Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Dark Crystal (Sideshow Collectibles)

The Dark Crystal
Sideshow Collectibles

The Dark Crystal was an odd film for family friendly Jim Henson to develop back in the 80's. It was almost as if he was playing a joke on movie going patrons who had long since supported his kid themed shows such as The Muppets and Sesame Street. For whatever reason, Mr. Henson unleashed this dark film on unsuspecting children, causing much fear amongst their little minds.

Unless you've got pockets so deep that your hands never reach the bottom of your pants, you're probably not looking to get the original Aviva prototypes based on the classic Jim Henson film, The Dark Crystal - Not that you'd have much luck finding them anyway. Sadly, if you're a fan of the film, and want to find some of the few toy related items out there, you're most likely setting your sites on the still expensive, but more easily ascertained twelve inch dolls from Sideshow Collectibles.

When first released, Sideshow Collectibles sold each doll for $40.00 plus shipping directly from their website. Unfortunately if you want one these days, you're looking at spending anywhere from two to three times that.


The dolls are spot on depictions of their screen characters, and that in and of itself is a great reason to get excited about this series. The sculpt work and clothing is amazing - Particularly all the layers to the clothing. A feature that fans really enjoyed with the Kira doll was that it included her pet Fizzgig - Also screen accurate.



The Dark Crystal
1982 (Unproduced)

Okay, but let's be honest here. We really didn't want to talk about the Sideshow Collectibles dolls. No, instead it's these prototypes that really take center stage for this post. Yes, the SC dolls are fantastic, but these here...These are just vaulted nostalgia.

Way back in 1982, Aviva, a subdivision of Hasbro, contracted with Jim Henson to develop and release an action figure line based on the film. Though it's unknown why the plug was eventually pulled on the line, fans speculate that it was due to the film performing horribly at the box office.

Despite not going into mass production, a handful of prototypes were produced of both the basic and deluxe figures. Though it is unknown just how many in total were produced, to date there are two complete sets of the six carded basic figures, and two non packaged sets of the three deluxe figures confirmed to exist.

For those of you who have done a search for these particular figures before on Google, you've most likely seen these images before in the collection of Justin Kerns back in 2002. We've cleaned them up a bit, and presented them in our own layout, however the actual images are the property of Mr. Kerns.

As we mentioned above, six figures were initially planned for the line. These particular carded versions below are one of the two known sets. The bubbles are hand made, and attached to the cardback via staples.

Jen*Kira*Happy Pod Peasant*Skeksis
Aughra*Slave Pod Peasant

At the time of his original posting of the photos, Mr. Kerns was the known owner of ten of the twelve carded prototype figures produced (one full set, and four additional). At that time he offered the duplicates up for sale, so it is unknown as to who owns them at this point.

The cardback for the set was produced in black and white, and it is unknown if a color version would have been used for the final product. This particular version featured hand drawn images of the figures as well as directions for fitting the six crystal pieces together.

One crystal piece was packaged with each figure, and would have been packaged to the right of each figure with their included accessory.

Below are the three prototype versions of the deluxe figures. As we mentioned above, there are two complete sets known to exist. Unlike the basic figures, the deluxe versions are not known to exist in their packaging which would have been rectangular window boxes.




In all honesty, your chances of finding a set of the Aviva prototypes is pretty much non existent. You'd probably have more of a chance of winning the lottery, and it would probably cost you a fair chunk of those winnings to afford a set if you found them.

These items are so rare that even production photos have sold for as much as $750.00 for a set. That's right, not the actual toys themselves, but production photographs. To say there's a demand for The Dark Crystal toys is apparently an understatement, and an opportunity that someone out there should capitalize on. Perhaps with Funko's recent popularity with retro style figures, it's not so impossible to think that a line of retro designed The Dark Crystal figures could happen.

Join us next time when we take a look at Gangsta Babies!

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  1. My fingers are crossed that these prototypes will be resurrected in the upcoming Funko line. They announced the license in December, but didn't show any products at Toy Fair this year (despite mentioning an August-Sept release). The original Aliens prototypes making up the first Funko ReAction release were from Kenner, who is now Hasbro. This is the first time I had heard that Aviva was also a part of Hasbro... I think that's a good sign!

    1. Yours and mine too. Really hoping that Funko does something with this line.


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