Prequel to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth announced

Posted by CB Droege

It’s been just over 25 years since the release of Labyrinth, a puppet-based fantasy musical by Jim Henson, and now, a long rumored graphic novel prequel is finally in the works. 

Labyrinth tells the story of sullen teenager Sarah, played by the talented Jennifer Connelly, who must venture into the mysterious labyrinth of the Goblin Kingdom on a trek of personal discovery and epiphany, to journey to the center of the Goblin City and confront Jareth the Goblin King.

There, she asserts her independence from childish things, and thus breaks his curse and rescues her half-brother Toby from becoming a goblin.

The film, however, spends very little time explaining Jareth’s motivations for taking Toby or his fascination with Sarah.

Terry Jones’ original screen play implied that Jareth had once been Sarah’s mother’s lover, and there was even a hint that Jareth may have been Sarah’s real father. However, when Jim Henson and his singing puppets took control of the picture - and David Bowie was cast as the eccentric, singing villain - that sub-plot was removed in favor of a more ominous romantic obsession with Sarah, which took better advantage of Bowie’s status as a sex-symbol of the 80s. 

Who knows how the film would have been received if the original plot had been maintained, but whatever it did for the integrity of the story, it left lots of questions open for Jareth’s motivations. There is a lot of story to be told about where the man came from, and how he became the Goblin King. The upcoming graphic novel seeks to answer these questions.

Recently, Entertainment Weekly sat down with Stephen Christy, the editor-in-chief at Archaia, where the graphic novel is being developed. He summarizes the book for the publication, saying, "It’s the story of how Jareth is brought into the labyrinth for the first time. So, it doesn’t deal with Sarah, it doesn’t deal with Toby or anything like that."

"It’s a very tragic story that is the opposite of Sarah’s, which has triumph at the end," Christy continues. "It’s a prequel, so we know ... how it’s going to end: Jareth is going to be the Goblin King … so we’re showing how he’s pulled into the labyrinth for the first time. ... We’re switching up the dynamic of it, but what we’re doing is completely true to the spirit of the original."

He goes on to describe some of his ideas for the project which have not yet been finalized, like the possibility of including David Bowie in the project or including a soundtrack audiences can sing-along with.

Look for the as yet untitled Labyrinth prequel to hit shelves during the 2012 holiday season.