Earlier today, fans of the classic Jim Henson film, LABYRINTH, got the news we’ve all been waiting for. It was announced that TriStar Pictures is developing a sequel, with Scott Derrickson (Sinister) in the director’s chair and Maggie Levin (Into The Dark’s My Valentine) to pen the script. While the news was met with great excitement (I spazzed out happily on the social media), there are certain segments of the fandom who have already written off the film for one reason or another. While this has been the unfortunate go-to response for fandom discourse when it comes to sequels or reboots, I’m not here for that negative dismissal talk when it comes to LABYRINTH. To close ourselves off before getting to explore the world that Jim Henson, Brian Froud, Terry Jones, and David Bowie created for us would be doing them a disservice.
So, without further ado, this crazy fan who may or may not have thought about these reasons a bit too hard is here to tell you why you should keep an open mind when it comes to the upcoming sequel.
1. Potential Exploration of Jareth the Goblin King
The elephant in the room when it came to today’s announcement surrounds Jareth. Well, more of who will take on the role of Jareth after the late David Bowie left difficult shoes to fill. The role of Jareth as well as the plot of the original movie was heavily influenced by Bowie’s involvement. However, written within the characterization of Jareth, there are ways to explore different appearances and guises that Jareth could take on. In the original film, we see the goblin king taking on the guise of a white barn owl and as a huddled up peddler. To me, these two smaller moments in the film open up the possibilities for getting creative with casting choices. It also allows us to utilize the technology we have now to see how far Jareth’s powers go and opens new ways to explore the character that so many of us adore.
2. We Need Some Magic Right Now.
Look. I know you could probably argue that creating a sequel to a much-beloved cult classic is not needed, but we need magic right now. The world is a dark place and, I don’t know about you guys, but I find myself leaning further and further into the fantasy genre-scape in order to actually feel like I’m escaping from reality. What Jim Henson’s LABYRINTH had in spades was magic and mystery and wonder. I still remember that feeling of shock and awe the first time I watched the film at the tender age of five, seeing all of these creatures come to life (in my defense, I didn’t know they were puppets. I thought I could actually find a Ludo of my own one day), and falling in love with both Sarah and Jareth (really, this should have been the sign my family needed to gauge my sexuality) as they danced in a crowded, fever-dream ballroom sequence. I’m far more likely to throw my weight behind seeing the team bring the world of LABYRINTH to life once more because the nostalgia and the knowledge that the magic I seek will be granted to me.
3. Um…Puppets…Need I Say More? Oh, and World Exploration…
One of the most memorable things from Jim Henson’s LABYRINTH was all of the different creatures created specifically for the film. From Hoggle to The Worm to Ludo to all of the various goblins we got to see, none of them were forgettable creatures. All of them have lived on in our minds and dreams for the past thirty years or so. Knowing that we are dipping into the world of LABYRINTH once more, can you imagine what new creatures we will get to see along the way? Even more so since we have the technology to blend CGI with these puppet creatures to create something more believable to the naked eyed. We saw this utilized in the recent “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” series and to say that it was stunning and creatively inspirational would be an understatement.
This same logic of mine can be applied to just the world-building and set design. Like the creatures, much of the design of LABYRINTH was done practically, which was both beautiful but also had its limitations. With the technology we have available now, I would love to see if we can peek outside of the walls of Jareth’s Kingdom or if they can expand upon the actual size of the interior. Who knows what all they have trapped within those walls? Time will tell. Oh, and as someone who has worked within the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball event in Los Angeles for a few years, I can tell you that there is SO MUCH that can be explored. Keep your mind and imagination open!
4. Most Importantly, The Jim Henson Company is Involved
Look. If you need any reassurance that the sequel is something you should keep an open mind about, The Jim Henson Company is involved. You have Brian Henson executive producing the film and Lisa Henson in the producer’s seat. With Brian having worked extensively on the original LABYRINTH film and knowing that he will be involved with this project, I personally feel more comfortable about the project going forward. If anyone is going to make sure that the film is handled right and does its best to live up to the company’s expectations, it would definitely be Brian Henson.