This article contains spoilers for the ending of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
For those who have watched all ten episodes of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, it’s clear that the unresolved ending indicates that Netflix and The Jim Henson Company are counting on being able to further explore the confrontation between the gelfling and the Skeksis in season 2. After an initial battle that resulted in the retreat of the Lords of the Crystal, the gelfling rightfully celebrated, but the seven clans are obviously far from secure in their momentary victory. Much of what we saw in the final moments leaves room for plenty of speculation, but there are a few things, especially hints from the original 1982 movie, that give us an idea of what might be at play moving forward.
Now wait a minute, you might say; do we really need to consider the movie in all this? After all, the General, who became the emperor in that version of the story, is dead at the Chamberlain’s hand in this prequel. Wouldn’t that imply that we’re in a completely self-contained version of this legend? Even in Den of Geek’s own interview with the creators of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Jeffrey Addiss said, “Thra is a big world, and there’s a lot of space for hope in that world… maybe it’s not quite the ending that you think it is.” However, there still are valuable lessons to learn even if the worlds don’t line up.
Much of the insight, unsurprisingly, comes from Mother Aughra, both in the series and in the film. Back in 1982 (or a thousand years in the future, depending on how you look at it), when Aughra told the gelfling hero Jen about the Great Conjunction when the three suns of Thra would align, she called it the end of the world, but then added, “Or the beginning. End, begin. All the same. Big change. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.” And in the series, she tells the victorious gelfling, “The song [of Thra] has changed; it sounds like hope.” Could we be looking at cycles that repeat, sometimes with positive or negative results? Perhaps the future in which Jen and Kira are the last remaining gelfling doesn’t have to happen this time around!
That being said, there are a couple of clear nods to the film that must be examined, and the first is the crystal shard, a missing piece of the Crystal of Truth that is central to the plot of the movie and which appears in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance as a part of the Dual Glaive’s hilt. When Rian impaled the General, it appeared as though the essence which had strengthened the Skeksis Lord drained out of him into the shard, almost as though Thra was reclaiming just that amount of its lost balance. And regardless of whether or not the sword is reforged, we know that the hilt’s jewel will be the instrument of ending Skeksis rule because of its role in the film. How it will be used in a potential second season of the prequel remains to be seen.
The other specific movie reference was the creation of the Garthim, and the decision to use the Arathim carapaces as bodies for the crab-like creatures that appeared in the film was brilliant. Although not much is known about the poor Gruenaks that lent their technical expertise to the Scientist against their will, the fact that their connective tissue was a key ingredient in animating the supremely creepy warriors was an interesting touch. Now even though the other clans have shown their support for a resistance against the Lords of the Crystal, the Skeksis will have their own army that will up the stakes if a second season includes a larger scale war.
The link between the Mystics and the Skeksis was also reasserted in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The interesting relationship between UrGoh and the Heretic brings home the fact that these are two parts of the same whole, and the life of one is tied to the existence of the other. But the Archer and the Hunter as adversaries is even more interesting. How, for example did Aughra know that her essence would live on after she was drained and that the Archer would sacrifice himself to eliminate his other half, thus freeing Aughra in the process? Whatever the case may be, Aughra’s resurrection solidified her almost religious Mother Nature (with a touch of Gandalf) mystique.
But by far the most portentous actions come from Deet, who has been imbued with the power of the Sanctuary Tree to take upon herself the Darkening that has corrupted others. Let’s be honest; she won the battle against the Skeksis single-handedly with her ability to counter the power of the Emperor’s staff even before the Dousans, Sifans, and other reinforcements even got to fight. Her visions gave us glimpses of Jen returning the shard as in the original movie as well as the appearance of the Garthim, but her silent retreat from the celebrations seems to indicate she must leave Rian and the others behind to protect them from what she’s becoming.
Perhaps a small glimmer of hope comes from Hup’s discovery of the rune that animates Brea’s stony protector, Lore, who seems destined to make a big comeback in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance season 2, and of course, there’s still plenty of story to tell in the lives of all three protagonists. The clans have come together, and it’s possible they’re not as doomed as viewers of the 1982 film might believe. The gelfling have the shard now, and if Jen could heal the Dark Crystal with only Kira’s (and Fizzgig’s) help in the movie, surely our newly strengthened company can do the same in this alternate version of events. Here’s hoping a renewal will bring further answers to the finale’s cliffhanger questions.