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Series / The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

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Another world, another time. Rediscover the age of wonder.

"A whole new world awaits you."

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a Netflix-produced series directed by Louis Leterrier. It is a prequel to the 1982 fantasy film that was directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, The Dark Crystal. Just like the original film, it features animatronic puppets created and performed by Henson's Creature Shop and is based on designs by Brian Froud.

The world of Thra is dying. The Crystal of Truth is at the heart of Thra, a source of untold power. But it is damaged, corrupted by the evil Skeksis, and a sickness spreads across the land. When three Gelfling — Rian, Brea and Deet — uncover the horrific truth behind the power of the Skeksis, an adventure unfolds as the fires of rebellion are lit and an epic battle for Thra's future begins.

The first season's ten episodes premiered on Netflix on August 30th, 2019. Producer Lisa Henson (daughter of Jim) hopes for further seasons. A video game, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, was released in February 2020, and a 12 issue prequel comic book series, also titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, from Boom! Studios began in September 2019, divided into three serials telling the story of Ordon and the Dual Glaive, the misadventures of Hup and a thieving bard, and a high-seas adventure that All Maudra Mayrin went on during her youth.

Years prior, running from 2016 to the week of the show's release, the characters and events of the series were introduced in a series of Young Adult novels by J.M. Lee, consisting of Shadows of the Dark Crystal, Song of the Dark Crystal, Tides of the Dark Crystal and Flames of the Dark Crystal. However, because these books worked off of an early story bible for what became the series, the books and show diverge from each other just as much as they share events and story beats.

The series has quite a substantial voice acting cast, which is detailed below.

    The voice acting cast includes: 




  • Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as urVa, the Archer
  • Bill Hader as urGoh, the Wanderer

Other Characters:

Previews: Production teaser, Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

In September 2020, the day after the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program, it was announced that Netflix canceled the show, leaving several plot threads unresolved. Lisa Henson then announced that other ways will be found to continue the story.

Provides examples of:

