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The Dark Crystal Prequel Director Says 'Nobody's Fooled' by CGI Nowadays

Gelfling Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy) in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Gelfling Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy) in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Photo: Netflix

A lot of animation has gone the CGI route—even the Muppets have embraced it with the latest version of Muppet Babies. But Netflix’s Dark Crystal prequel series, Age of Resistance, is relying heavily on the traditional puppetry that made the original such an iconic fantasy film. According to the director, it’s a challenging process, but it’s worth it.


“We are throwing everything at this,” he said.

In an interview with Empire, director Louis Letterier remarked on what Empire called the “hugely ambitious undertaking” of puppetry in Age of Resistance. He said the new show is pushing the art form—which has seen a boon recently thanks to Laika’s films and recent (non-CGI) Muppets films—further than it’s ever been before. He also commented on the nature of CGI. As we know, it’s nearly impossible to trick people into thinking something computer-generated is real, but puppetry is different. It’s not about convincing someone that something is real, it’s about making it feel so realistic that they don’t care.


“Nobody’s fooled by CG any more. We know when something is CG. Puppets, we know someone had to [work them],” he said. “We’re pushing puppeteering beyond anything anyone has done before.”

Letterier also noted that you don’t need to have seen the original Dark Crystal movie to enjoy the show, that it’s “still really exciting.” The 10-episode prequel takes place 1,000 years before the events of the 1982 film, setting up the conflicts that nearly tore Thra apart. It centers around three young Gelflings—Rian (Taron Egerton), Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy)—as they struggle under the rule of the Skeksis and fight for their freedom.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance debuts on Netflix August 30.

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

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Nobody’s fooled by CG any more. We know when something is CG.”

I’m all about using practical props and puppets. But seriously good CGI is fucking mind blowing and very real looking these days. I understand that to be a creator of this series you have to be evangelical about using practical effects.

But in the year 2019 good CG has become indiscernible from reality.