Archer sacrifices himself, ending both of their lives.
- They Have the Scent!: Initially tracks Rian using the scent from a scrap of torn clothing.
- The Rival: To the Archer, as it is stated that skekMal himself is being hunted by his Mystic counterpart, the only being in all of Thra that he can't hunt.
- This Cannot Be!: Oh, he is not happy to see Archer's suicide is taking him out as well, in clear and terrified disbelief.
- Undignified Death: In direct contrast to the Archer, who peacefully closes his eyes in the face of his death, skekMal dies screaming, terrified, unable to believe what's happening to him.
- Villainous Valor: You can't help but be impressed by his expending every last ounce of strength to complete his mission even after being badly wounded, dragging Brea into the Castle before collapsing nearly dead.
- We Used to Be Friends: "Friends" might be pushing it, but he was seemingly allies with Rek'yr at one point. Rek'yr would guide him on hunts into the Crystal Desert.
- Worthy Opponent: He comes to view Rian as this after a fashion. His first thought upon reviving with Aughra's essence? Demanding skekTek tell him where Rian is.
- You Killed My Father:
- Left Kylan an orphan at a young age.
- Also, he's largely responsible for the death of Rian's father Ordon.
skekGra the Heretic (formerly the Conqueror)
Performed by: Damian Farrell
Voiced by: Andy Samberg
Appears in: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
- "Oh, it's wonderful to see you! Do you see my wonder? Look upon my wonder!"
A Skeksis who was banished by his brethren and has lived with his Mystic counterpart, urGoh the Wanderer, on top of a desert rock called the Circle of the Suns. Unlike the others, he believes the Skeksis and Mystics should be reunited.
- The Atoner: As the Conqueror he was famed for "vile and cruel deeds", but is now trying to make amends.
- Beauty = Goodness: Downplayed; he's not exactly handsome and still appears quite frightening, but he does seem to be in much better shape than his corrupt, decaying brethren.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's incredibly eccentric and hyperactive, even by Skeksis standards.
- Defector from Decadence: He was originally a "vile and cruel" member of the Skeksis of the Castle of the Crystal, however, after receiving a vision from Thra, he no longer desired the decadent and hedonistic life the Skeksis vicariously lived through, and came to believe that they should unite with their Mystic counterparts, and return to their original selves, the urSkeks. For this belief he was branded a heretic, and exiled by his other brethern. This doesn't seem to bother him too much.
- Determinator: Has been this; and still is. Imagine how much willpower it takes a Skeksis not to be a total jerkass all the time...
- Early-Bird Cameo: His voice appears on Lore's record player arm, assuring whoever wakes Lore that Lore will protect them.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: His face is more dinosaurian than it is bird of prey-like.
- Evil Counterpart: Technically, he's the "evil" half of the urSkek he once formed with urGoh the Wanderer, and was once known as the Conqueror for a reason (he mentions he "lied, cursed, killed, hurt and maimed" and committed other such "vile, cruel deeds"). But then he became benevolent (or, at the very least, found some ethical standards) at some point after getting a vision from Thra, and the only negative traits he has left in him might be his impatience at urGoh's slowness, some shades of Innocent Bigot and a temper (which he quickly uses up in fairly harmless ways).
- Facial Markings: He painted parts of his face, likely for ritual reasons.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: He's gone somewhat 'round the bend after centuries with just his slow-talking Mystic counterpart for company. That said, he seems to have a metal spike through his head (that he plays on like a chime), so that may also have something to do with it.
- The Heretic: Branded as such for wanting the Skeksis to reunite with their Mystic counterparts.
- Hot-Blooded: He's very loud, bombastic and passionate unlike his Mystic counterpart, and it's understandably confusing for the Gelflings the first time they meet him. He also loses his temper quickly when urGoh can't do something fast enough.
- Innocent Bigot: Mistakes the Podling Hup for a slave, though he cheerfully declares "Even better!" when Deet insist he's a friend. Not that it stops him from repeatedly referring to Hup as "Friend-Slave." While innocent is a stretch, given his attitude is likely a relic from his Conqueror days, he doesn't seem to be aware he's causing any offense.
