To betray is to break the circle of trust. The Skeksis came to betray all friendship, without reason, without need.

The Book of Aughra[1]

The Skeksis were the self-proclaimed Lords of the Crystal, and rulers of an Empire which dominated Thra throughout the Age of Division. Like the urRu, they were offshoots of the urSkeks, personifying their knowledge and passion, but also their cruelty and aggression. Despite their separation, there was still a spiritual link between each Skeksis and urRu counterpart, a constant reminder that they were only two halves of the same being. If either was wounded, the other felt the pain and suffered an identical injury. If one died, both died.

Tall and reptilian in appearance, the Skeksis posed as benevolent caretakers of the Crystal, while in reality leeching off its power in order to prolong their lives, thus causing the spread of the Darkening. During their thousand-trine rule, the Skeksis formed the Alliance of the Crystal with the Gelfling, keeping the latter divided and subservient. Species that resisted their governance, such as the Gruenaks and Arathim, were either eradicated or evicted from their lands.

When the Crystal was exhausted of its power after a millennium of abuse, the Skeksis began to abduct the Gelfling in order to drain them of their essence, which had a rejuvenating effect on them. This lead to the formation of the Gelfling resistance and the outbreak of Garthim War. After the death of Emperor skekSo, the subsequent infighting among the Skeksis prevented them from stopping the fulfillment of a prophecy that foretold the end of their rule by Gelfling hand.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Biology and appearance[edit | edit source]

Unlike any creature of Thra, they overpowered every hall they walked, commanded the attention of every eye that opened. Even the All-Maudra seemed but a child in their presence.

Thriya[2]

Skeksis during the early years of their rule.

The Skeksis shared the same basic body plan as their urRu counterparts, sporting four arms and a tail,[3] but differed in key superficial details, having scalier, more reptilian bodies, beak-like jaws and prominent eyebrows.[4] They also possessed three urethras.[5]

Their bodies lacked the triadic symmetry of native Thra species,[6] and were founded upon deeply disordered principles, with only their heads bearing an intelligible pattern.[7] Compared to the urRu, the individual features of the Skeksis were often highly variable, with each individual having their own unique skull shape, dentition, hair color, and occasionally skin tone. Like all living creatures, the Skeksis possessed essence,[8] but because they were not born of Thra, it would not be reclaimed by the planet when they died. [9]

Essentially predators, the Skeksis had an acute sense of smell, being able to detect Gelfling meters away and even distinguish them based on their clan.[10] When unencumbered by heavy clothing or weakened by age and slothfulness, they were powerful jumpers,[11][12] and had prodigious strength, with even the weakest of their kind being able to overpower Gruenaks, creatures noted for their fortitude.[13]

By the late Age of Division, most Skeksis had lost the use of their secondary arms through many trine of sedentary living, and depended on layers of moldering robes to slow down the gradual rotting of their bodies.[14] Unlike the urRu, who evaporated after they died, the Skeksis would crumble into dust, having no soul to slow down the process of decomposition.[15]

Culture and habits[edit | edit source]

Moderation is for the meek.

skekAyuk[12]

The Skeksis feasting

The Skeksis viewed themselves as bringers of order, innovation and purpose,[16] and were convinced of their inherent superiority over all creatures of Thra, seeing them at best as sources of food, revenue and entertainment. Aughra characterized them as intelligent, ambitious and gregarious,[17] full of daring wit and bold experiment,[18] yet simultaneously manipulative,[17] thieving, parasitic[9] and needlessly treacherous,[1] with ice in their hearts and a thirst for blood.[18]

While the Skeksis inherited the knowledge of the urSkeks, they lacked the latter's wisdom,[19] respecting above all the traits of force, greed and ruthlessness in their leadership.[20] Staunch materialists, they were incapable of viewing pure spirituality as something conceivably greater than brute matter,[21] and largely lacked the ability to dream,[13] unless exposed to mind altering substances such as urdrupes[22] or the Darkening.[13] Although technologically advanced, they had a lamentable understanding of esoteric concepts such as alchemy[23] and the true nature of the Crystal, [9] thus they were unable to recreate anything of similar or greater power.[24] Nevertheless, they were skilled in the art of flattery, a trait which deceived many.[18]