  • Accidental Discovery: skekTek the Scientist reverses the polarity of the Crystal in an attempt to force it to give new life which has an opposite effect of Vampiric Draining of his life essence. He chalks it up as yet another failure until skekSil the Chamberlain points out that it can be used to drain the essence of other creatures of Thra. He reminds skekTek that there are beings who have the closest connection to the life force of Thra and must therefore have the strongest life essence... then they look at the Gelfling guards...
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is what happens to Gelflings as well as all other lifeforms on Thra when they die; their consciousness returns to Thra's life-force. But there's a catch, the consciousness of Gelflings who get drained by the Skeksis are trapped in their own essence, which prevents them from becoming one with Thra once more.
  • Alien Blood:
    • Some Gelflings bleed pink, as shown explicitly during the All-Maudra's death scene when the General disembowels her for defying him. Tavra's pink blood also coats the Chamberlain's sword when she's stabbed. Oddly enough, cuts on Gelflings' skin are always red, perhaps because pink would look confusing.
    • Gruenak blood is black.
    • Skeksis blood looks red in most scenes, while in others it's purple.
  • Alien Sky: Thra not only has three suns, but also three moons. This is a change from the original expanded universe, where Thra was said to have a single moon that was too dark to see with the naked eye.
  • Anyone Can Die: Quite a few heroes perish before the end of the series, including Rian's father Ordon, the Vapran Al-Maudra, Tavra, Maudra Farra, and the Mystic Archer, while the Skeksis lose the General, the Hunter, and the Collector.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Skeksis might endlessly plot and scheme against one another, and even maim individuals who have failed in a particularly egregious way. But the idea of killing one another is unthinkable to them, and the very idea that any of them even can die leaves them utterly distraught. This is why the Chamberlain's murder of the General is so beyond the pale, and why his explanation for the General's death is immediately accepted.
  • Arc Symbol: The three-pointed sigil, the Aureyal, first seen by Brea and which then begins to occur with more and more frequency.
  • As You Know: Gelfling females have wings, which Mira reminds Rian of in the first episode.
  • The Atoner:
    • skekGra. He admits that during his time as the Conqueror he was guilty of an immense number of atrocities and crimes. Now, as the Heretic, he works to thwart the other Skeksis and reunify them with their Mystic counterparts.
    • To a lesser extent, Seladon once she realizes the error of her ways.
  • Batman Gambit: Aughra runs an incredible gambit on the Skeksis that involves trading her own life for those of several prominent Gelflings, allowing her essence to be used to restore the Hunter, then trusting that the Archer will take his own life at just the right moment to destroy the Hunter and turn the tide of battle, and allowing Aughra herself to resurrect from within the Hunter's body! Practically lampshaded by Aughra herself when she tells the Emperor she wasn't sure it would work.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • The native creatures of Thra have their own vitality and beauty even despite the more bizarre appearance of some of them; none of them look diseased, corrupted or rotted in the way the Skeksis do. Despite this, the Skeksis are still trusted and revered as the lords of Thra because they protect the Crystal. If the Gelflings judged by outward appearance alone, they would instantly know how trustworthy and kind the Skeksis truly are Beneath the Mask.
    • Inverted with Mother Augra who, despite being the Big Good of the series, looks like the offspring of Granny Goodness and The Cryptkeeper.
  • Before the Dark Times: While the Skeksis have now ruled for nearly a thousand trine (years) since the darkening of the Crystal, they have not yet descended into the open cruelty and destructiveness that marks the time of Jen and Kira. The Skeksis' empire controls Thra and is more or less still benevolent to the Gelflings, but it has now finally begun the slow decline from its heyday when the Skeksis didn't need to poison and destroy the land to keep themselves alive. The Gelfling race still thrives, the Garthim have not yet been created, and the Skeksis have only just discovered the power of the Crystal to drain life essence from other creatures. The Skeksis' selfish and poisonous nature is still very much hidden from the Gelflings, but their mask of affability has finally begun to slip.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Deet, friend to all living things, absorbs The Darkening's power when skekSo attacks the Gelflings with it...and turns the power back on the Skeksis, killing skekLach.
  • Big "NO!": skekSo the Emperor is prone to this, particularly where mortality is concerned.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Skeksis are beaten, the lost shard is found and the Gelflings have won the day, but Deet is overcome by the Darkening, which continues to spread, and skekTek creates the Garthim. Emphasized and lampshaded by Mother Aughra in her ending speech, paired alongside with the above scenery.
    Mother Aughra: Ah... Gelfling. The Shard calls to you. You fought well. This day is ours. And tomorrow. Tomorrow, three suns rise on a new world. Nothing will ever be the same. We have made new enemies and lost old friends. But the fallen are not truly gone. They have joined the song of Thra once more. Listen. And you will hear them in the wind. For the song has changed. It sounds like hope. But take care. Hope is fragile. Hope is delicate, like a crystal shard. Once lost…now found. And easily stolen. This day’s victory does not belong to a single Gelfling or a single clan. It belongs to all of us. All of Thra, united. This day, the many become one!
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Gourmand is seen engaging in "public micturation," progressively unleashing streams of urine until three are going simultaneously. Luckily, we only see the streams, so we can still only guess what's going on down there.
  • Body Horror: The show pulls no punches showing how horribly the Skeksis are aging. The Collector has massive pustules on her face that constantly ooze pus, while the Emperor’s beak and fingernails are rotting right off his body.
