Jim Henson’s iconic 80s anthology series The Storyteller is eyeing a comeback. Fremantle has teamed with The Jim Henson Company and author/TV writer-producer Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Good Omens) to develop a reimagined version of The Storyteller for television.
Inspired by his daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and mythology, Jim Henson created the original version of The Storyteller in 1987 and directed multiple episodes, with Oscar winner Anthony Minghella writing all the episodes. The Emmy and BAFTA-winning live-action TV series featured creatures by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in a re-telling of various European folk tales, with a mysterious elfin storyteller (played by John Hurt). The world of The Storyteller was inhabited by various mystical and magical characters – heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions and human hedgehogs – exploring themes such as fear, desire, death and destiny, and challenging notions about good and evil.
In the new incarnation, written and executive produced by Gaiman, The Storyteller will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore. It will be updated to work “for the binging kind” of viewer of today, Gaiman said.
“Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don’t know.,” he said. “Who was the Storyteller, why was he telling these stories, was he a goblin, what kind of creature? What I’d love to do is an inside story that’s as long as the outside story. We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is, we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know. We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed. If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive.”
Gaiman is well-known for his work in popularizing and reinterpreting folklore and mythology, from the mythological basis of his best-selling novel American Gods to the African folklore of Anansi Boys to authentic collections like his recent Norse Mythology book.
“The Storyteller has always been a special project for me, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company (pictured with her dad, Jim Henson, at her graduation from Harvard University, which she finished as summa cum laude with a degree in ancient Greek and folklore mythology). “Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times. I feel like if Neil were an actor, he’d have to play (the Storyteller) because he embodies what the storyteller is, a skillful wordsmith who can entertain people with the power of the story itself, and not to mention he also memorizes it all in his head.”
Lisa Henson has known about Gaiman’s love of The Storytellersince their first meeting in 1991 when she worked at Warner Bros. Over the years, the two bonded over their deep knowledge of folklore mythology.
“The original Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales,” Gaiman said.
Gaiman and Henson would not say which fairytales they are planning to tackle. “We have our eye on lots of them and one of the things that was brilliant (about The Storyteller) was, they would take little known versions of well-known fairytales because every story comes in various different versions, and I think that’s definitely something that I would love to keep going,” Gaiman said.
Added Henson, “it gives the story the feeling of familiarity, but it’s also very different.” Personal Archive
While Minghella and Hurt have passed away, Gaiman and Henson would love to have some creative auspices from the original series back for the revival.
“We would love to have John Hurt as our Storyteller, but alas, he’s no longer with us. But absolutely the actors from the original Storyteller series, bringing them back would be a marvelous thing to do, and we really did have the cream of the crop,” Gaiman said.
Henson indicated that the producers will be using the same out-of-the-box approach to hiring directors that was used on the original series. She noted the stint on the 80s show of Steve Barron whose background had been primarily in music videos. “He was shooting in a very non-linear way like music videos with impactful imagery as opposed to conventional shooting,” she said. “I think that we’re looking to do the same thing here, work with the directors who can do the most innovative work with puppetry technologies to marry it up in that truly innovative modern way with word crafting.”
Fremantle’s collaboration with Gaiman on The Storyteller grew out of the company’s relationship with the writer-producer who is behind Fremantle’s American Gods, now in post-production on Season 2 for Starz, and had a development deal there.
“There is currently nothing like The Storyteller in the television landscape and the themes these stories will explore are even more critically important today,” said Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment, Fremantle, North America. “It’s a real joy to work with Lisa and The Henson company to bring their esteemed property back to television, and to be yet again partnering with Neil on another project that will further showcase his brilliant narrative power.”
As to what kind of networks and platforms Fremantle plans to target, “what we’re interested in doing is making sure it reaches the broadest audience possible, that’s really the key for us,” Di Loreto said.