They were highly thanatophobic, as they knew that Thra would reject them once they died, and thus they became obsessed with prolonging their lives in order to avoid the torments of what lay beyond death.[13] Because of this, they had no rites to commemorate the dead, as having such would have been an acknowledgement of their own mortality. [9] Nevertheless, they viewed the Great Division as a triumph and had no desire to join back with the urRu,[18] as they still vaguely remembered the overpowering feelings of sorrow and guilt of their urSkek predecessors.[13]

The Skeksis valued power above all else, though their conception of it differed from that of their urRu counterparts. While the urRu believed that true power consisted of spiritual enlightenment, the Skeksis saw it purely as dominating others. The Skeksis were also highly individualistic, each one of them valuing their own interests over those of the others, and wearing distinctive outfits to differentiate themselves from their brethren, in great contrast with the collectivist urRu.

Skeksis art, clothing and architecture followed the Garthic principle of repetitive flamboyance, and was riddled with symbols of aggression and longevity.[25] Disputes between Skeksis were usually solved through trials of strength,[5] though magnanimous gestures towards beaten opponents were not part of Skeksis tradition.[26] Nevertheless, the killing of another Skeksis was considered taboo, in order to maintain the illusion of their immortality.

The Skeksis were perpetually tormented by a raving hunger, and frequently hosted elaborate banquets which rarely satisfied them for long. They were fond of sweet liqueurs, hot spices and rich creams,[27] with main courses typically being meat-based, sometimes still living. Most Skeksis had poor table manners, and would tear at their food with predatory voracity.

According to Aughra, the Skeksis had been rendered tone deaf by the sound of the Crystal cracking.[28] As such, their music was characteristically discordant.[10]

Language[edit | edit source]

Main article: Skeksis language

The native language of the Skeksis was a lexically impoverished tongue relegated to rituals, written documents and exclamations. As a result, they favored Modern Gelfling in everyday parlance.

History[edit | edit source]

Origins[edit | edit source]

Main article: Great Division

"Look inside yourselves. Do you not wish to be whole again?"
"NNNNEHHVERRR!"

Aughra attempts to reason with the Skeksis, [29]

A Skeksis cracks the Crystal.

A thousand trine after their banishment to Thra, the eighteen Fallen urSkeks created a network of mirrors around the Crystal with Aughra's assistance, intending to trap the light of the next Great Conjunction to re-enter their world and burn out the imperfections in their souls in the process.[30] However, one urSkek became wracked by nostalgia after hearing Gyr play an urSkek song, and allowed its darker nature to overwhelm it, with Raunip exacerbating the situation by mocking the urSkeks for being outsiders who were exiled to Thra. When the Three Suns met, the dark-hearted urSkek's rage prevented the other urSkeks from entering the Crystal and being cleansed. Instead of being purified, the urSkeks were divided into two separate beings; the cruel Skeksis and the gentle urRu.[29]

The Skeksis awoke from the Great Division filled with hate, for each other and their urRu counterparts.[30] Shortly after gaining consciousness, one of the Skeksis, skekHak, attacked and killed urYa and urHom, thus resulting in the corresponding deaths of both skekYi and himself. The remaining sixteen Skeksis drove the urRu and the delegations out of the Castle, leaving only Aughra and Raunip behind. Aughra attempted to convince the Skeksis to call back the urRu and undo the Division. The Skeksis refused, and one of them attacked the Crystal, chipping off a single shard which sent shockwaves throughout the planet.[29]

Alliance[edit | edit source]

When the urSkeks made us the guardians of the Great Crystal, they told us we must protect everything within the Crystal's reach. All we ask is the opportunity to fulfill that honor.