  • Break Them by Talking: skekSil the Chamberlain's forte. He does a particularly good job of it with a captive Rian, arguing the case for the Skeksis' predations so effectively that they start to sound reasonable. He also hits on Rian's Survivor's Guilt by pointing out that he'd abandoned Mira, Gurjin, and even his own father out of self-preservation.
  • Butt-Monkey: skekTek the Scientist is constantly ridiculed and abused by the other Skeksis, despite them being essentially dependent upon his inventions to sustain their way of life.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Rian's reaction to Mira beating him in their race in episode 1 brings to mind the reveal of Kira's wings in the original film.
      Rian: You cheated!
      Mira: I win again!
      Rian: You won because you have wings!
      Mira: 'Course I do, I'm a girl! And you're a flat-footed Nebrie!
    • The Skeksis violently stripping Seladon is very much like the Chamberlain's banishment.
    • "I will never be dust!" declares the Skeksis Emperor, who literally crumbled to dust in the movie.
    • Skektek throwing the Gruenak down the Shaft mirrors his own death in the film.
  • Casting Gag: Lena Headey, fresh off her role as Cersei Lannister, here plays a character who rebels against a power-hungry tyrannical queen. And she wants to melt the blades that will be used in the war once the war will be over... like what a certain throne is made of.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Skeksis, both to each other and to others. It gets so bad that they gain a ready-made and highly effective army in the form of the Arathim, then immediately turn that army against them by trying to knowingly send them to their death in Darkening-controlled caves.
  • Continuity Nod: As a prequel to the original film, this series fills in some gaps:
    • The beginning of the series shows skekTek with both eyes intact. After failing to protect the remaining vial of Mira's essence, he is punished by having a peeper beetle devour his eye. In his next appearance, his mechanical eye is installed, as he appeared in the film.
    • In the original film, after the Podlings are drained for their essence and consumed by the Skeksis, they comment it doesn't last long and Gelfling essence was better. This series reveals how much better Gelfling essence actually was. Also Subverted in that the original film showed that consuming essence temporarily restored the Skeksis to a youthful appearance, while their outward appearance is as decrepit as ever in the series, no matter how much essence they drink.
  • Cool Car: The Skeksis ride in style in elaborate carriages that use giant pillbugs as living wheels.
  • Cool Crown: All-Maudra Mayrin wears a pointed yet elegant looking crown. After an All-Maudra's death, each tip of the crown has to be sent to a Maudra, then all Maudras must gather to reassemble it and crown the new All-Maudra. However, when Seladon becomes All-Maudra, she fashions herself a new crown resembling the Castle of the Crystal to show her allegiance to the Skeksis.
  • The Corruption:
    • The first sign that the Skeksis are not the benevolent overlords the Gelfling believe them to be; the Darkening of the Crystal of Truth is slowly poisoning Thra and corrupting its plant life, which when eaten by the animal life is turning them hostile and violent.
    • Drained essence also "corrupts" the Skeksis, causing them to act like drunks and exacerbate their already malicious behavior. It's probably best seen when the Scientist indulges on his secret essence stash and pretends to be the Emperor.
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: While the general aesthetics from the 1982 film have been preserved, the puppetry is much more advanced, and the addition of CGI allows for more Scenery Porn, more possibilities for camera angles, and much more pristine footage.
  • Covered in Gunge: A few times. When skekTek is dissecting a dead Arathim, its innards explode and squirt green goo all over him. Then in the final battle, when skekLach is killed, he explodes, drenching the other Skeksis in all manner of unspeakable sliminess, prompting a horrified skekEkt to cry "It's in my mouth!"
  • Cry into Chest: Rian to Gurjin, after Mira's death.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: In episode 3, Brea meets a Gelfling named Juni, who was sentenced to the Order of Lesser Service by her parents for befriending a Spriton boy.
  • David vs. Goliath: Whenever a Gelfling has to fight a Skeksis, it turns into this. Even when they're old, flabby and have limited fighting experience, the Skeksis are far bigger and stronger than a Gelfling and this gives the Skeksis an almost insurmountable advantage. The rebellious Palace guards found this out when they tried to take the palace and despite a huge numbers advantage, the Skeksis completlely kicked the guards's ass. Then there was Ordon and Rian losing against skekMal near the gobblers.
  • Death from Above: A nonlethal version. This was one of the keys to victory during the battle of Stone in Wood. Previously the Gelfling lost every fight they had with the Skeksis, this time the females in their party did a bombing run with smoke bombs which panicked and distracted the Skeksis for a long enough time for reinforcements to close in.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first episode does a fairly convincing job of setting up Mira as the primary female lead of the series and Rian's longterm Love Interest. Her death by draining at the hands of the Skeksis kicks off the events of the series.
  • Descent into Addiction: This is clearly what is happening to the Skeksis as they drain and consume Gelfling essence. They need more and more of it, but the more they consume, the more the Darkening poisons Thra and hastens the Skeksis' own corruption. It even poisons their behavior and attitude towards the Gelflings, causing them to gleefully abandon any pretense of being noble guardians of the Crystal. They even welcome the freedom of finally getting to be Obviously Evil once skekVar the General murders the Gelfling All-Maudra in a fit of rage when she openly defies him. Exactly how immoral they've always been is a bit of a debatable point, but either way, their addiction to the essence triggers something they can't turn back from. Their greed for it is such that they immediately dismiss the Chamberlain's concerns that their rate of consumption will rapidly eliminate the supply as a hindrance to their immortality, as well as his fear of the Geflings learning their true nature. Even the Scientist's fears about the Darkening and use of the Crystal are ignored by the Emperor (It's telling how essence is affecting the Skeksis when Chamberlain and Scientist, two of the more logically inclined and pragmatic members of the group, have consumed the least amount of essence at that point).