While The Storyteller is a 30-year-old series, the current younger generation may be familiar with the franchise via The Storytellergraphic novels The Jim Henson Company has been publishing in partnership with Boom Studios over the past couple of years.
The Storyteller will be produced by Fremantle, part of RTL Group, in association with The Jim Henson Company, with Lisa Henson serving as executive producer and Blanca Lista as co-executive producer. Gaiman will also serve as executive producer. He also executive produces Fremantle’s Gormenghast, an episodic series in the works based on the fantasy book series by Mervyn Peake.
Recently, Kermit the Frog said in an interview that the Muppets have a big surprise in store for 2019. We don’t know what it is yet, but it seems exciting. But what could it be? I’ve been thinking about what all it could be, why I think it couldn’t be certain things, and some really out there possibilities that it’s probably not.
A New Series Considering The Muppets 2015-2016 series was recently canceled, I’d be really surprised if it was a new television series. However, I feel like, if it was a series, it’d have to be a television series to be a real surprise. I’ve seen talk of a potential Muppet series coming to the new Disney streaming site, but I’m honestly not sure if that’s been officially announced, hinted at by those who would know, or just rumored. I don’t think a new web series would be that big a deal, either (unless it’s the remaining unreleased Pigs in Space shorts).
A New Movie This would be a real surprise at the moment. After Muppets Most Wanted underperformed at the box office, it seemed we’d be waiting a while for a new Muppet film (though I’ve seen interviews from people at Disney who refered to the movie’s box office as “fair”, not an exact flop), but I think enough time has passed.
And to think, if it is a new movie, then Matt Vogel’s career as Kermit would parallel Steve Whitmire’s, since Whitmire’s first movie as Kermit came two years after getting the role, and Vogel’s first film as Kermit could be close to that.
More Theme Park Presence Maybe the Muppets will have a bigger presence at Walt Disney World or Disneyland (or one of the international parks). Maybe Muppet Courtyard will be expanded. Maybe there’ll be a new attraction. Maybe there’ll be a new 3D film.
A New Live Stage Show If this “big announcement” came in 2016 or 2017, then a new live stage show would be a big surprise. But we’ve had two major live stage shows with the Muppets in the last two years (and a few similar live performances), so it won’t be that big a deal.
It wouldn’t be that big a deal, that is, unless it was a live tour, bringing the Muppets to several parts of the United States to do the live show, with maybe some differences here and there.
The Long-Awaited Release of The Muppet Show: Season Four on DVD (or other formats) Fans have been waiting since 2008 for season four to come to DVD, it was announced in 2009 for a 2010 release and it continues to be unavailable. While the hardcore fans (those reading websites like ToughPigs, The Muppet Mindset, Muppet Central, and this blog, those who edit Muppet Wiki, those who are tired of “Rainbow Connection”) would likely see an official video release of any pre-2004 (and maybe some post-2004) productions that Disney hasn’t put out on DVD, season four of The Muppet Show (and maybe the 2015 series) is perhaps the one thing that would feel like really big news to the casual fans out there, something that would warrant having Kermit the Frog announce.
Convention Appearances by Muppet Performers In the past year, both Steve Whitmire and Caroll Spinney have been making public appearances at conventions (in fact I got to meet Whitmire recently at Louisville Supercon), but wouldn’t it be an awesome surprise if Disney had some of its current core Muppet performers appearing at conventions to meet fans?
And there’s a number of great things I have thought about that I really seriously doubt it will be, but then again, since I honestly don’t expect any of these, that would make it a BIG surprise:
Frank Oz returning to perform in an upcoming Muppet production Steve Whitmire coming back to perform the Muppets The long-awaited second Muppetfest Disney buying Sesame Street and/or The Jim Henson Company (but I would expect that kind of news to be public by now)
But whatever the big news is, it’ll surely be great news. Then again, if the news isn’t all that great, then it will be a big surprise.