SkekVar[31]

The rise of skekSo

Some time later, a Skeksis named skekSo proclaimed himself ruler of a new Skeksis Empire and spread the lie that the urSkeks had departed Thra and left the Skeksis as guardians of the Crystal. SkekShod opposed skekSo's ascension, but was beaten as a result.[31]

SkekSo subsequently learned of the Makrak crisis and formulated a plan to subjugate the Gelfling and Podlings by offering them protection from the Makrak hordes. Through the diplomacy of skekVar, the Skeksis gained a seat at the council of elder Carn, promising to support the Gelfling militarily in exchange for weapons, effectively giving the Skeksis the tools they could later use to oppress other races. The two races proclaimed the formation of the Alliance of the Crystal, which remained in vigor even after the urRu intervened and resolved the Makrak crisis peacefully.[31]

Conquests[edit | edit source]

The next few ninets saw the expansion of the Skeksis' Empire and the consolidation of their control over Skarith. To avoid having Aughra interfere in their projects, they convinced her to entrust the Crystal to them, tempting her to leave Thra and explore the Uni-Verse.[10] In order to keep their Gelfling subjects divided and subservient, the Skeksis fomented division among the once harmonious Gelfling Clans, placing the Vapra Clan in a position of supremacy and privileging it over all others.[8]

Once they had assumed control over the Gelfling, the Skeksis began an 800-trine-long campaign of conquest,[32] dealing ruthlessly with any race that refused to submit to them. With their army of Stonewood warriors,[33] the Skeksis drove the Arathim from their homeland of Grot and granted the former Arathim stronghold to the ancestors of the Grottan Clan.[34] They also attacked the technologically advanced Gruenak civilization, exterminating all but two of its members and destroying their culture so thoroughly that nothing remained of it.[35] The only area they actively avoided was the Valley of the Standing Stones, as they could not destroy the urRu without killing themselves, and did not see their counterparts as threats in any case.[36]

The rule of the Skeksis also saw the rarefication or extinction of numerous animal species. Shrookils were completely wiped out through active hunting,[37] Seedles gradually died off due to the spread of the Darkening,[38] and the last known Pimlin was dissected in the Chamber of Life.[39] Wild Armalig populations were decimated in order to serve as beasts of burden in the castle,[40] while Shrumpins[39] and Squiddleitches, both staples in Skeksis banquets, were nearly driven to extinction through overharvesting.[41]

Renegade Skeksis[edit | edit source]

The banishment of skekGra, as shown in the True History of Thra

Early in their reign, at least two Skeksis chose to depart from the Castle of the Crystal while not necessarily renouncing the Emperor. SkekMal chose to live in the wilderness as a hunter, becoming a figure of legend among the Stonewood and Spriton Clans, whose members never learned his true nature as a Skeksis.[42] SkekSa also left the Castle, but did not hide her identity, adopting the life of a mariner among the Sifa Clan, becoming their patron and guide.[43]

Throughout his reign, Emperor skekSo remained largely unchallenged, thanks to his skill in pitting his subordinates against each other.[44] SkekShod twice attempted to dethrone him but failed, with the Emperor sparing him from torture just to demonstrate how much he held him in contempt.[45] The only insubordinate Skeksis to receive the Emperor's wrath was skekNa, whose acts of casual cruelty risked exposing the Skeksis' true nature to their Gelfling allies.[46]

Over 600 trine after the Great Division, skekGra the Conqueror received a vision from Thra prompting him to promote urRu-Skeksis unity. The Conqueror was branded a heretic and exiled to the Circle of the Suns. It was there he met his urRu counterpart, urGoh the Wanderer and the two of them eventually found the Shard of the Division and placed it in a weapon they forged together called the Dual Glaive, with the intent of giving it to the Gelfling in order to end the Skeksis' power.[47]

Quest for immortality[edit | edit source]

Now is the power of the Crystal seen. New life will flow from darkened light, not darkest stone. The Black Stone will no more deceive our hopes, no more receive our worship.

