The structure of the threats that intentionally inform the Star Wars Universe sometimes rest on those smaller that give credence to large ideas. The progression of Kylo Ren is the most pertinent here simply because it informs the psychology of a current villain while the other two tales speak to both the challenge and, at times, weaknesses of those involved in the never-ending proceedings of the struggle for power.
Star Wars – Age Of Resistance – Kylo Ren The continuing mythology of Kylo Ren is an interesting structure to behold as “Rise Of Skywalker” approaches. The events that make him or continue to make him are structured inside the small details of canon which are reflected in issues like this. While this battle is a small time perspective, it reassures the idea that Kylo is trying to emulate and beat his grandfather’s accomplishments. This also informs his inferiority complex around Luke. A Greek chorus in the visage of an old soldier from the first battle Vader made on this certain planet gives a center of credence but the inference of “Your God is dead” which is envisioned in the final moments is quite telling.
Star Wars: Target Vader #3 In comparative, the texture of “Target Vader” is about finding a weakness in the Dark Lord. A paradoxical progression is that the bounty hunter assigned to try to take Vader down in part cyborg. One gets the feeling that this man must have been deep inside the Empire either with the Emperor or perhaps served on the periphery of Anakin back in the day since he seems to know things about the Empire’s greatest weapon. Physically and especially in the face, Valance, the hunter looks a lot like Bruce Campbell in a grizzled form which is a great piece of casting if it integrates at any point into the Disney+ Universe. There is also the omen of a Tuscan Raider who is part of Valance’s crew. The person underneath the disguise is not a Tuscan but seems to admit he is from Tatooine and has a knowledge of the force which points to a certain person. The key with Valance is drawing Vader into a trap with the knowledge that Vader will always sense a trap.
Jedi Fallen Order Dark Temple #2 The idea of a Jedi Temple left alone without an essence of its original owners seems like an unique travail of the Star Wars Universe. As evidenced in certain stories of “Rebels”, it seems to ingrain itself on various planets that either have a divide or strong connection, of course, to the Force. Cere as a Padewan separated from her master is placed in what seems a prison. But like all students still finding her way, she makes wrong assumptions and makes rash judgements that get her into trouble. But like many heroes, they continue to fight when all hope seems lost. In a planet that seems to be one the Outer Rim it just matters how long it is until help arrives.
By Tim Wassberg
The challenge of creating an updated world of one such as “The Dark Crystal” is a specific challenge. The balance reflects in two aspects: can the puppetry be held up in such a way that it doesn’t take away from the original but also does it take into play the world building and mythology that Jim Henson created so many years ago. Granted nothing can be quite like what was done in 1982 considering the restrictions. But what Louis Letterier and the Jim Henson Workshop have done with “The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance” is quite effective in living up to the original while also taking it much darker which was always underlying beneath the surface in the initial film. Leterrier seemed an odd choice initially after Genndy Tartakovsky, known for “Samurai Jack” and the initial “Clone Wars” shorts left the project seemingly over creative differences. What might be said is that there might have been a structure that Henson had initially left which painted the backstory. It is hard to say.
Nevertheless, the story told over 10 episodes takes into fact many eventual outcomes seen in the movie. But it also reflects an immigration story in reverse that is very prevalent to our times while also being universal and older. Watching this iteration, especially in the plight of The Gelfings, the parallel to Native Americans both in the look and mysticism of the characters becomes much more defined especially with Deet, an exceptionally connected Gelfing from underground. Another clan from what is called The Crystal Desert plays into this myth as well. The key aspect in this series that it shows Thra as bigger than what was imagined (or likely planned). The eventual genocide of the Gelfing as indicated in the movie is a great underlying theme even as battles are fought. Rian, as played by Taron Egerton of “Kingman” and “Rocketman” fame, anchors the cast as the would be hero.
However the grand balance relates in the Skeksis, both in the voices and the abject cruelty that begins to seep in. The most intrinsic simply because he is the most dynamic in terms of chess moves is The Chamberlain, as voiced by Simon Pegg. He is almost the Judas in a way who belies his own loyalty for a texture of power. Pegg gets enough of the voice without overplaying say, the whimpering. The General as always is his adversary for power as voiced by Benedict Wong. The overarching Emperor is voiced by Jason Isaacs and Mark Hamill plays The Scientist. The driving force of essence at a certain point becomes all encompassing. This could be a balance to the progressive nature of the current opiod crisis or simply reflect back the essence of the opium trade in the 1800s. Point being that the story works on many different levels.
Augra is the unifying and yet destructuring force. It is she who is blame but also she who is ultimately a deliverer. It is almost as if she is the ID within everyone. The larger reasoning of who the Skeksis are and why the Mystics function as they do is hinted at but left for later deduction. The politics though especially within the clans of the Gelfling are really what propel the story but it is the ideas influenced through Augra that anchor it. While the aspects of transcendence and new age thinking still play into the actions of the characters, the introduction of The Archer and more specifically The Hunter as well as two other characters co-existing with each other at the end of the world create a different dynamic and add even more to the proceedings.
Ultimately though the elements of the betrayal of trust by the Lords Of Crystal and their ultimate greed is what defines the path. Technically, the show does what is needed to do. Practical effects and puppetry are used heavily with only slight digital enhancements while landscape and certain creature elements that just would not have been possible before without CGI add that degree of scope without forgetting the true nature of Thra. “The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance” is an apt, entertaining and visionary extension of Jim Henson’s universe. Seeing the possibility of it coming back in this way, which would not have happened in the current TV and filmmaking climate without Netflix, shows the importance of certain Ips being given a chance to reach a new generation while still reflecting the old.
By Tim Wassberg