Netflix has unveiled the voice cast and three images for "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance", its forthcoming 10-episode prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 film. Among the major names boarding the high-profile project (which bows in 2019): Star Wars‘ Mark Hamill,
Outlander‘s Caitriona Balfe, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andy Samberg and Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer.
The primary cast, meanwhile, consists of Taron Egerton (Kingsman), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), and Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), as Rian, Brea and Deet, the three Gelfling heroes which we also got a glimpse of today. The rest of the voice cast for "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance"
Gelfling Characters (in addition to Balfe and Domer)
Helena Bonham-Carter, Harris Dickinson, Eddie Izzard, Theo James , Toby Jones, Shazad Latif, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong and Alicia Vikander.
The Skeksis & Mystics (in addition to Hamill and Samberg)
Harvey Fierstein, Ralph Ineson, Jason Isaacs, Keegan-Michael Key, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and Simon Pegg.
Donna Kimball was cast as Aughra
Additional characters will also be voiced by puppeteers from the production, including Alice Dinnean, Louise Gold, Neil Sterenberg and Victor Yerrid.
As previously reported, "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" will take place “many years” before the events of the film. “When three Gelfling discover the horrifying secret behind the Skeksis’ power, they set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save their world.”
Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk) will executive produce and direct.
“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will combine the art of puppetry perfected by The Jim Henson Company, with Louis’ vision, powerful storytelling and a mix of cutting-edge digital imagery and visual effects,” Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix, previously said in a statement. “I can’t wait for families around the world to see how we bring these unique characters to life.”
This week's question once again deals with The Jim Henson Company's "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" airing on Netflix in 2019.
Here is this week's question:
On December 17th, 2018 (the 36th Anniversary of "The Dark Crystal") we were treated to three images of the Gelflings from the upcoming Netflix series, "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance". Question 1: How do you think they look and Question 2: Which one do you like the most?
Let us know what you think. You can find the MuppetsHenson Poll near the TOP of the RIGHT SIDEBAR. Thanks for your participation!
On a scale of 1-5 (5 being most interested) how interested are you in seeing Netflix's upcoming 10 episode series, "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance"? Also, just like in the original film, are you happy that they are using all puppets and no CGI characters?
5 47% (139)
4 3% (8)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (1)
1 0% (0)
YES - very happy they are using ALL puppets 49% (144)
NO - would rather a combination of puppets and CGI 1% (3)
Six years ago, MuppetsHenson.com made its debut online and now, well you’re looking right at it, what do you think? MuppetsHenson is run and managed by Brian Knatchbull, he runs all this on his own, from a fan, for the fans. Brian is a lifelong fan of everything created by Jim Henson, at one point in his life, he was a Muppeteer, who worked alongside Jim Henson and other talented Muppeteers. Thank you Brian, for all the hard work, and time you put into keeping Jim Henson Fans around the world updated on all things Muppets and Henson related. I’ve been a reader since the very beginning, and have been fortunate to have my articles shared through MuppetsHenson, in the course of six years, I’m not even sure how many I’ve written at this point. Thanks Brian, for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Muppets, to such a large community of Muppet Fans, who I otherwise would not have been able to have reached on my own. At the same time, thank you everybody who reads my articles on MuppetsHenson, they are no fun to write, if I didn’t know people would be reading them afterwards.
Throughout its six years online, MuppetsHenson has grown and expanded, all whilst keeping its classic green background. MuppetsHenson can now also be found on Facebook and Twitter, don’t forget to like and follow, for all your Muppet and Henson updates. If you’re reading this, you probably already have, and to that I say, isn’t it cool that Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas and The Bells of Fraggle Rock are both having theatre screenings? What I most enjoy about this site, is the amount of news we get on a weekly basis, if not directly on the site, then through Facebook or Twitter. MuppetsHenson is always there to keep us updated, and when you’re already caught up on all your Muppet news and happenings, then there is a sidebar to keep us busy. My favourite feature on the sidebar is the “Out Now” and “Coming Soon” sections, which quickly highlight, what’s missing from our collections, and what’s to come in the future, I find this very handy, I’m a big Muppet collector.