Inscription on a Skeksis rejuvenation chart included in the Book of Aughra., [48]

The Skeksis draining the Crystal during the Ceremony of the Sun.

Although they professed themselves to their Gelfling allies as immortal, the Skeksis feared death, and were tormented by the thought that the afterlife would have contained greater torments than the pain they had experiences as urSkeks.[13] Shortly after the Great Division, the Skeksis created the Haakskeekah Stone, hoping that it would have exceeded the Crystal of Truth in power and granted them more life.[24] The stone was discarded after the scientist, skekTek, discovered that the polarized light produced by the Crystal, when exposed to the beams of the Three Suns, could be used to reinvigorate the Skeksis.[49] This energy, normally used to keep Thra in balance, was systematically drained by the Lords of the Crystal over the course of their misrule, causing the planet to release the noxious energy known as the Darkening, which spread like an infection.[8]

Despite their efforts, the Skeksis found that their bodies had begun to rot at an accelerated rate, and desperately sought to cheat death. In the last century of the Age of Division, the Skeksis redoubled their abuse of the Crystal, causing the Darkening to gradually overpower the efforts of the Great Trees to keep it in check.[50] In desperation, skekSo began to secretly experiment with the Darkening, becoming fascinated by its potential as a new source of power, yet quickening the degeneration of his body in the process.[47]

Betrayal[edit | edit source]

Never again will the Skeksis have to bear the burden of pretending to care for these useless Gelfling.

skekSo[5]

SkekSo leading the charge during the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood

A thousand trine into their rule, the Skeksis had drained the Crystal so thoroughly that it no longer granted them its energy. The scientist skekTek was ordered to find a solution, accidentally discovering that the Crystal was now reduced to draining essence from life forms exposed to its rays in order to keep itself alive. The Skeksis subsequently began to secretly drain their Gelfling subjects of their life force and preventing the Crystal from claiming it in order to create an elixir which could halt their aging.[8]

Keeping their true intentions a secret, they concocted an Arathim rebellion and demanded seven able-bodied Gelflings from each clan to act as volunteers in the conflict. All-Maudra Mayrin, having been informed of the truth by an awakened Aughra and Rian, who had witnessed the essence extraction first hand, dissolved the Alliance of the Crystal and was killed for her insubordination.[51] The killing prompted a rebellion among the Stonewood Clan, which the Skeksis crushed after forming an alliance with the Arathim, falsely promising to return their ancestral home of Grot to them in exchange.[47] The Skeksis then rejected the truce proposed by the new All-Maudra Seladon II and dropped all pretenses of caring for the Gelfling.[52] After the Arathim learned of the Skeksis' treachery, they allied with the Gelfling,[52] and turned on the Skeksis. [9]

Once the Gelfling resistance was proclaimed, the Skeksis attempted to crush the uprising during the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, but they were surrounded by the Gelfling Clans and the Arathim. The Emperor used the power of the Darkening to defeat them, but, Deet use it against them and resulted in the skekLach’s death. After skekMal and skekLach’s death they were forced to retreat back to the Castle. The defeat was a huge blow to Skeksis morale, as it resulted in the first Skeksis deaths since the Great Division and also lead to the resistance finding the lost Shard of the Division.[13]

War[edit | edit source]

SkekUng leading the Garthim during the Garthim War

After discovering the Wall of Destiny, which foretold that a Gelfling would bring about the downfall of the Skeksis Empire, skekSo ordered the total extermination of the Gelfling race, thus starting the Garthim War.[53] The Skeksis began by creating five false Shards in order to confuse the Gelfling in their attempt to heal the Crystal,[24] then unleashed their newly created army of Garthim soldiers.[54] They also selectively bred the Crystal Bats to act as spies, pinpointing hiding places for the Garthim to converge upon.[55] Under the command of skekUng, all pockets of resistance were rooted out, and the survivors taken to the Castle to be drained,[56] though as the Skeksis' paranoia grew, they began slaughtering their prisoners, preferring safety over pleasure. At the conclusion of the war, all Gelfling were exterminated, save for Jen and Kira, who had been fostered by the urRu and Podlings respectively.[55]

Defeat[edit | edit source]

The Great Conjunction comes. Now, we will live forever.

