The Crystal of Truth : The Development He ll of the Eagerly Anticipated Sequel to Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal There was that one memory, we all have it, when our imagination exploded into our daily lives. For some of us it happened with the original Star Wars Trilogy (if you're old enough). For others it was The Muppet Movie, or The Great Muppet Caper, or maybe their best outing, The Muppets Take Manhattan. We all have that moment when what we thought possible expanded as we were able to experience the fascinating and magical world of everything Jim Henson. That moment for me was upon first viewing of The Dark Crystal (released 1982) in 1987. When it ended I couldn't believe what I had seen, that that level of beauty, wonder and perfection could be achieved in a film. Released in 1982 The Dark Crystal is one of two of Jim Hensons non-Muppet films (the other being the David Bowie vehicle Labyrinth) which tells the tale of two elven-like characters who must restore a crystal, the core of their world before darkness takes over forever. The Dark Crystal employs all puppets, no humans, playing on elaborate sets, the likes of which we haven't seen done in-camera since. If I could put into words how rabid my love for The Dark Crystal is, I would. I am still not entirely clear why it holds such a firm grasp on my heart and mind. When Jim Henson died in 1990, the film world felt his passing, and more importantly, the Henson brand would NEVER be the same again. Jim Henson was the auteur behind the curtain, the soul of every creature he helped bring to life, every color he helped paint. Clearly he was not able to fully realize his vision without completely collaborating with the likes of Frank Oz (among others) but make no mistake, the films he helmed are purely his making, his dreaming, his magic. The Muppets continued to live on well beyond Jim's passing, but they haven't until recently been living well. Movie after movie kept being made, the story quality would suffer, and the magic that was so great, to be found in Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and the rest of the family would all but fade away the weaker each film became. The Muppets (2011), released through Disney (who now own the characters outright) is an attempt to rekindle the fire of love America and the world had for our favorite, fake, furry friends. Surprisingly it worked, and worked well. The writers of the film, namely Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) some how captured all the right beats, the right lines and the right chemistry that I've only seen Jim Henson do. I was a happy child when I left the theater, my Muppets were back. What brought the Muppets back wasn't a corporation, but a man, Jason Segel, who knew that in order for the Muppets to live on, and live well, and respectfully in the shadow of their creator Jim Henson, some one would have to take his mantle. That's how The Muppets were made. One person, so in love with Henson’s legacy fought to keep its integrity. In May of 2005 a sequel to The Dark Crystal was announced [http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/dark_crystal_sequel/]. From the official synopsis of the film “Set hundreds of years after the events of the first movie when the world has once again fallen into darkness, Power of the Dark Crystal follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet.” Power of the Dark Crystal, taking place years after the events of the first film and featuring yet again, Jen and Kira, the elf-like protagonists (known as Gelflings) of the original as they yet again fight for the future of their world aided by a couple of new characters. Genndy Tartakovsky of Cartoon Networks The Clone Wars would direct [http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1542247/puppet-epic-dark-crystal-gets-second-chance.jhtml], his effects studio would produce, and the film would of course be released under The Jim Henson Studio banner, operated by his children. Fast forward, it's just about 2012, and The Power of the Dark Crystal has yet to be completed. Genndy Tartakovsky left the production [http://io9.com/5530986/daybreakers-directors-helm-the-dark-crystal-sequel-promise-puppets], it was placed on hold as a new director and new financing was sought. Eager fans were left in chronic darkness and radio silence until two years later when The Henson Company returned with an exciting new press release (of which they love releasing), a new director, and a new budget (somewhere around 40 million). At this stage, the reigns of The Power of the Dark Crystal were handed to The Spierig Brothers [http://www.slashfilm.com/spierig-brothers-to-direct-dark-crystal-sequel/] who had found recent success with DayBreakers, an effects heavy vampire film starring Ethan Hawke. Silence. Deafening silence for nearly two more years. No word from The Henson Company, no updates, nada. Fan patience was nearing its end. Finally there were some reports that the Spierig Brothers were working on a new project entitled The Jungle to be filmed in Bolivia. But questions remained. Are they still on The Power of the Dark Crystal? Is the movie finished? Still no word from Henson. More news then came from none other then Brian Froud, the conceptual designer for The Dark Crystal and hired to design the new film. Froud, in a video interview that was posted online mentioned that a new director was being sought for the film. Word quickly spread on fan forums that The Spierigs had left the production, but again, no word if this departure was official. Nothing. It was finally reported, via a small news piece found on The Huffington Post that officially The Power of the Dark Crystal was on hold yet again. This as quoted from Cheryl Henson[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/the-lost-amazings_b_1006072.html]. As of this writing It's been over 6 years since the announcement of The Dark Crystal sequel, and yet, at every turn it's been delayed, rumors of cancellation abound, and The Henson Company remains frustratingly silent believing that non communication is the best solution. What The Power of the Dark Crystal has lacked is it's very own Jason Segel, some one so in love with the legacy and integrity of Jim Henson, and some one in a powerful enough position to produce the film so as to ensure it gets made, and in the spirit only Jim Henson would approve. Instead, a pseudo-studio is trying to make a sequel to a film that was formed out of the purest of love and the deepest imaginations only found in the mind of Jim Henson now passed. The Henson Company is not even a shadow of its former self. It operates out of a sense of legacy, but not integrity. Jim Henson was the man behind it all. He didn't farm out his ideas for others to make, he MADE THEM happen through the toil only an artist and auteur knows. I write this piece not to dampen our spirits, but to awaken them. Power of the Dark Crystal won't happen, and can't happen until some one comes to the table with as much drive and ambition as Jim Henson, and yet respectful enough of his legacy to know how the film should be made. No offense to The Jim Henson Company but of late, they've lost their vision. Jim's children, however adept at running a company on a business end cannot seem to sustain it on a creative end. While Jim was alive we had so much. When he passed away, his creativity, and passion died with him. None of his children really took the helm. Brian Henson could've really stormed the gate, but he didn't. They represent their fathers legacy, and that's all they do. Until that changes, the Henson name will only conjure memories of the past, not the present. If Jim Henson reincarnated, only for an instant, it was in the body of Jason Segel who just got it. We need a man and his muppet, a boy and his puppet.