At the top of the page, you’ll find all the major news, productions and merchandise, all the big stuff is there. MuppetsHenson Polls! The first feature to help keep fans connected, did we enjoy The Happytime Murders? Are we looking forward to the new The Dark Crystal Netflix series? Will we be watching the new Muppet Show on Disney Plus? MuppetsHenson wants to know what you think, how divided or united are the fans amongst these subjects? MuppetsHenson’s radio network, tired of reading, prefer listening, want to hear Podcasts by various, talented individuals, who just like us, happen to be big fans of all things Jim Henson? MuppetsHenson radio is one of the ultimate resources in helping to keep Muppet Fans updated by Muppet Fans. A new chat feature, has recently been added to MuppetsHenson, which allows Muppet Fans from all over the world, to gather and discuss, all things Henson, all in one place. Before you leave MuppetsHenson, don’t forget to visit Jim Henson’s tribute page, read what fans have had to say about Jim Henson, for the last six years, since MuppetsHenson has been up and running.
MuppetsHenson today celebrates its 6th anniversary, an anniversary, which would not be possible, without its founder, Brian Knatchbull, as well as a loyal Muppets and Henson fanbase, who keep on coming back, interested in updates, on all things Jim Henson. Together, a Jim Henson fan website, has lasted six years, hopefully, this means we’ll all keep being connected, for at least another six years, as long as the Muppets have news to report, MuppetsHenson will be there to report it. Happy 6th Anniversary MuppetsHenson!
It’s almost time for Christmas and if you’re a Muppet Fan, who has been on a tight budget all year long, like I have, now is the perfect time to play catch up with your Muppet Collection. This past year has been very interesting for me and my collection, we started the year off great, most of my collection were stored in containers and at least 5% was still out on display, but at least we were still under the same roof together. As the year progressed, me and my collection grew further apart, no longer was I able to care for them, no longer did I have room for my collection. I was forced to move 22 containers into my sister’s house, luckily for me, unluckily for her, she has a spare room. At the same time, money has been tight this year, when it came time to decide between a beautiful Skeksis bust or electricity for the month, I chose electricity, I still regret my decision. Now I find myself in the possession of about 2% of my collection, and at the end of the year, that 2% is also making its way into a container at my sister’s house. At the end of it all, I’ll keep one item with me, I myself am intrigued to find out which item that will be. For now, let’s put sadness behind us and focus on the joy of Christmas, let’s see what we can add to our lists for Santa this year!
To start our Christmas list, let’s focus on The Jim Henson Company and all the wonderful merchandise they’ve put out for fans all year long. The first I’d like to mention is Chronicle Collectables, they’ve created busts, statues and replicated relics from the Worlds of both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t picked up any of these items, and by the looks of it, they’ve all gone fast, I’ll have to hunt on eBay in a few months, I need that Skeksis bust. Archaia comics continues to release great graphic novels based on The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Storyteller and Fraggle Rock. Speaking of Fraggles, the complete series finally made its way onto Blu- ray, I’m so excited to watch this, I own it, I just can’t watch it. Be careful when purchasing this item if you’re not from America, it might not work on your Blu-ray player. I thought I owned a multiregional Blu-ray player; all my Muppet movies are Region A and my The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth Blu-rays are both Region B. I can watch any of these movies on my Blu-ray player, but I can’t watch this one. I’ve asked this question everywhere, from what I’ve gathered, Blu-ray’s are normally multiregional but on rare occasions, they’ll only play for one specific region, unfortunately for international Muppet Fans, Fraggle Rock is one of these select few. From what I gather, this means I probably have a Region B Blu-ray player, since I only buy Muppets/Henson Blu-rays, I’ve never realized until now. All my life Fraggle Rock makes it hard for me to watch it, if not in my early days when they aired the episodes right when I started school, then into adulthood, with adult reasons, such as regional coding! I’ll wait and see if it’s eventually released internationally, and I’ll pick up another copy, if not I guess I’m buying an American Blu-ray player, damn Fraggles!