SkekZok, [57]

SkekUng and skekSil engaging each other in Trial by Stone

By the time skekSo died, only nine Skeksis remained, and bickering over a successor began almost immediately. As well as skekSo's former faction consisting of skekSil, skekEkt and skekOk, two other alliances were formed; that of the Garthim Master skekUng, which included the Scientist skekTek and the Slave Master skekNa, and that of the Ritual Master skekZok, which included the Gourmand skekAyuk and the Treasurer skekShod. SkekZok abstained from the ensuing Trial by Stone, which ended with the triumph of skekUng and the banishment of skekSil.[58]

The Skeksis merge with the urRu.

SkekUng's coronation was interrupted when the Skeksis were made aware of the survival of the Gelfling Jen. The Garthim were dispatched, but the Gelfling escaped, and a further survey of the surrounding area with Crystal Bats revealed the existence of Kira, another survivor. SkekSil managed to regain his position after capturing Kira, though she escaped, causing the death of skekTek in the process. The remaining eight Skeksis converged at the Crystal Chamber, awaiting the Great Conjunction which would grant them perpetual life. There, they encountered Jen and Kira dangerously close to the Crystal. Despite summoning the Garthim, and managing to kill Kira, the Skeksis were helpless as Jen healed the Dark Crystal. In the ensuing panic, the urRu entered the Castle and merged with the Skeksis. The resulting reunified urSkeks resurrected Kira in gratitude and apparently departed from Thra.[58]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Skeksis relics kept in the Castle during the Age of Power

During the Age of Power, the Skeksis' artifacts within the Castle were gathered in the Chamber of Life and kept as reminders of their misrule. The religious leader of the new Gelfling Nation, the Crystalline Eminence, decreed that their return could be prevented by giving material offerings to the Crystal.[59]

Other relics, found scattered throughout Thra, would be taken by crime lords and used to subjugate impoverished cities, in particular Dagger Root, whose self-proclaimed ruler, Trunk, tortured those who defied him by keeping them in Skeksis-forged chains which made them develop an obsessive Skeksis-like avarice.[60]

Return[edit | edit source]

Will of the Crystal that the next Age of Thra is Age of Skeksis!

SkekUng, [61]

Return of the Skeksis

100 trine after their defeat, the eight surviving Skeksis were returned to existence, alongside their urRu counterparts, after the Fireling Thurma took a Shard from the Crystal in a misguided quest to restore her homeland's dying Mother Sun. The Skeksis, who spoke of having been "imprisoned" for the last century, immediately ostracized skekSil, who was blamed for their past failure, but were detained before they could do any real damage.[62] When confronted by the Crystalline Eminence, the Skeksis challenged him to gaze into the Crystal's light,[63] and was compelled to release them.[64]

The Skeksis proceeded to ransack the Castle and drain the essence from any servant unable to escape them. They attempted to seize Aughra and Kira, but the two barricaded themselves in the Castle's upper towers.[65] When Jen returned to the Castle riding atop Bohrtog, the Skeksis summoned the Crystal Bats to attack him, causing him to fall.[66] Before they could kill him, Kira intervened with a troop of archers and carried him to safety. Frustrated by their lack of progress in breaching the barricades, skekUng consumed the Crystalline Eminence's essence and used his newfound strength to bare-handedly batter down the fortifications leading to Jen and Kira's chambers.[11] He and the other Skeksis were prevented from killing them by the urRu, who summoned a premature Great Conjunction which shattered the Castle, thereby separating the Skeksis from their intended victims.[67] After Thurma returned, she restored the Crystal and the Skeksis were once again merged with the urRu.[61]