- Innocently Insensitive: Utterly clueless as to how Lore's deactivation might be upsetting for the Gelflings, Brea in particular.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After his HeelFace Turn. He's impulsive, impatient, bossy and rude, but has good intentions, cares for urGoh and supports the Gelflings on their quest.
- Junkie Prophet: He and urGoh consume hallucinogenic berries in order to have more prophetic visions after their initial vision, this is likely part of the reason for his...erratic personality more than Go Mad from the Isolation (Word of God even states that the two of them were inspired by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).
- Lack of Empathy: He doesn't seem to have any sense of other people's emotions and defaults to ordering everyone around regardless of what they want and any protests they may make. By Skeksis standards he's clearly making a heroic effort to be nice, but he doesn't have any knack for it.
- Large Ham: He has a larger-than-life personality, to say the least.Heretic: Gaze upon my wonder!! (poses and eyes the Gelflings for compliments)
- Light Is Good: Unlike the other Skeksis, he wears white robes, and is on good terms with his Mystic counterpart.
- Like an Old Married Couple: A bit one-sided on the Heretic's part with urGoh. He's often impatient and annoyed with his counterpart's slowness, but he nonetheless cares about him as much as he can. They are both part of each other, after all.
- Nice Hat: Has some sort of bell attatched to the top of their head for some reason.
- No Indoor Voice: While he does quiet down when he's serious, most of the time he has a Large Ham voice that cannot be contained.
- Not So Different: While he is by far the nicest and only good Skeksis, he does still share many of their mannerisms. He is overly dramatic, prone to yelling, lacks patience and despite being a hermit does indulge himself as much as possible. Since Skeksis are the "darker" impulses of the urSkeks, most likely these quirks are simply ingrained in them.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to urGoh's blue.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Notably subverted, as he's possibly the most reptilian of the Skeksis, and yet is also the most moral.
- Retired Badass: His title used to be the Conqueror before he was branded the Heretic, and he admits it was well deserved.
- Those Two Guys: He's been living like a hermit with his Mystic counterpart for centuries. They oscillate between this and the Odd Couple.
- The Slacker: Compared to how active he used to be, certainly. But, compared to his better half, he still has more drive even while quite deliberately living in the slow lane most of the time. It's up in the air how much the spike helps him be this trope rather than the multi-tasking General Ripper he once was.
- Token Heroic Orc: He is the first and, so far, only Skeksis character in the Dark Crystal universe to be a good guy.
- Tsundere: Acts this way towards urGoh. He has very little patience for the Mystic and yet puts up with him for centuries and cares a lot about him.
skekSa the Mariner (also known as the Captain)
Appears in: Tides of the Dark Crystal | Flame of the Dark Crystal
A sailor Skeksis who took to the seas after disagreeing with skekSo's rule that ends up getting pulled into their efforts to destroy the Gelfling resistance.
- Evil Counterpart: To urSan the Swimmer.
- The Ghost: Doesn't appear in Age of Resistance, but the other Skeksis do mention her when they talk about summoning others to the castle, along with skekLi, skekNa and skekUng.
- Living Ship: Enslaved a giant sea turtle to use as a sailing craft and submarine.
- Pirate Girl: How she presents herself.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only Skeksis who officially identifies as female. As opposed to skekLach whose Netflix version is rather ambiguous gender-wise, but remains unconfirmed.
skekLi the Satirist
Appears in: Song of the Dark Crystal
The Skeksis who wrote satire stories for the enjoyment of the other Skeksis.
skekHak and skekYi
Appear in: The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths
Two Skeksis seen at the end of Volume 2 of The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths. They were the one who died immediately after the botched division of the urSkeks. When one of the Skeksis goes rogue in the Crystal Chamber, it proceeds to kill two urRu — one is choked to death, while the other is thrown into the fire Shaft under the Crystal, leading to the deaths of their Skeksis counterparts. skekHak came from the urSkek Carpenter hakHom, while skekYi came from the urSkek yiYa, whose position is unknown.