The Podlings of Kira's village.

The Podlings, also known as Pod People,[1][2] were a sentient race native to the Endless Forest. In their own language, they referred to themselves as apopiapoiopidiappididiapipob, which translated as "master gardeners who live in bulging plants."[1] They were a rural and hedonistic race, who lived only to sing, dance and tend to their plants.


The Podlings were a diminutive people, who were a full head shorter than Gelfling, with potato-shaped heads. Their voices were alto in their natural state, though skekTek the Scientist experimented on captured Pod slaves over hundreds of trine in order to create baritones for the Pod choir.[2]


The Podlings were an agrarian people who grew many different kinds of crops, especially the Pod plants, from whose giant seeds they made their homes.[1] They were pacifists by nature, and would not kill anything other than Crystal Bats, which they dispatched with bolas.[2] Unlike the Gelfling, the Podlings left no records of their own, as they had no system of writing.[1] Indeed, their concept of time was deeply rooted to the cycle of seasons, thus they found change and the hunger for it to be incomprehensible.[2]

They had domesticated the Nebrie, from which they collected milk. When a Nebrie died, its skin was used for making drums, and the fur around its ears and face was used to fashion clothes for young Podlings.[2] They had also domesticated the Fizzgig, which served to guard the Podlings' plant tendrils.[1] Their ease with taming animals stemmed from their skill in Animal Soul Speaking.[3]

The Podlings were skilled musicians, who used a variety of different instruments, including reed pipes and gourd drums. Being a jovial race, the Podlings frequently held banquets and celebrations, even outside important events.[2]

According to Podling folklore, the Three Suns were brothers who once fought over the daughter of the moon. When she drowned herself out of grief, the three brothers would do battle every nine hundred and ninety nine and one trine.[2]


The Podlings first appeared during the Age of Harmony[3] and lived in peace with the Gelfling for centuries, with both races knowing each other's languages.[2] Aside from the destruction of Noy,[3] the Podlings were initially unaffected by the rule of the Skeksis, and continued with their idyllic lives,[1] with some being taken into the Castle of the Crystal as servants.

During the late Age of Division, Podlings were seen as uncivilized and uncultured by the Gelfling, particularly the Vapra Clan, who considered them the filthiest creatures of Thra. In some areas, there was a tolerance for Podlings but it often came from a sense of pity, particularly in the eyes of the Order of Lesser Service who used the act of cleaning Podlings as an act of atonement.[4] By the end of the Garthim War, Podlings became the main targets of Garthim raids, being taken to the Castle to be drained of their essence and turned into slaves. After exposure to the rays of the Crystal, the lively Podlings became feeble, listless and obedient.

During the Age of Power, the Podlings began speaking the Gelfling language and were frequent pilgrims to the Castle.[5]

Notable PodlingsEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

The Podlings first appeared in Jim Henson's The Mithra Treatment, where they were portrayed as servants to the Skeksis, though subsequent revisions made them take increasingly more prominent roles in the film's plot. Initially conceived as anthropomorphic potatoes, Brian Froud's original Podling designs had multiple eyes positioned randomly on their faces, though the concept was scrapped.[6]

Their clothes were hand sewn by costume designers Polly Smith and Ellis Flyte, who used a large amount of Indian cottons and raw silks, which were aged artificially. Flyte designed the clothing of the Podling slaves, giving it a tattered and soiled look evocative of their Skeksis masters.[6]

The Podlings were portrayed via rod puppets, with some being mechanized for more complex actions.[6] The language of the Podlings in The Dark Crystal was based on Serbo-Croatian, with Kurtz noting that audience members fluent in Polish, Russian and other Slavic languages could understand individual words, but not whole sentences.[7] The Podling language in Age of Resistance, however, was a constructed language created by J.M. Lee.[8]

In an interview with The Verge, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance's executive producer Jeffrey Addiss revealed how the performances of the Podling puppets were meant to be more comical than realistic:

[A] Podling can run in, scream, fall down, jump up, be drunk, and run out the door, and you’re having a great time. A Gelfling doing that doesn’t feel right; a Skeksis doing that doesn’t feel right. So Podlings are really fun and freeing because they’re just physical comedy.

Jeffrey Addis[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Froud, B., Dysart, J., Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2012). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. II. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-936393-80-0
  4. "What Was Sundered and Undone" The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Netflix. August 30, 2019
  5. Smith, A., Beneath the Dark Crystal, #1, Archaia, USA, July 2018
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 C. Gaines, The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History, Titan Books, 2017, pp. 108-109, ISBN 1-78565-592-2.
  7. Hutchinson, David. "Producing the world of The Dark Crystal: A new direction for the man behind ‘Star Wars" and "Empire" Gary Kurtz". Starlog: The Magazine of the Future. 66 (January 1983):19-20.
  8. "The Crystal Calls: Making the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance". Netflix. August 30, 2019

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