‘The Dark Crystal’ Documentarian on Getting Unprecedented Access to the Netflix Series

     September 4, 2019

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How exactly does something as monumental as Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance come together? Well you could spend months and years following the production team with high-end cameras, gathering hundreds of hours of footage and interviews, and then edit it all down until you have the best of the best distilled into a deep dive into all things Thra. Or you could watch the new nearly 90-minute documentary, The Crystal Calls: Making of ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.’

Filmmaker Randall Lobb, known for nostalgia-focused fare like documentaries on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, brings this new look behind the scenes of the Netflix prequel series to viewers around the world. We were lucky enough to get to chat with him about all things The Dark Crystal and how his documentary team found themselves with unfettered access to the amazing pro-puppet project. The fruits of their labor are streaming now, but for aspiring documentary filmmakers and other creatives out there, hearing how Lobb’s productions come together is a worthwhile lesson in perseverance and following your fandom flag, wherever it may take you.

If you’d like to watch The Dark Crystal, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and/or The Crystal Calls: Making ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’, be sure to click the relevant links.

And for more on all things Dark Crystal, check out our own write-ups below:

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Image via Netflix

Did the He-Man documentary lead to this behind-the-scenes project for The Dark Crystal, or if not, how did the opportunity come about?

Randall Lobb: Do you have a mole on the inside? I would speculate that the He-Man documentary does a pretty good job of representing Definitive Film’s approach to pop culture, so when I started bugging people at Netflix about transposing those ideas to another IP, they were curious enough to listen because, of course, they love pop culture, too. Netflix is filled with people who love pop culture just like us. They’re making decisions based on passion, curatorship, creativity and instinct (not just data), so I think they recognized those attributes in our work. I think that’s what allowed them–and The Henson Company–to invite us in and give us access to what turned out to be a mind-boggling production.

What is your normal approach in developing a documentary and how did that change for The Crystal Calls?

Lobb: One of the most difficult aspects of making the documentaries we do is gaining access – to anything, really. On the He-Man doc, I was lucky enough to start up a friendship with Adam F. Goldberg, who made it possible for us to shoot with Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella. On The Crystal Calls, we were finally able to show what would happen if you were able to get on the inside – if you were welcomed. It made an enormous difference. Director Louis Leterrier wasn’t trying to keep us away, he invited Isaac Elliott-Fisher to stand beside him and shoot anything. From Lisa Henson and Cindy Holland to the model makers, painters and puppeteers, everybody made it easy for us to shoot the best material possible, sat down for us and made us welcome. You can’t imagine how much better the film is because of that cooperation and care.

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