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Dual Glaive has been separated in two parts.
  • Disposable Woman: Mira, who dies in the first episode so that Rian can see how evil the Skeksis are.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In a call-back to the original film, the Skeksis violently tear away most of Seladon's finery, though they thankfully stop at her dress. They are so violent in their stripping, they even scar her face. She is then dragged away by the hair.
  • Doomed by Canon: By the time this series is over, all of the Gelfling will either be dead or in hiding and the Skeksis will have won. Meanwhile, Thra continues to be ravaged by the Darkening.
    • Likewise, it can be assumed that the Heretic and the Wanderer, as well as any other Skeksis and Urru introduced, will also die at some point, given that there are only a total of ten Skeksis and ten Mystics left at the start of the movie and then eight at the end.
  • The Dreaded:
    • skekMal the Hunter. Even the other Skeksis keep him at arm's length due to how terrifying he is. That said, they are all legitimately concerned when he is on the verge of death.
    • The peeper beetle. All skekSil does is mention the possibility of using it, and skekTek is suddenly begging skekSo for mercy.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: When the Sanctuary Tree gifts Deet with its power she's shown a series of visions of the future which include a hooded female Gelfling carrying what appears to be a baby being chased through the woods by a Garthim (suggesting the baby may be either Jen or Kira), of Jen healing the Dark Crystal, and another of Deet herself, overcome by the Darkening, and seated on the throne of the Skeksis Emperor.
  • Dual Wielding: The Skeksis' dominant fighting style utilizes two swords. Exaggerated by skekMal the Hunter who, unlike other Skeksis, is capable of wielding a pair of blades with both of his sets of hands.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • It is customary for Gelflings to be buried after death so they may be properly returned to Thra. Having a Gelfing cremated is considered desecration.
    • When skekMal dies, the first Skeksis to die ever, the Emperor decides that he won't be buried or burned like a Gelfing. He decrees that skekMal would be preserved, adorned in their finest armor and displayed in the throne room so he would "rule by [their] side forever".
  • Evil Costume Switch: When Seladon ascends to power, she discards her bright garb and wears a much more imposing black gown, a spiky intimidating crown with a veil, dark blue eye shadow and dark red lipstick. The pronounced back on the outfit makes her appear more like the Skeksis, something that is remarked upon in universe.
  • Evil is Petty: The Chamberlain, which among the Skesis is really saying something.
    Chamberlain: (while murdering the General) YOU. TOOK. MY SEAT!
  • Eye Scream: Peeper beetles are an insect species whose preferred food is the eyes of living creatures. One gets put to horrific use in episode 2.
  • Faceplanting into Food: The Skeksis, particularly the Gourmand, are prone to doing this when they overindulge at the dining table. It can be quite cute until you remember what horrific monsters they are.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Scientist violently beating one of his Gruenak slaves to death with a piece of broken machinery. It's so brutal that we don't see it onscreen, only showing a Shadow Discretion Shot of the initial blow and a horrified creature in a cage getting splattered with the victim's blood.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The Scientist getting his eyeball eaten by the peeper beetle.
  • Fantastic Racism: The seven Gelfling clans are distrustful of one another before joining together to fight the Skeksis. They even look down on Pod People, considering them to be below even the Grottan Gelflings.
  • Fantasy Aliens: The Skeksis, and their counterparts the Mystics hail from another planet. This series actually uses this concept with Gaia-style philosophy where in the regular inhabitants of the planet get to become one with the planet upon their death while the Skeksis as aliens simply cease to exist upon death. Where they originally came from or why they came to Thra (or even how) is left largely unanswered.
  • Fat Bastard: The properly named Gourmand is just as bad as the rest. Unlike the rest, his title isn't even a job. He just eats.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The entire system of government the Skeksis have set up on Thra depends on them maintaining this. The series shows what motivated them to eventually abandon the pretense.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Skeksis are cruel reptilian humanoids with heads of birds of prey.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Two of the three main characters are girls - Deet and Princess Brea - who are both brave, intelligent, proactive and heroic in their own way. The rulers of the Gelfings (the Maudras) are all women and in Gelfing society, Gender Is No Object; both males and females can be warriors, scholars and so forth, and indeed, Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism strongly favors female Gelfling, who have the power of flight. The Big Good of the series is Mother Aughra, who helps guide the Gelfings in their quest to realize the true nature of the Skeksis and restore the Crystal of Truth to save Thra; Brea and Deet also play vital roles in uncovering the truth and uniting the Gelfing tribes.
  • Fisher King: In the first episodes in the series, the landscape around the Crystal Castle is green and verdant not unlike how it is at the end of the movie when the Crystal is healed, while the Skeksis are still posing as benevolent overlords of the Gelflings. However, as the series progresses and the Skeksis become more overtly tyrannical (and the Darkening spreads under skekSo's influence), this landscape gradually deteriorates into the Mordor it becomes by the beginning of the movie.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The "peeper beetle". It's The Dreaded, and for good reason, but has such a silly name.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who's seen the original film knows what will happen: Thra will become a dying, decaying world thanks to the Darkening, and the landscape around the Crystal Castle will become a barren empty desert. Most of the Skesis will survive — with the Emperor remaining undefeated until his deathbed, and the Chamberlain in his current position in the court at the beginning of the movie. The three Skeksis introduced by the series won't make it to the time of the film. Aughra will survive, the Dark Crystal will remain shattered, the essence draining device will be "refined" with a mirror that drains the essence solely through the eyes and zombifies the victims to serve as slaves to the Skeksis instead of disintegrating them, and the Gelflings will be exterminated by the Garthim, with only Jen and Kira as the sole (known) survivors of their species. However, with the show’s cancellation, how exactly things will get to that state after the triumphant ending of the first season has been left up in the air if one doesn't delve into Expanded Universe material, especially given the fan theory that this is an alternate continuity where the Gelflings win.
