This weekend marks the release of The Jim Henson Company’s latest live-action adaptation, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which is set to kickstart their next round of features. It looks like they’re not waiting to see how it fares at the box office, as Variety reports that they are making headway on another adaptation. Which Witch?, based on the 1979 novel by Eva Ibbotson, is steamrolling ahead with Billy Crystal attached to lead, co-write and produce the animated adventure. They also let slip another very exciting tidbit: a Labyrinth sequel is in development.
Calling the shots on Which Witch? will be Jim Henson’s son, Brian. In addition to commandeering the director’s megaphone, he is set to produce the pic alongside Crystal, Samantha Sprecher and his sister, Lisa Henson. The two siblings will follow in their father’s footsteps, bringing magic from page to screen for a story in which “a wizard holds a contest among the seven witches of Todcaster to determine which witch he will marry.” That wizard will of course be supplied by Crystal, who’s certainly no stranger to lending his unique vocal talents to children’s movies. His turns in Monsters Inc. and Monsters University as the one-eyed Mike Wazowski were his best performances in recent years. When discussing his involvement in Which Witch?, he jokingly made a reference to the character:
“When Brian Henson called me about it, I didn’t know the book,” Crystal said about Ibbotson’s novel. “But it’s a fantastic story, and I brought in a wonderful writer, Michael Feldman, and we’ve written a terrific and inventive script. I’ll play a character as well, which will be great fun because he actually has two eyes.”
After Crystal established himself as one of the greatest comics of the 80s, the last decade saw his career nosedive into schlocky nonsense like Parental Guidance and Small Apartments. As we mentioned above, his best work lately was in the vocal booth on the Monsters franchise, so we’re excited to see him work his magic once more in that capacity.
In addition to Which Witch?, The Jim Henson Company are also reviving some of their most popular franchises. Fraggle Rock is lined up for the big screen treatment (hooray!), as is a sequel to The Dark Crystal. That’s the extent of information of either of those two ventures, but the fact that they’re in the works is exciting enough for us!
Alright, we’ve teased you enough. We know what information you’re after, so let us repeat it once more: they’re also developing a sequel to Labyrinth. Sadly, that’s all we know at this stage. Will David Bowie or Jennifer Connelly return? Who knows! We’d like to see The Goblin King Jareth (Bowie) reunited onscreen with a grown-up Sarah (Connelly), but a trip back into the Labyrinth will be a most welcome treat even if they do bow out.