Netflix’s upcoming The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a TV series based upon Jim Henson’s 1982 movie, will soon stream to the (hopeful) delight of fantasy epic fans. The visuals are breathtaking, the story is incredibly complex with warring species and power struggles, and the show might fill a good chunk of the gap for Game of Thrones fans who seek a new obsession. To provide even more of a draw, the show filled itself with incredible voice talent to help bring the cast of painstakingly-crafted puppets to life. Jason Isaacs, who has played more than several antagonists (including Harry Potter‘s slippery Lucius Malfoy, and more recently, The OA‘s Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy) over his three-decade career, voices the biggest bad here, The Emperor of the Skeksis.
Isaacs was gracious enough to sit down with us and discuss the lush and layered, dark and dangerous realm of the series. Importantly, he recognizes that the world of Thra is a complicated one, given that there are many species and story threads and agendas to settle. There are also frightening elements as resistance leaders strive to halt a threat known as “The Darkening.” As one might imagine, this doesn’t sound like an easy, breezy watch on its face. However, Isaacs makes the case that The Dark Crystal could actually be a relaxing binge-watch if one settles into the series with the right outlook.
We’re here to talk about The Dark Crystal, but I want to start with your recent tweet about wanting to take home a gruesome Event Horizon prop, and your wife talked some sense into you. What was your logic there?
I just couldn’t understand what anyone was going to do with something that was so completely me down to every single broken vein and nose hair. I was gutted from the neck to the navel, and what possible function could it have in any other story? She was the one who talked me back down to earth and wondered where it would belong in our house. I hadn’t thought much beyond that — I’m a man, I don’t really think much beyond the next 20 seconds.
Yes, some men (and women) do have questionable taste in wall decor.
Well, I didn’t get to take home hardly any of the props from my films. People assume that’s so, but I’ve got virtually nothing. I’ve got my captain’s badge from Star Trek: Discovery, and that’s about it.
If you could take something home from The Dark Crystal home, what would it be?
Oh, I would take home a full-sized Skeksis or The Emperor. Nobody watches something for the craftsmanship, and it’s irrelevant here because it’s the story that sweeps you up, but while you’re watching it, you have a third eye and stand back and just marvel at the incredible craftsmanship on the show and designing every tiny square millimeter of the sets and the costumes and the puppets themselves, which are, no question, still Henson creatures and related to the original ones, but it’s just an example of the very best people working at the top of their game. They’re stunning to see.
Did you get to meet The Emperor puppet early on in your work?
I didn’t, but it was all shot for over a year. For the people who have watched this film, there’s no question that this is a nostalgia trip. This was done on a massive budget with the best setmakers, so it’s hundreds of light years further along in terms of the art of it, but it was already shot, so we were just doing the voices.
Voice acting is mostly done in isolation, but it seems difficult to do that with the Skeksis group. Did you guys come together for any scenes?