  • Foreshadowing: Thrice:
    • When demanding that skekTek find a solution to the problem of their aging, skekSo says "I did not build an empire simply to watch it turn to dust!" Guess what happens to him in the original movie.
    • SkekTek gets into trouble in the Chamber of Life when the Crystal starts draining him and he is rescued by skekSil, who chides him, "You must be careful. I will not always be here to save you." This both foreshadows his later fight against his rebellious Gruenak assistants, who give him a good thrashing before he gains the upper hand and his eventual death when he falls down the Shaft after Kira has all his animals attack him.
    • When Deet sees the future events, she sees what looks like Kira's mother hiding her daughter away from the Garthim and Jen healing the Dark Crystal.
    • SkekTek nearly being drained by the Crystal foreshadows the missing Crystal piece hidden in the Dual Glaive when the sword started to drain the General's essence when Rian stab him.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In Episode 10 all the Gelfling clans arrive at Stone-in-the-Wood to aid the Resistance proudly carrying banners and flags, before they are joined by the Arathim to present a united front to the Skesis who having already lost several of their kin, flee in terror back to their castle.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The second episode ends on the image of the peeper beetle prying open the Scientist's eye socket before a Smash to Black and a horrible crunching sound.
    • We don't actually see skekTek savagely bludgeon one of his rebellious Grunak slaves to death. Instead we see the horrified reaction of an onlooking pet as flying blood splatters across its face.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: As in the original film, both Aughra's observatory and skekTek's lab, the Chamber of Life, are filled with the usual flasks, retorts and beakers. Aside from the special vials used to hold the essence, they're not used for anything except to give skekSo something to break during his Villainous Breakdown after skekMal seemingly perishes.
  • Green Aesop: The difference between the Gelflings living as a part of the natural cycle of Thra and the Skeksis poisoning and draining Thra of its life and vitality through the crystal represents the dichotomy of ruthlessly exploiting nature versus being In Harmony with Nature.
  • Hate Plague: How The Darkening affects the wildlife it corrupts (it's not clear whether this is the effect it has on sapient creatures though, as the only such beings we see fall under its influence either do so at the very end of the only season out yet or were already pretty nasty individuals to begin with).
  • Hero of Another Story: Several of the supporting characters are leads of the J.M. Lee novels, such as Naia, Kylan and Tavra.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Seladon starts as a face, turns heel and then turns back into a face again.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Heretic prior to the events of the show.
  • Hive Mind: The Arathim. Thanks to a Puppeteer Parasite sub-species, they can assimilate other beings into their hive mind as well.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Everything the Skeksis do to cheat death and maintain their rule is contributing to their own eventual demise, from ravaging the land to consuming the life essence of the Gelflings, to harnessing the Darkening itself; all of it is hastening their growing decrepitude and putrefaction while they still live. As bad as this situation is for the Skeksis, it is made exponentially worse by the fact that the life force of Thra and the Gelflings are a limited resource that the Darkening is already destroying.
  • Hope Spot: What the ending of the first season amounts to. The seven clans of Gelfling and the Arathim unite and drive back the Skeksis at Stone-In-The-Wood, Aughra manages to come back to life, and the General, Hunter, and Collector are all dead. Not only that, but Brea discovers the Crystal Shard was hidden inside the Dual Glaive, the key to healing the Dark Crystal and ending Skeksis' power over Thra. Aughra gives a speech as the Gelfling/Arathim alliance celebrates, though she also tellingly warns that hope is fragile and can easily be broken. Not only did the Gelfling suffer some casualties, among them Maudra Fara, but the Archer had to give his own life to finally put an end to his counterpart the Hunter, and Deet has become so infected by the Darkening that she corrupts Thra simply by existing, forcing her to leave her friends, with Rian sadly having to watch her go. And when the Skeksis retreat back to the castle, a triumphant Scientist reveals he has succeeded in creating the first of the Garthim from combining a dead Arathim with corpse of one of his Gruenak slaves. It's a grim reminder that while the Resistance has won the first battle, they are doomed to lose the war, leaving things for Jen and Kira to fix later on. It's also implied that at least three missing Skeksis (of five) are being recalled to the castle, among them skekUng, who will become known as the Garthim-Master, and eventually succeed skekSo as Emperor.
  • Hypocrite: Skeksis are basically the embodiement of hypocrisy. skekSo accuses Aughra of double-crossing them when it appears the crystal can't take her essence as per their bargain but he himself ordered skekVar the kill the gelfling after freeing them despite their safety also being part of the deal. Later on, skekTek calls himself the single most abused creature on Thra...while simultaneously abusing his slaves and performing horrific experiments on various wildlife of Thra.