Background information[edit | edit source]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Dark Crystal[edit | edit source]

Creation[edit | edit source]

Leonard B. Lubin's illustration for the 1975 edition of Lewis Carroll's The Pig-Tale

The Skeksis were the first creatures of The Dark Crystal to have been conceived by Jim Henson,[68] who had been inspired after seeing an image of crocodiles living in a castle in an illustrated edition of Lewis Carroll's The Pig-Tale in 1975.[69] He became fascinated by the idea of reptiles wearing elegant clothes and having sophisticated conversations during "gruesome cocktail parties".[70][71]

Illustration of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations

The precursors of the Skeksis appeared in The Mithra Treatment, where they were identified as the "Reptus group". The Reptus would have assumed control over the Mithra region twenty years prior to the events of the story in a coup against the Eunaze (the prototypes of the Gelflings), who were weakened by generations of easy living. Henson described the Reptus as a totalitarian society, whose members are "sunken in character, depraved, corrupt and vicious, and cruel to one another". They would have lived in a citadel which they never left, spending their lives showing off and controlling the world's mineral resources through an army of shelled warriors, for whom cannibalism is a common penalty for failure.[72] Henson described the Reptus further in the following terms:

Overbearing and brutal, the Reptus possess uncontrollable tempers. Their banquets are outrageously noisy - they are always voracious and animal-like. The Reptus gratify their desires in excess; luxuriating in strange and degenerate gatherings, inhaling extraordinary narcotic vapors, attentively listening to music that is both pounding and convulsive. [...] Conversationally, the Reptus beings are erratic. A discussion marked by icy, courtly courtesy and ruthless civility might suddenly and violently change into a savage and screaming outburst.

Jim Henson[72]

Henson wrote that their ugliness is in contrast with their elegant robes, characterized by silk, brocade and lace, and that all their power is concentrated in a physical object, probably made of magnetite.[72] During the Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978, when Henson was snowed in for 72 hours in a hotel, he began to elaborate on the Reptus. He renamed them "Skeksis" and modified their connection to the Bada (the wizards of Thra, later renamed urRu), from being simple oppressors to the latter to being separate branches of the same creature.[73] He further added that the Skeksis, being incomplete creatures, are incapable of reproducing themselves, and attempt to create more members of their kind by experimenting on various animal carcasses. This new draft, entitled The Crystal, was further modified by Frank Oz, who included the rivalry between the two pretenders to the throne (named "Mal" and "Mongra").[74]

When the first screenplay had been written, screenwriter David Odell elaborated further on the Skeksis' society, giving each one a title or profession.[75] The word "Skeksis" was originally meant to be a plural, with "Skesis" as singular, but the idea was dropped early on.[76]

Design[edit | edit source]

Early Skeksis design by Brian Froud. This particular design would later be used for skekGra the Conqueror in Age of Resistance.

In visualising the Skeksis, Henson had in mind the seven deadly sins, though as there were ten Skeksis, some sins were invented or used twice.[77] Initially, Brian Froud designed the Skeksis with deep sea fish in mind,[78] but later redesigned them as "part reptile, part predatory bird, part dragon", with a focus on giving them a "penetrating stare".[77] In order to better allude to the connection between the Skeksis and urRu, the two species were given the same shape, but with more angular features for the former.[69] Each Skeksis was conceived with the idea that each one had a defined role, so it was decided to clothe each Skeksis in multicoloured robes to reflect their personalities and thoughts.[78] Froud's idea was for the robes to make the Skeksis look like a mix of a character from a Jacobean tragedy, Dorian Gray and Miss Havisham.[79]

Construction and shooting[edit | edit source]

Steve Whitmire performing skekTek the Scientist.