The perfect version of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas was released last year and this year, it’s making its way onto Blu-ray. This news got me completely by surprise, I wasn’t expecting this, it’ll be out on December 18 th which is very close to Christmas. Hopefully I’ll find it under my tree on Christmas morning, if not I’ll make it a new years day present from me to me. The Happytime Murders is also making its way to Blu-ray on December 4 th , two great Jim Henson family Christmas movies to enjoy over the holidays. Seeing as I haven’t been able to see The Happytime Murders yet, it hasn’t been shown in my area, I will definitely pick it up on its release date, I feel as if I’m really late to the Happytime party. I’m hoping for The Christmas Toy to find its way onto Blu-ray, hopefully with at least some episodes of The Secret Life of Toys to go along with it, I love that special. Moving onto soundtracks, an Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas soundtrack has recently been released, a nice addition to last years The Storyteller soundtrack. Last but not least, Funko have announced that very soon, we shall all be able to add a Jim Henson Funko figure, next to our Jim Henson Palisades figure, I can’t wait! And now my Funko wish list, I hope there’s an announcement for at least one of these soon. Funko Gorgs (plus exclusive flocked versions), Funko Dinosaurs, Funko Muppet Babies, more Muppet Funko’s in general and Funko Frank Oz. There is also a Sam and Friends book planned, hopefully for a release next year, I can’t wait to read it.
Sesame Street have so much merchandise available, I can’t even keep up, The Magical Wand Chase has magically made its way onto DVD. A company called ProductWorks has released a number of Christmas/Halloween themed Sesame Street garden light decorations, based on Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar and Elmo. I found these by accident on Amazon, I was intrigued, I now have a 24” Oscar replica, no way I’m putting this outside in the garden, even if I had a garden. I bought an 18” Big Bird but now I want the 32”, that must be massive and a good scale, to add alongside my Sesame Street plush collection, if they ever find their way out of their containers that is. Although they won’t be released on time for Christmas this year, two new Sesame Street books are planned for release next year. The Pursuit of Grouchiness: Oscar the Grouch’s Guide To Life and Love The Fur You’re In.
Disney’s The Muppets released a Kermit cloths collection at the start of the year, I’m sure those are still around. I found a pair of Muppet socks at Marks & Spencer’s and Hallmark released their Rowlf Christmas Ornament earlier this year. A second Muppet Meet The Classics was released, titled Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm, actually I need to pick this up, Clueless Morgan and Polly Lobster make an appearance. Other than Diamond Select’s new Swedish Chef Action Figure and their incredible Animal bust, I don’t think there’s much more in the way of Muppet merchandise. Now if you’re still a child at heart, as I am, then you’re in luck, because now, now we can truly get excited over Muppet Babies Christmas toys!
Muppet Babies Volume 1 made it onto DVD a few months ago, my nephew can’t get enough of it, he watches the same six episodes on repeat every time, that’s four more episodes than what my VHS tapes had back when I was a kid. I’m so glad my nephew is becoming an even bigger Muppet Fan thanks to this new show. Recently Muppet Babies premiered on Disney Junior in my area, and all my friends keep informing me of this show, they all have children now, and apparently, they all love Muppets now too. This is why I love this show, I’m seeing what I experienced as a kid, for the first time amongst kids these days, what a great show.