  • Identical Grandson: Upon waking, Aughra remarks to her assistant that he has aged since she last saw him, only to be shocked when informed that the Podling she remembers is in fact his grandfather. This serves to illustrate just how long she has been sleeping for.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Also a Mythology Gag. Each episode's title is named after a quote from the 1982 film.
  • Immortality Immorality: Living for nearly one thousand Trinenote  has really done a number on the Skeksis' morality. They weren't so awful in their early days if Aughra is to be believed, but now they see themselves as superior to all living things of Thra because they presume to live forever while everything else ages and dies. The Skeksis' own slow but inescapable aging and decay has made them panic to the point where there is nothing else they will not destroy to gain more life. Their draining of the Dark Crystal to stay alive has corrupted it, and by extent, all of Thra; after it stops working properly, they begin draining the essence of innocent Gelfling to unnaturally extend their lifespan, which is only hastening the corruption of Thra and themselves too.
  • Incoming Ham: In extremely hammy Heretic's first lines are demands that his visitors gaze and comment upon his splendor.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The logo has the late Jim Henson's name included.
  • Internal Retcon: The opening narration states the Skeksis gave Aughra the orrery. According to skekGra the Conqueror/Heretic and urGoh the Wanderer, it was the urSkeks that gave her the orrery. From a certain point of view, both are correct since Skeksis were originally urSkeks. The urSkeks gifting the orrery does fall in line, however, with the prequel comics. Most likely, since these events occurred nearly 1,000 trine (years) ago, the actual events were forgotten or changed, to suit the Skeksis needs.
  • Internal Reveal: While mostly common knowledge to the audience, skekGra and urGoh reveal their origins as urSkeks and aliens to Rian, Brea, Deet and Hup. Before this, none of the Gelflings or Podlings knew the truth of the Skeksis and Mystics.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: The Skekskis typically refer to Gelflings as "it."
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Dual Glaive, which can enable communication across the planet and drain essence just as the Crystal does. This is because the sword actually houses the Crystal's missing shard!
  • Interrupted Bath: Aughra barges in on the Skeksis' spa time; the Emperor and Ritual-Master in a state of undress, and the Scroll-Keeper is literally in a bath. While the others don't seem fazed, the Scroll-Keeper is absolutely mortified - justifiably so, since Aughra literally pulls out her eye and sticks it in the bath to stare at his privates.
  • Karma Houdini: We know that most of the Skeksis are Saved by Canon, so the villainous acts that most of them commit will not get significant comeuppance.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: In spades with the Skeksis, who treat skekTek the Scientist like trash despite the fact that it's only because of his work that they can even live at that point.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Heretic and the Wanderer state with relish that they will tell the story of the Crystal through that most exalted of art forms... puppetry. This is met with a dubious reaction from their audience.
  • MacGuffin: The Dual Glaive is this for the last part of season 1. And then it's subverted because it's not the Glaive itself that's important. It's the missing shard of the Crystal that's embedded in the pommel.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: After getting blasted by Deet's Darkening bolt, the Collector looks at herself and said "That wasn't so bad". Moments later, her pustules explodes and then the rest of her goes off.
  • Matryoshka Object: The missing Shard of the Crystal is embedded in the Dual Glaive's pommel. And one half of the Dual Glaive is hidden in Maudra Argot's cane.
  • Military Coup: The Palace guards stage one against the Skeksis when they find out what the Skeksis are up to. It fails badly.
  • Mortality Phobia: The prime motivation for all the Skeksis do. They want to cheat death because unlike the natives of Thra, they do not go back to the lifeforce of Thra when they die.
    The Chamberlain: Death is unnatural. Death is cruel joke! Death mocks life, mocks Skeksis! But no more. Skeksis conquer death! And you Gelfling would do same in Skeksis' place.
    • What's more, the Emperor himself fears what may be waiting for them if there is any sort of Afterlife for the Skeksis. In particular, he is terrified that he'll be forced to feel guilt and remorse for his actions, like he could before he was divided.
  • Muppet: The characters are rendered by puppetry or animatronics just like those of the original film were, in order to retain as much continuity and faithfulness to Jim Henson's original work and techniques as possible.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Each episode's title is named after a quote from the 1982 film ("End. Begin. All the Same."; "Nothing Is Simple Anymore"; "What Was Sundered and Undone"; "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire"; "She Knows All the Secrets"; "By Gelfling Hand..."; "Time to Make... My Move"; "Prophets Don't Know Everything"; "The Crystal Calls"; "A Single Piece Was Lost").
    • Episode 9 has the Scientist say "Another world. Another time" - the same words that opened the original film.
    • In Episode 8, Aughra says "It's time to make my move" - also the same line spoken by the Chamberlain in the original film, when trying to become emperor. Except here, Aughra's move ultimately succeeded.
    • After Maudra Fara challenges Seladon to Trail by Air she mentions the meeting place to be "Raunip's Pass". In the "Creation Myths" comic series, Raunip is Aughra's son. While he has not made a physical appearance, this implies he did exist in some capacity.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Both skekGra the Conqueror/Heretic and his counterpart urGoh the Wanderer actively seek and work to restore themselves to their urSkeks form, describing the separation as torment, in contrast to the rest of the Skeksis (who actively oppose unity) and urRu/Mystics (who are intent on simply letting it occur on its own).
  • Narrator: Sigourney Weaver provided the opening narration. She's credited as "The Myth Speaker".
  • Nasal Trauma:
    • The Skeksis Emperor always wears a silver beak-cover, even while at the spa. As it turns out, this is because his attempts to harness the Darkening have begun to corrupt his body: under the covering, his nostrils have decayed, leaving a huge rotten pit in his beak.