From a technical standpoint, the Skeksis were the most complex creatures of the film, with the head alone consisting of numerous mechanical components.[80] Most of the work in constructing the Skeksis puppets was done by sculptor Lyle Conway, who had previously worked on doll making and commercials with stop-motion animation.[81] The Skeksis puppets were two and a half times taller than the Gelfling ones,[82] and each one was operated by a main puppeteer who handled head and body movements, and a team of four assistants responsible for facial and eye movements through cables hidden beneath the robes. The puppeteer would hide beneath the robes with an arm extended into the Skeksis' neck and head and a harness placed around the puppeteers hips.[83] As there was little visibility in the suits, each one was fitted with a closed circuit monitor which allowed the puppeteer to see what was happening outside.[84] The hand movements, based on those of Dick Smith, who had lost a finger a decade earlier,[82] were done through flexible rods operated by a hand-held trigger device which flexed each finger.[83] In long shots, where the Skeksis were shown walking, they were portrayed by actors with dwarfism.[85]

Under the supervision of costume designer Sarah Bradpiece, the Skeksis' robes were conceived as reflecting their status as supreme, but decadent beings. Bradpiece fabricated the robes with expensive silks, velvet, lace, brocade, furs and exotic feathers.[86] Some of the Skeksis' jewels were made with melted plastic toy soldiers.[87] Once sewn together, the suits were torn and stained with paint and fake dirt.[86]

The banquet scene was the last to be filmed, and the puppeteers used it as an opportunity to let off steam after months of shooting: while at first the Skeksis puppets were treated with velvet gloves, in this scene they were freely dirtied with rancid noodles and drenched in water, as the latex skin was at that point already crumbling.[88]

The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths[edit | edit source]

For their reintroduction in the graphic novel prequel series The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Brian Froud designed the Skeksis as relatively "young and vigorous, smoother skinned and not yet dependant on the creation of clothes as symbols of their power and personalities". He incorporated elaborate headgear and elevated shoes suggesting social status into the design, as well as fan-like display devices made from animal parts.[89]

They were subsequently redesigned by Alex Sheikman, who gave them clothing suggesting the zenith of their power, prior to their decline as shown in the original film.[90]

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance[edit | edit source]

Warrick Brownlow-Pike performing as skekSil

For The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the Skeksis were conceived as being at the pinnacle of their power, with the Roman Empire at its height being a principle source of inspiration. Although the setting of the series established that there were sixteen Skeksis, Jeff Addiss chose to feature only ten, picking only those that would have been right for the story. From the start, it was decided to make the willing subservience of the Gelfling credible by making the Skeksis capable of being charming.[91]

The Skeksis puppets were constructed in the LA Creature Shop, with the artists using the surviving costumes of the Chamberlain, Ornamentalist and Scroll-Keeper from the original film and old design documents as reference points. As in the original film, they were made from polyurethane around a metal and plastic frame, and were worn as costumes operated by a team of three performers: one for the head and left arm, a second for the right arm, and a third for remotely operating the puppet's facial movements. Unlike the original Skeksis puppets, which were tethered to cables, most of the animatronics in Age of Resistance were done wirelessly. For wide shots, a single puppeteer matching the costume's height was used. In these cases, the head was replaced with a substitute which lacked elaborate animatronics. The puppets' robes were not as distressed as those of the original film in order to make the Skeksis seem less decadent.[92]

Reception[edit | edit source]

The Halosians of Farscape were based on the Skeksis as a homage to Jim Henson[93]

Empire described the Skeksis as among the best realized creatures of The Dark Crystal, stating that they stopped the film from losing itself in "sappy moralism" and that they invited an inquiry on the "avaricious nature of evil."[94] Total Film placed the Skeksis in first place on its list of the 30 greatest creations of Jim Henson, calling them his most iconic and terrifying creations, as well as being "almost too real".[95] Syfy lauded the Skeksis as characters who were "an unfairly overlooked entry in the pantheon of great genre movie villains", citing how they maintained the ugliness and brutality of villains from old fairy tales.[96] David Elsey, a special effects artist for the science fiction series Farscape, paid homage to Jim Henson in the episode Out of Their Minds, modelling the Halosian race on the Skeksis.[93]