A few months ago, The Disney Store released the first official piece of Muppet Babies toy merchandise, in the form of plush toys. Baby Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal and Summer were all represented, these have an interesting story. I was short on cash when these were released, but I wanted two sets, one for myself and one for my nephew, so I put these on hold until I could save up the funds. Suddenly out of nowhere, only a few weeks into their release, baby Gonzo was unavailable anywhere, not even on eBay. All I could find all over the internet was a baby Gonzo listed on Amazon for $107. Luckily, I had seen this developing, I was keeping an eye out, Gonzo began vanishing, luckily, I ordered one set, if you’re wondering, I kept it for myself. I now had six Muppet Babies plush toys, but now I needed a second set for my nephew. Gonzo was nowhere to be found and Fozzie and Animal were also selling out fast, Kermit, Piggy and Summer, were still everywhere to be found. I managed to order a second set, paying $35 for Fozzie, but sadly this set was missing Gonzo. From what I can tell, Gonzo is the clear favourite, by miles, followed secondly by Fozzie and Animal, these are the characters that sell the most, when it comes to babies. I gave my nephew his set of Muppet Babies but when he asked about Gonzo, I caved and gave him mine. Five Muppet Babies, sitting on a shelf, I’ve never owned a baby Gonzo plush. All my life, I’ve only owned a baby Kermit, Piggy, Animal, Fozzie and Rowlf plush toys but never a baby Gonzo, I was really looking forward to this one. Before you start getting your tissues, don’t worry, a Christmas miracle occurred, The Disney Store recently released all six versions again, and I was able to grab a baby Gonzo to finish my collection, at the low price of $14.99, its currently in the mail, Merry Christmas to me!
Just Play has stepped in to make this Muppet Babies Christmas even more special and it truly is expensive to keep up. There’s a Muppet Babies 6-figure PVC set now available, and honestly it looks great. Muppet Babies now also come in action figure form, four have so far been released, baby Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and Summer. Where are Gonzo and Animal some might ask? I was one of them. The more I think about it, the happier it makes me that they weren’t released, in my mind this means a second wave will follow shortly. Now for the fun Christmas speculation game, who are the extra two characters joining Gonzo and Animal in the next wave? Bunsen and Beaker? Statler and Waldorf? Rizzo and Carlos? Nanny’s Legs and Chickens? The possibilities are endless. Alongside the action figures, there is also a set, consisting of the same figures, along with vehicles, although this time Summer is left out, I imagine she will appear in the next wave, alongside Gonzo and Animal. Does anyone remember the Muppet Babies amusement park train set released in the early 90’s? Well if you’re lucky and you kept yours, and your mom never threw it away when you were young because it took up too much room, then you’ll be able to add a Muppet Babies playroom play set next to it.
More Muppet Babies plush toys, except this time, Gonzo and Animal have yet to be released, again, I wonder who will join them in the next wave? The Disney Store have already released these, why does the Muppet collector in me feel like as if I will explode if I don’t buy these second versions? I need to buy them, take them to my sister’s house, put them inside a container and then I’ll be able to catch my breath. And lastly, this is so amazing, I can’t even explain it in words, well I can, it’s a moving, talking, joke telling, Muppet Babies theme song singing, baby Fozzie plush toy, amazing!
Muppet Babies Wocka Wocka Feature Fozzie from Just Play - YouTube
I hope Muppet Fans have been nice this year, we have a lot, I imagine we all hope Santa can bring us. If you don’t believe in Santa then let me warn you about the hard-grouchy truth that is Christmas shopping. Remember Muppet Fans, normally Muppet merchandise sticks around on the shelves for a long time, but this time around children are buying our merchandise too. We’re not the only ones hoping to add a baby Piggy action figure (with a cake) to our collections. If you want something grab it, before it’s too late, don’t let the children ruin your Muppet Christmas!
The Jim Henson Company and Fathom Events have scheduled some 'special' movie theater screenings of Jim Henson's 'Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas' on December 10th and 16th along with the holiday themed episode of 'Fraggle Rock', 'The Bells of Fraggle Rock'.
The feature will be followed by an introduction from Amy Poehler and a special message from Cheryl Henson, president of the Jim Henson Foundation.
CLICK HERE to see if a theater near you is screening these Jim Henson gems !