The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American-British fantasy-adventure film famous for its use of puppets and puppets alone, without any characters played onscreen by human actors.
When the film was originally finished, the studio ran test audiences to gather in reactions. Due to most of the audience being families with small children (alienated by the film's content), those test audience reviews were negative. Against Jim Henson's wishes, approximately 20 minutes of film were cut, and re-written dialogue and monologues added to make the film more clear to a broader audience. There are 2 available workprints of The Dark Crystal: A murky VHS transfer from a color workprint, taken from a Laserdisc for the DVD/Blu-ray releases, and a black-and-white workprint made to test different versions of the score. Both are very similar in editing, but the latter workprint is rumored to be longer than the color workprint.
- Jen originally had no idea of what to do with the shard, and the big question until he and Kira reach the old Gelfling temple is, "What is The Dark Crystal, and what do I do with the shard?" This was changed on the theatrical release to make it more obvious.
- A scene where the Ur-ru hum originally was supposed to take place after Aughra drops the vase of shards in front of Jen, but was moved to an earlier point to introduce the "Mystics".
- Funeral scenes were removed.
- All of the Skeksis scenes were re-dubbed into English, when they originally had their own language.
- Dialogue between Jen and Aughra at Aughra's home is different.
- Jen has no monologues, the entire Dreamfast sequence is devoid of any dialogue, and instances in the theatrical release where Jen is concerned about the Crystal are completely absent in the workprint.
- After the Skeksis ritual, the camera fades through landscapes and mountains to the canyon where Jen lives. There, we see Jen swimming naked; he plays his flute for a while while Ur-Ru appears and tell Jen someone wants to see him and that a storm is coming.
- The scene where Jen hears his master dying words is completely different here than in the theatrical release, to make the speech less vague and confusing; they used alternate footage and re-written dialogue. Jen's Master also dissolves in this scene, rather than later in the film.
- After the Skeksis emperor dies, his remains are burned in an Archaic fashion. There are some scenes here that aren't in the color workprint, as well as a few extra shots of Jen leaving the Valley.
- In the black-and-white workprint, the Haashkeekah (Trial by Stone) is longer; according to the Marvel comic adaptation, the Haashkeekah consisted of 2 challengers hitting a stone 3 times, and the one who hits it harder is the winner. This was changed in the color workprint and theatrical release to keep the running time lower; the Chamberlain hits the rock only once, while the Garthim General hits it twice.
- Deleted dialogue in Aughra's place, here played by another actress. In the Color Workprint, Aughra is played by Frank Oz.
- Deleted shot of an exterior of Aughra's place supposed to take place after the Ur-Ru hum.
- Deleted explanation of the "Dreamfast".
- Alternate Gelfling Song.
- Deleted scene during the Podling party: Jen asks Kira how long can they stay there, to which she replies with "As long as we want," when Jen gets up and dances with a podling, replying "Then I don't want to go, ever!" to Kira, who looks at him, shocked.
- Scene of Jen looking at a lizard creature at the Skeksis's castle dungeons.
- Alternate shot of the Garthim General (New Emperor) looking at the Chamberlain while Kira is dragged to the Scientist's lab. This scene was replaced in the theatrical release with a shot of the General saying "As for the Whimpering Chamberlain, return his robes to him."
- During the climax, there are countless extended scenes that range from more shots of the Garthim collapsing, one more shot of The Podlings returning to normal, an extended shot of Jen approaching Kira while the Skeksis panic around him as a version of The Love Theme plays, and low-angle shots of The Priest, the General and The Chamberlain dodging rubble falling from the ceiling.
- Different voice acting for the Urskeks.
- The Dark Crystal (Lost Arabic and Farsi Dub)