The portrayal of the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance has been generally well received among critics. Samantha Nelson of The Verge wrote that the Skeksis compensate for the lack of distinct qualities in the series' heroes,[97] while Collider described them as "delightfully macabre and grotesque".[98]

Interpretations[edit | edit source]

Cheryl Henson stated that the Skeksis and Mystics represented two aspects of the entertainment industry for her father, with the Mystics being the creative side and the Skeksis personifying the stressful financial part.[99]

Peter T. Chattaway, writing on Patheos from a Christian perspective, proposed that the Skeksis represent the physical realm as shown by their greed for both food and power, in contrast to the spiritual Mystics.[100]

Professor Sidney Dobrin, while characterizing the Skeksis as the "epitome of evil", opined that they represent environmental destruction, in contrast to the Mystics who personify environmental harmony, citing how the former abuse the world and torture its inhabitants.[101]

Roxanne Hard of the University of Alberta viewed the Skeksis as the personifications of power, as conceived by Michel Foucault in his work Society Must Be Defended, where he proposed that power was first and foremost based on the imposition of force. As such, Harde notes how the Skeksis seem to revel not so much in the possession of Thra's resources, but in their violent acquisition, and that the intrigues of the Chamberlain reveal how much the species celebrates political maneuvering for its own sake.[102]

Gideon Haberkorn of the University of Mainz noted how the Skeksis' decadence, abuse of science and enslavement of more primitive races are essentially a parody of civilization, in contrast to the Mystics who embody the "noble savage".[103]

Mat Auryn, writing on Patheos from a Kabbalistic perspective, noted how the original 10 Skeksis were evocative of the 10 Qliphoth on the Tree of Life, the dark opposites of the 10 holy Sefira evoked by the Mystics. He also noted similarities between the Skeksis and the Mesopotamian Apkallu, deities sometimes portrayed as bird-headed who watch over the Tree of Life, much as the Skeksis do with the Crystal.[104]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Instagram images[edit | edit source]

The Dark Crystal[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 94. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  2. Lee, J.M (2020), Songs of the Seven Gelfling Clans, Penguin Young Readers Licenses, p. 69, ISBN 0593095596
  3. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 30, ISBN 1683838211
  4. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 6. ISBN 0030624363
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "By Gelfling Hand...". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  6. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 65. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  7. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 112. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same.". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "The Crystal Calls". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "Nothing Is Simple Anymore". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  11. 11.0 11.1 Spurrier, S. & Kennedy Johnson, P., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #10, Archaia, USA, January 2018
  12. 12.0 12.1 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  14. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 22, 43. ISBN 0030624363
  15. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 22. ISBN 0030624363
  16. Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "What Was Sundered and Undone". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  17. 17.0 17.1 Lee, J.M (2019), Heroes of the Resistance, Penguin Young Readers Licences, p. 6, ISBN 978-0.593-09539-3
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 43. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  19. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 185. ISBN 0030624363
  20. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 84. ISBN 0030624363
  21. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 36-37. ISBN 0030624363
  22. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 58, ISBN 1683838211
  23. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 109. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 116. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  25. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 102. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  26. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 42. ISBN 0030624363
  27. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 97. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  28. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 65. ISBN 0030624363
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Froud, B., Dysart, J., Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2012). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. II. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-936393-80-0
  30. 30.0 30.1 Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 30. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Froud, B., Dow Smith, M, Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2015). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. III. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-60886-435-5.
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  33. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 18, ISBN 1683838211
  34. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 70, ISBN 1683838211
  35. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 74, ISBN 1683838211
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  48. Froud, B. (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. p. 113. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  49. Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. pp. 164-164. ISBN 0030624363
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  51. Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "She Knows All the Secrets". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  52. 52.0 52.1 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "Prophets Don't Know Everything". Netflix. August 30, 2019
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