    • In keeping with his nature as the Butt-Monkey of the Skeksis, the Scientist is smacked in the beak with a scepter after giving the Emperor news he doesn't want to hear.
  • Neck Lift: Hup leaps in to protect Deet from skekMal the Hunter, who lifts him easily with one hand before hurling him across the room.
  • Never My Fault: For a large part of the series Seladon blames anybody who disagrees with her for bad things happening, even when those consequences are the direct result of her own decisions.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: With skekVar the General killing All-Maudra Mayrin in cold blood, not only did he create a situation where some of the Maudra refuse to acknowledge Mayrin's eldest daughter, and blindly loyal Skeksis servant, Seladon as the next All-Maudra, but also affirming to many that the Skeksis no longer have the best interests of the Gelflings at heart, turning what was once a minor bit of unrest into an all-out insurrection.
  • No Immortal Inertia: As established in the original film, this is the fate of a slain Skeksis or urRu. The former gruesomely implode into dust while the latter fare more pleasantly by dissipating into motes of light. The Skeksis, whom it is implied have never seen one of their own kind die before, are initially shocked to see this happen and savvy viewers will note the lack of this to indicate that the Hunter and the Archer are Not Quite Dead.
  • Not Worth Killing: When Hup attacks skekMal to protect his friends the Hunter is momentarily taken aback, but then just tosses him aside.
    skekMal: Cute.
  • One Degree of Separation: For the first half of the series. Brea is directed by the librarian to Elder Cadia whose assistant Onicka knows her sister Tavra. Tavra later meets Naia whose twin brother Gurjin is best friends with Rian who met Deet at Stonewood who then meets Tavra's older sister Seladon at Ha'rar.
  • One-Man Army: Each of the Skeksis nearly qualifies, and is exemplified by the Hunter. Each Skeksis is significantly larger and stronger than the average Gelfling, and as seen in the final episode, with the right equipment, one Skeksis can easily take down several Gelfling. The Scroll-Keeper, one of the least physically strong Skeksis, easily took down Maudra Fara. Only overwhelming them can truly bring them down.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: During the Wanderer and the Heretic's combination opera/puppet show, the heroes are very annoyed at having to sit through the entire performance just so they can learn how to stop the Skeksis (they groan, have despaired expressions, and some even fall asleep), with the exception of Deet, who's fascinated by everything aboveground and applauds at the end of the show.
  • Origins Episode: The last episode of Season 1 details the creation of the Garthim by the Scientist.
  • Obviously Evil: Lampshaded in-universe by one of the Skeksis themselves.
    Brea: You're all monsters!
    The Scroll-Keeper: (incredulous) Have you only just figured that out? Perhaps you are not so clever after all.
  • Pet the Dog: After the Emperor relents from throttling one of skekTek's caged animals, the Scientist goes out of his way to comfort the creature.
  • Predation Is Natural: How the Chamberlain sees the draining of Gelfling essence. Rian calls what they're doing evil and unnatural, while skekSil points out that it's no different than predators killing prey to survive and that the Gelflings would do the exact same thing if their positions were reversed.
  • The Proud Elite: The Skeksis behave this way towards the Gelfling, in the beginning of the series, having not yet revealed themselves as the Decadent Court that they truly are. They generally treat the Gelfling with mild disdain which hides a darker intent which doesn't truly surface until halfway through the first season.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Arathim are a race of spider-like cretures that form a hive mind. They come in two sizes, giant spider and tiny vermin. The latter is capable of latching onto a person and taking control of their body.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Darkening. Too bad it also corrupts and destroys everything it touches.
    The General: It's... purple.
    The Emperor: It is power! Pure, raw.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • skekNa the Slave-Master, skekShod the Treasurer, and skekUng the (future) Garthim-Master are all absent from the castle for unknown reasons. The other Skeksis briefly discuss summoning skekNa and skekUng back after skekMal is presumed dead, though skekShod the Treasurer is oddly left out of that mention, while two other Skeksis from the Expanded Universe (skekLi the Satirist and skekSa the Mariner) get mentioned in the same dialogue.
    • All the Mystics from the film are in hiding, though we do get two new ones.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves:
    • One Gelfling guard double-crosses the resistance and informs the Skeksis of the planned rebellion at the castle, leading to its downfall. The Scientist drains him of his essence anyway, telling him, "Then it's only fitting you meet the same fate as your fellow guards!"
    • Seladon — who betrays her people, and more significantly her mother and Brea, by remaining loyal to the Skeksis which directly leads to her mother's death — nearly suffers the same fate. She only escapes because Aughra sacrifices herself to convince the Emperor to release all of the Gelflings in exchange for her essence.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: The Skeksis believe that they have the inherent right to drain and feed on the other races as they are the greater beings. Some even compare the Gelflings to livestock for them.
    Rian: We're not your pets.
    The Chamberlain: False. You live only a few trine. Skeksis are immortal. We are to you as you are to crawlies. The choice is pets or enemies. Choose wisely.
  • Saved by Canon: Aughra and any of the Skeksis featured in the original movie are guaranteed to survive the events of this series.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After enduring too much abuse and yelling from skekTek, the Podling butlers and minstrels finally decide they've had enough and run away when the Hunter starts waking up.
  • Secret Test of Character: Brea initially thinks the puzzle under her mother’s throne is simply to rank the various clans from best to worst, and is baffled when no order she tries seems to work. She finally realizes the lesson is that there is no ranking of them, and all the clans are equally important, at which the puzzle is solved.
