Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Has Been Canceled by Netflix

We wish you well, dear puppets.
Photo: Netflix

The story of Thra on Netflix is over. io9 has exclusively confirmed the streaming service has chosen not to renew The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, meaning the series has come to an end after only one season.

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Over a year after the series first debuted on the streaming service, the Jim Henson Company CEO and executive producer Lisa Henson and Netflix shared with io9 that there will not be another season of Age of Resistance, the groundbreaking series based on Jim Henson’s fantasy film. In a statement, Henson thanked fans for their support and said they’re looking for other ways to continue the story.

“We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. We know fans are eager to learn how this chapter of The Dark Crystal saga concludes and we’ll look for ways to tell that story in the future. Our company has a legacy of creating rich and complex worlds that require technical innovation, artistic excellence, and masterful storytelling. Our history also includes productions that are enduring, often finding and growing their audience over time and proving again and again that fantasy and science fiction genres reflect eternal messages and truths that are always relevant. We are so grateful to Netflix for trusting us to realize this ambitious series; we are deeply proud of our work on Age of Resistance, and the acclaim it has received from fans, critics and our peers, most recently receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program.”

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Netflix also released a statement to io9, congratulating the series on its Emmy win and thanking the folks behind the scenes for creating the show:

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“We are grateful to the master artists at the Jim Henson Company for bringing The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to life for fans around the world. We’re thankful to the executive producers Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford, and Louis Leterrier, who also directed all episodes, as well as the writers, cast and crew for their outstanding work and thrilled they were recognized with the Emmy this weekend.”

The Dark Crystal: Age of Experience debuted on Netflix in August 2019. Directed by Louis Leterrier, the series boasted a star-studded cast and industry-changing puppetry technology—as showcased in Netflix’s behind-the-scenes documentary, The Crystal Calls. The first season ended on a cliffhanger, with the crystal shard being discovered and the clans of Thra finally uniting against the Skeksis. The showrunners previously told io9 they pitched the entire story to Netflix and know how they want it to end, but 13 months later the show’s future was still up in the air.

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Netflix is no stranger to canceling shows, but the network is normally pretty quick to let us know whether or not a series has a future on its platform. While looking at 12 sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comic book series that Netflix declined to renew over the past two years, I found that, on average, they were canceled within one to six months of their final season’s debut. Some of them, like Jessica Jones and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, were told they were canceled before their final seasons aired. The longest delay was Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was canceled just over one year after “The Gauntlet” episodes debuted.

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It’s unclear why exactly the series wasn’t renewed, but some have speculated on the delay and related issues. Reported behind-the-scenes drama indicates that the series was considered a miss for the streaming platform, with a source telling the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that Age of Resistance’s failure was one of the reasons Netflix recently pushed out longtime executive Cindy Holland, who helped bring the series to life. The series was referred to as an “expensive disappointment,” per the unnamed source. We asked Henson and Netflix for comment on these claims, but they did not issue a response.

While speaking to executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach earlier this year about Cowboy Bebop, we also discussed Age of Resistance. He noted how the show was not only expensive to make, it boasted the longest shoot length in Netflix history. He told us, “This is not a show where you have a franchise that you can say, ‘Okay, we’ll hire a bunch of new writers to look at the first season.’ This is a dynastic labor of artisanal love. To get it right, you need everybody. You need the Hensons, you need the Frouds. You need a certain amount of commitment financially and in terms of time. And it’s hard to get right. Out of everything that I’ve worked on, this would be probably the hardest one to get right. And the conditions have to come together for it to be exactly what it needs to be.”

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To that end, some of the key team members behind Age of Resistance have already moved onto other Netflix projects like director Louis Letterier who is in line to direct Bright 2, the sequel to the modern fantasy film written by accused sexual predator Max Landis. Meanwhile, Lisa Henson is keeping busy with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio adaptation, and Grillo-Marxuach is working as a writer on Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop.

This year’s Emmys weren’t a slam dunk for nerdy television shows—with the exception of HBO’s Watchmen (which made comic book history by winning Best Limited Series), The Mandalorian, Rick and Morty—but the critically acclaimed prequel to Jim Henson’s fantasy epic did, as Henson’s statement noted, win a Creative Arts Emmy for Best Children’s Program.

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The first and only season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is currently on Netflix. There are also several books and graphic novels that have come out that expand the world of Thra, however, none of them have told the still-unfinished story of Age of Resistance yet.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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