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Henson entertains fans at Comic-Con

The Jim Henson Company gave updates on The Power of The Dark Crystal, the new talk show "Late Night Buffet", the Fraggle Rock film and more.

Courtesy of ComingSoon.net
July 22, 2006

ComingSoon.net attended the Jim Henson presentation Friday evening at the San Diego Comic-Con. On the panel were Lisa Henson, Michael Polis, fairy expert and The Dark Crystal designer Brian Froud, sequel director Genndy Tartakofsky, and visual effects whiz Scott Stewart. (Posters of the upcoming "Return to the Labryinth" manga from TokyoPop were handed out to attendees.)

First up in their presentation was a tribute to Jim Henson. This was followed by the unveiling of a new children's line of clothes called "Jim Henson Designs". The clothes feature cute, imaginative, and cool doodles made by Jim Henson as prints on t-shirts, baby clothes, jeans, and more. They looked very cool.

Next up they showed some new web exclusives that can be bought at Henson.com. They include shirts from Labyrinth, t-shirts with the Power of the Dark Crystal logos, and more. Also revealed was that the second season of "Fraggle Rock" was coming to DVD. A 3-pack of Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Mirrormask is also coming. Continuing the merchandising blitz, busts and statues from "Dark Crystal" and Labyrinth were shown. The goblin statues were impressive. Mention of "The Return to Labyrinth" manga was also made. It comes out next week and includes a preview of "Legends of Dark Crystal," another manga from TokyoPop that comes in Spring 2007.

Finally, the presentation turned to discussion of the Dark Crystal sequel - Power of the Dark Crystal. Michael Polis and Lisa Henson described how fans kept asking them for a sequel and that prompted them to ask the script writer if he had any ideas for a sequel. The script writer remembered a conversation he had with Jim Henson where they laid out story ideas. Rather than doing the further adventures of the Gelflings, they wanted to go farther in the world and this film reflects that. Tartakofsky said how they intend to do a mix of puppets and CGI. They intend to use the CG effects to remove puppeteers from the images and free up the puppets to do "real puppet action". All panelists agreed Jim Henson would approve of the use of the technology.

A few concept art pieces were quickly flashed on the screen. The previously seen elderly Kira was shown. They showed a new female creature named "Thurma" who is a fire creature from the underworld. Next up was a male creature from above the earth named Kensho. The two have an adventure under the surface in the "Innerworld". We saw pictures of caverns, crystals, underground lakes, and huge monsters. Not much more was said about the sequel film. A kid asked if the Gelflings would be married and Froud joked that it was possible they had been "living in sin". Tartakofsky also said that he'd love to have Frank Oz involved in some capacity if he could.

The presentation also showed a clip from the upcoming show "Late Night with Augie and Del". It features two middle aged guy puppets on a late night show with guests, skits, a band, sketches, and more. One of the characters seemed to be a combination of John Madden and Rodney Dangerfield. They jokingly promised to talk about "stuff that really matters". No word on where or when this will be seen.

Also shown was an absolutely hilarious adult comedy show called "Jim Henson's Puppet Improv". Think "Who's Line is It Anyway" with puppets. The clip shown displayed the comedy improvisational skills of the Henson puppeteers while catering to the adult crowd as far as content and language. The clip had folks laughing to the point of tears. In one sketch, the director asked the audience for a country - Angola. They then set up a scene where one Columbo-like interrogator was questioning a koala about a crime through an interpreter. When asked for a crime, someone yelled out "robbed a bank". The director said, "More specific?" Someone yelled out, "Sperm bank!" And thus the scene played out. This ain't "The Muppet Show," but it was a riot. Again, no word on where or when this show will appear, but I'll be watching.

Lisa Henson also confirmed that they were in the early stages of doing a Fraggle Rock movie, but it was a long way off. She also said they don't have any plans yet for a Labyrinth sequel - they are focused on "Dark Crystal."

That concluded the Jim Henson panel and it was great to see so much energy and potential still in the company.

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