  • Sequel Hook: Season 1 ends with a few scenes setting up a possible second season, including the appearance of the first Garthim and Deet becoming consumed by the Darkening.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Skeksis are fond of using big, grandiose words. It then gets humorously subverted when skekAyuk the Gourmand doesn't know what an "ablution" is.
  • Shout-Out: The Arathim, when not speaking through Gelfling puppets, arrange their bodies into a face to speak, just as the Helping Hands did in the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth.
  • Show Within a Show: In episode 7, skekGra and urGoh perform... a puppet show.
  • Smug Snake: The Chamberlain is a schemer whose beak features an upward tilt at the edges, making him look like he's perpetually smiling. This is in contrast to most of the other Skeksis, who look like they're always sneering.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: The Chamberlain speaks in a broken, clipped manner, often dropping minor words from his speech. This is a lingering effect of the first film's initial plan to give the Skeksis a Conlang. Most of the Chamberlain's dialogue in the film was supposed to be delivered in broken Gelfling to Jen and Kira because he wasn't fluent in their language. While the Skeksis Conlang was dropped, the Chamberlain's broken speech in his scenes with the Gelflings remained without explanation. Even though he speaks more normally to other Skeksis in the film, the series uses his broken speech in all situations.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Vapra princesses, to the point the Skeksis can't tell them apart. Then again, they might be talking about Gelfling in general.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • The Archer leaps to his death to both end the Hunter's rampage once and for all and to allow Aughra to come back to life.
    • Ordon attempts this to stop the Hunter, but unfortunately fails.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Rian and Ordon start off dropping some Casual Danger Dialogue during their fight with the Hunter. It ends with Ordon dead, and Rian yelling incoherently in fear as he's hauled away.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • After learning the truth about the Skeksis, Mayrin somehow thinks it's a good idea to personally confront them and announce she'll be leading a rebellion against them, with no apparent plan if they do anything besides just letting her go. This goes exactly as well as you'd think.
    • The combined Gelfling and Arathim army has the Skeksis dead to rights and surrounded. Then they just let them go, even though they could easily have ended the war on the spot (or at least made the war a lot easier to win). This also goes exactly as well as you'd think. Granted, the Gelfling had no idea about the Garthim at the time...
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Hup has air sickness and throws up after the flight over the Crystal Desert. We don't see anything, but we hear everything.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Seladon wants nothing more than to receive the kind of affection that her mother the All-Maudra doles out upon her sisters. She is so starved for her mother's affection that the Skeksis slaying her mother right in front of her only encourages her to turn on her family.
  • Wham Episode: The season finale has the Chamberlain brutally finishing off skekVar, the current General, and thus unknowingly paving the way for skekUng the Garthim-Master (who was mentioned to be missing in the previous episode).
  • Wham Shot:
    • Seeing a Skeksis call out to his companion, his companion being a Mystic, came out as a surprise to a lot of people, especially since Skeksis wouldn't be caught dead coexisting with their urRu counterparts.
    • Following the Second Battle of Stone-In-The-Wood, Brea discovers the Crystal Shard embedded in the hilt of the destroyed Dual Glaive.
    • The final scene of the season finale is that of the first Garthim. Anyone who's seen the movie knows that these are the creatures the Skeksis use to exterminate the Gelflings.
  • Worldbuilding: The series offers a good look at the world of Thra, which was populated by Gelflings before the Skeksis took over, expanding it in a manner the 1982 film couldn't due to the Gelflings being nearly extinct by then.
    • The series reveals that Gelflings were a diverse people, with seven different clans living in very different worlds, and each having a very distinct aesthetic. While we see familiar Gelfling types to Jen and Kira, we’re treated to wholly new ones, such as the dark-skinned, desert-dwelling Dousan.
    • The geography of Thra is greatly expanded, exploring the various locales of Thra not seen in the film, such as the cave dwelling of Domrak and the Crystal Desert.
    • The wildlife of Thra is shown to be much more diverse, and we see other beasts of burden used by the Gelflings and Skeksis.
    • Two new sentient races are introduced: the Gruenaks, an industrious and technologically-savvy race nearly exterminated by the Skeksis, and the Arathim, spider-like creatures with a hive mind that can control Gelfling bodies.
    • The series reveals the origin of the Garthim.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Rian first encounters Naia, Kylan and Tavra in a Podling tavern and after he shows them what the Skeksis have done through dreamfasting, they begin their split mission of warning Ha'rar and rescuing Gurjin.
  • You Have Failed Me: After skekTek is blamed for letting Rian escape with Mira's essence, he has his eye eaten out by a "peeper beetle" on skekSo's orders.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Inverted with the Skeksis attitude towards the Gelflings. Originally the Skeksis were content to have the Gelflings around as servants and guards and to accept their offerings of tribute, because they presented no threat and the Skeksis were confident in their primacy and presumed immortality. But then the day came for the Skeksis when the Crystal would no longer sustain their lives, and then they discovered that the Gelflings had a life essence that could be drained and consumed as a replacement.


Video Example(s):


"Why Should I Care?!"

James Sterling asks this question in regards to Outriders when realizing that Square-Enix is just cancelling games left and right, even comparing them to Netflix and their handling of shows (using the Dark Crystal's sequel show as an example).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFireflyEffect

Media sources: