Why Acclaimed Indie Director Shane Abbess Quit Dark Crystal 2

Illustration for article titled Why Acclaimed Indie Director Shane Abbess Quit iDark Crystal 2/i

Shane Abbess, one of three directors attached to Power of the Dark Crystal — now on indefinite hiatus — has finally explained why he left. And it doesn’t sound pretty.


Genndy Tartakovsky was rumored to be the director of David Odell and Annette Duffy’s script. Then the studio announced that the Daybreakers team, the Spierig brothers, would be taking over. And at some point, Abbess was also involved to direct.

Here’s the synopsis from back in 2006:

The “Power” script continues the tale of elfin heroes Jen and Kira, last seen returning the shard to the evil crystal and seemingly abolishing the vulture-like Skeksis from their land. Set many years after the first flick, “Power” casts Jen and Kira as king and queen, now overseeing a kingdom whose peace is disturbed by a visit from the underground-dwelling U-mun people. After the Gelflings refuse their request for a shard of crystal that could preserve the U-mun race, a desperate visitor takes it anyway, threatening their world with another thousand years of chaos.


With a script from Odell, who wrote the original, and concept art from Dark Crystal designer Brian Froud, all seemed to be on track and in-keeping with the spirit of Jim Henson’s film. But, in an interview about his new film Infini, Abess told The Guardian that this wasn’t the case at all:

When I quit The Dark Crystal it was because I’d fallen in love with Jim’s handwritten notes on what his sequel idea was. All I wanted to do, for the fans and for myself, was shoot his version of the film. But nobody gave a shit about what Jim Henson wanted.

If he’s right, it may be best that the whole thing’s gone.

Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.


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I’ve got to admit something - I just don’t understand why people love the Dark Crystal.

Sure, it’s a lovely looking film, but the story is simply awful. It never had any of the warmth and humor other Henson creations had. We tend to disparage modern directors who use CGI to cover up for lackluster plots, but somehow older films who value looks over substance (this, Tron, Clash of the Titans) get an iconic status. I just don’t get it.