SkekTek is physically the weakest of his kind, though still stronger than most Gelfling. But his wicked intellect makes him a formidable foe and his sick experiments make him an abomination.

A Meditation, transcribed from the words of urSu the Master[1]

SkekTek was the Skeksis' Scientist, and counterpart to urTih the Alchemist.

Personality and traitsEdit

Preeminent minds are never properly appreciated in their time.

SkekTek was a self-proclaimed genius and master of life and death. Aware that he was the weakest among his kind, skekTek usually humbled himself before his comrades, while secretly hoping to win their respect through his work. In truth, however, the others feared him because they understood nothing of his work, and were disturbed by his acts of self mutilation in pursuit of knowledge.[3]

The abuse and mockery he received from his far stronger comrades left him with a persecution complex and violent temper. Unable to express his anger to the other Skeksis, skekTek vented it on the castle's servants. The only creature skekTek showed affection to was the Sidetic, which he referred to as a friend. To his fellow Skeksis, he typically expressed his frustration by peppering his utterances with overly technical jargon, which he knew his comrades would struggle to understand.

SkekTek was once friends with Aughra, having helped build her observatory while Aughra showed him the secrets of Thra. Aughra later dismissed skekTek's power of thought as an attempt to re-decipher the confused knowledge inherited from his urSkek incarnation.[4] SkekTek partially regretted ending his friendship with Aughra as she was the only immortal who shared his interest, but begrudgingly cut ties with Aughra to maintain skekSo's favour.

Like most of the other Skeksis skekTek was sadistic, finding great amusement in seeing creatures far weaker than him like the Podlings and Gelflings being tortured. Despite this, he was also capable of realism and pragmatism, as he was the only other Skeksis apart from SkekAyuk to recognize that the Crystal's failure to grant him and his cohorts life was due to them overusing its energies. He also initially disagreed with Skekso's plan to consume as much essence as possible, citing the fact that it would further throw Thra out of balance and cause the Darkening to spread faster.

Biography Edit

Discovery of essenceEdit

SkekTek the Scientist

SkekTek, prior to his partial blinding.

SkekTek's main responsibilities lay in devising new ways to prolong the

-HD- The Dark Crystal- Age Of Resistance - The Scientist Experiments on the Crystal

-HD- The Dark Crystal- Age Of Resistance - The Scientist Experiments on the Crystal

Skeksis' lives, given the task by the Emperor skekSo when their usual means of life extension with the Dark Crystal began to fail. He sought to provide the Dark Crystal with an alternative energy source, as it could no longer draw it from Thra itself. However, he nearly died when he accidentally polarised it into extracting his essence, saved by skekSil's intervention. SkekSil convinced skekTek to re-purpose his assumed failure into a means for the Skeksis to nourish themselves on extracted life energy. Revitalized, skekTek successfully used the Gelfling Mira to create a bowl full of essence, which restored the Emperor and many others before he bottled the last of it.[2]


Peeper beetle

SkekTek having his eye gouged out by a peeper beetle

Ordered to repair the machine when it overloaded from killing Mira, skekTek locked her remaining essence in a cabinet with a locksnake before leaving temporarily, only to return and find skekSil skulking within. The two smell Rian and Gurjin in the lab before skekTek gets into a violent confrontation with skekSil over him stealing the vial, which Rian exploited to steal it and escape. SkekTek reported this to the Emperor and that skekSil was to blame for stealing the vial, but skekSil twisted the story such that it seemed to be skekTek's fault that the Gelfling escaped with the vial in the first place. This resulted in skekTek being punished by having a peeper beetle gouge out his right eye,[5] which he replaced with a bionic one which he admitted had better vision than his original. Despite his resentment of skekSil, he somewhat forgave him when skekSil gave skekTek a pair of Gruenak slaves to quickly repair the machine with.

Further researchEdit

Thanks to the Gruenaks' aid, skekTek repaired the machine while building chairs designed to restrain the Gelflings and extract their essence. While impressing the Emperor, skekTek was astonished at skekSo's insistence to extract essence from a large amount of Gelflings. Under duress, skekTek hypothesized that 50 Gelfling would be required each trine in order to maintain the Skeksis' immortality.[6] After making upgrades to drain three Gelflings at once without damaging the Crystal, skekTek was allowed a seat at the banquet table. One night, when the Chamberlain returned from Stone-in-the-Wood, skekTek and the other Skeksis mocked skekSil's peachberry stench and forced him out of the banquet hall.[7]

The next day, a mortally wounded skekMal the Hunter returned to the castle, with skekTek exhausting the essence stocks on skekSo's orders in a failed attempt to heal him.[8] When Aughra allowed the Skeksis to take her essence to revive skekMal in return for the release the Gelflings they imprisoned, she attempted to reason with skekTek by reminding him of their past friendship. He reluctantly dismissed her pleas when he noticed the Emperor watching them, with skekMal seemingly dead after the process ran its course.[9]

