The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow saw it coming when no one else did: We are living in a puppet renaissance. Legends might have even helped kick it off, with several episodes in 2018 that involved turning their cast into puppets, or in one case, following a small and sweet time-traveling puppet called a Beebo who became the savior of all mankind. Puppets, man!
2019, though, has truly been the year of the puppet. It started with the release of the Dark Crystal prequel, Age of Resistance—one of the best series of the year—and continued with the cultural dominance of The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda. The Baby Yoda puppet made Werner Herzog cry, and he wasn’t alone. When the production thought the puppet should be replaced with CG, Herzog called them cowards. There is power here!
The future of Disney+’s Mandalorian is safe, and Baby Yoda fever is surely only beginning. But what about Netflix and Age of Resistance? The series premiered in August, but we have not yet had news about Season 2. It’s not all about numbers, either—The Witcher hasn’t even premiered but has already been renewed, and it’s another experimental fantasy series for the platform. There was also a lot of money spent upfront to build over 80 sets for the Age of Resistance puppeteers to work with (which is why the final result looks so stunning and immersive), but at this point, they’re done and the puppets have been crafted, so … what’s the holdup?
The worst thing about the possibility of not getting a Season 2 goes beyond the fact that we would be robbed additional time in the world of Thra—it’s the narrative implication. Spoilers for The Dark Crystal movie, but as far as we currently know, all of the Gelfings die (except two). So the rebellion we witness in Season 1 of Age of Resistance is evidently … moot. All of these characters get slaughtered by the Skeksis, who triumph, and then we time jump forward to the movie. It’s incredibly depressing. There is just no way that we can be left in that space without additional story to bridge the gap between the prequel and the movie.
When we spoke with the series’ three writers back in August, they teased that there was a lot more story to be told, and also gave what felt at the time like implied assurance that they would get to tell it. Jeff Addiss said, “We have an ending, we’ve had it from the beginning, the ending means a great deal to us. And we know what the ending is, but when it comes, how long the middle is, is up to the audience and Netflix.”
So at the very least, it feels like we should be getting some kind of a miniseries or even another movie that would tie up the loose ends from the series to the film—although as a fan, another season or two would obviously be my preference!
We have no idea how many people watched Age of Resistance, since Netflix doesn’t release viewer numbers (or allow third parties to calculate them), and there are a few barriers to its success. For one, adults might think it’s a kid’s show (some parts maybe could pass for that, but it can be pretty dark/violent in addition to the humor/joy, and there’s a lot of lore). Two, some adults feel traumatized by the original + Labyrinth and thus don’t like puppets at all. And yet, many of those same adults—and just about everyone with internet access at this point—is obsessed with Baby Yoda, who looks almost identical to one of Age of Resistance’s lead characters, Deet. In other words … get over it!
If you haven’t given the wonderful Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance a try, you can read my glowing review on why you should, and also read whether or not you need to watch or re-watch the movie first. But for those of us who have seen it, and loved it (because honestly, how could you not? Hup!), we need answers. If this is where Netflix leaves the story, it will make Age of Resistance exactly what puppet-fearing folks think it is: an extremely dark and nihilistic tale of woe. Don’t do that to Deet, Netflix. Where is the Podling Justista?? To leave things here would be, to channel the words of puppet fan Werner Herzog, cowardly indeed.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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