Creating the GarthimEdit

When the Gelfling clans eventually united to form the Gelfling resistance, skekTek incorporated additional weapons to the Skeksis' armour and was eager to test them out in battle. However, skekSo mocked him and forced the Scientist to remain in the Castle while the other Skeksis attempted to kill the rebels, having been ordered to create an artificial army from Arathim corpses. SkekTek's attempts to reanimate the corpses with the Dark Crystal initially failed, so he decided to take advantage of the other Skeksis' absence to lavish himself on the throne. SkekTek forced the Podlings to work faster than ever, physically abusing them when he was displeased with the food they brought. When skekMal awakened, skekTek informed the Hunter of the other Skeksis' location, only for the Hunter to call the Scientist a coward for not joining the fight. Infuriated by skekMal's insult, skekTek took out his pent up rage on the Gruenaks when they revolted, throwing one of them down the Castle shaft. SkekTek then managed to kill the other Gruenak by repeatedly cracking its skull with a piece of broken machinery. In a flash of inspiration, skekTek set to work fusing the Gruenak's strong muscle tissue with the Arathim carcass, integrating mechanical parts and Crystal energy to create the first Garthim.[10]


SkekTek death

SkekTek falling to his death

After the Garthim War, skekTek perfected the essence extraction using

4K The Dark Crystal - The Scientist Drains Kira's Essence

4K The Dark Crystal - The Scientist Drains Kira's Essence

SkekTek attempts to drain Kira.

mirrors to direct the Dark Crystal's beams so that the drained victims would be reduced to mindless slaves instead of being destroyed. His other main achievement was the modification of Podling vocal chords to incorporate them into the Pod choir.[3] Following the near extinction of the Gelflings, skekTek joined a political alliance consisting of himself, skekUng the Garthim Master and skekNa the Slave Master.[3] Around this time, he began draining the essence of Podlings, as the Gelflings had become nearly extinct, but found it wasn't as powerful as Gelfling essence when it came to replenishment, as evidenced when skekUng, now Emperor, drank a Podling's essence, only to discover it had temporary effects. He died when the Gelfling Kira, whom he was trying to drain of essence, summoned his laboratory animals to attack and push him down the volcanic shaft of the Castle where he was subsequently incinerated alongside his Mystic counterpart.[11]

Other appearances Edit

In the continuity established by Legends of the Dark Crystal, during the early period of the Garthim War, skekTek was blackmailed by skekLach the Collector into withholding essence from Emperor skekSo.[12] He attempted to tell skekUng of skekLach's treachery by hand gestures. SkekUng did not understand what the Scientist was trying to say and advised him to keep quiet.[13]

Behind the scenes Edit

The character's pre-production notes described him as being an intellectual "Keith Moon pervert", with robes based on a wheel chair and an Italian futurist sculpture.[14][15] Steve Whitmire, who originally voiced the character, said in an interview that the Scientist's voice was based on that of Peter Lorre, and that his death cries were painful to emit, but that Henson insisted that he do repeated takes of them, an act Whitmire attributed to the director's sadistic "Ernie" side.[16]

For the character's reintroduction in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Javier Grillo-Marxuach envisioned him as embodying the adage "Just because we can doesn't mean we should", labeling him a "creator with no conscience". Will Matthews elaborated that the Scientist is a unique character with no use for the magic which characterizes the world of Thra. Performer Olly Taylor sought to give the Scientist's walk a "sense of frantic motion".[17]

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. The Dark Crystal Author Quest: The Gelfling Gathering, The Jim Henson Company (2013)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same.". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
  4. Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  5. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "Nothing Is Simple Anymore". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  6. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  7. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "By Gelfling Hand...". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  8. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "Prophets Don't Know Everything". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  9. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "The Crystal Calls". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  10. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  11. Henson, J. & Oz, F. (dir.); Henson, J., Kurtz, G. & Lazer, D. (prod.); Henson, J. & Odell, D. (writ.) (December 17, 1982). The Dark Crystal (Motion picture). New York City, NY: Jim Henson Productions.
  12. Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2007) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 1: The Garthim Wars. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167014
  13. Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2010) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 2: Trial by Fire. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167022
  14. C. Finch, The Making of the Dark Crystal: Creating a Unique Film, Henry Holt & Co, 1983, pp. 44-45, ISBN 0-03-063332-X.
  15. Invader Zim (2010-06-08). "The Skeksis (one post from a messageboard thread)". Planet Irk. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  16. Report: Steve Whitmire Talks Muppets at Philly Comic Con,, May 7 2018
  17. Wallace, D. (2019), The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance - Inside the Epic Return to Thra, Titan Books, pp. 86-87, ISBN 978-1-78909-387-2.

External Links Edit

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