Months after leaving Marvel and his Doctor Strange sequel, director Scott Derrickson has landed a new project—the sequel to the beloved 1986 David Bowie classic Labyrinth (I suppose this now supplants the previous iteration being written by Nicole Perlman). Perhaps this can be the gothic horror fantasy that Derrickson was not allowed to make at Marvel, as Labyrinth is well known and long adored for being a f-cking WEIRD piece of cinema that has inspired one of the most devoted and creative fanbases in the world. (You think Comic-Con is a weirdo paradise? Go to the Labyrinth Masquerade, it’s like fantasy nerd Carnival.) I’m actually relieved this will be a sequel and not a remake/reboot, because I can’t imagine what Labyrinth fans would be like when riled up. These people have the patience to make period-accurate eighteenth-century fairy queen ballgowns and goblin Viking warrior armor, I cannot fathom how that kind of dedication translates into an online fan rage campaign.
Labyrinth was directed by Jim Henson, written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones, and stars David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, so Derrickson and his team have some awfully big shoes to fill. Maggie Levin, who made the “My Valentine” episode of Into the Dark, steps in to script the sequel, and Jim Henson’s offspring, Lisa and Brian Henson, are producing alongside Derrickson and his collaborator, C. Robert Cargill (one of the writers of Doctor Strange). That’s not a bad group to start with, but this is really going to come down to who takes over as Jareth, the Goblin King. Labyrinth is a cult film, I don’t expect everyone to know it, but Bowie is so iconic, I bet even the unfamiliar have seen Bowie in the teased mullet and blue eye shadow before.
Who can fill that giant mullet wig? It has to be someone with so much personality that they transcend the inevitable Bowie comparisons just by doing something utterly unique, something only they could do, the same way Bowie was so completely Bowie in Labyrinth. That’s a VERY tall order, and casting for this project will be under intense fan scrutiny, adding to the overall pressure to “get it right” and start on the right foot, with fans onside for a sequel. Two names do immediately come to mind, though, who could do wholly unique spins on Jareth: Robert Pattinson and Lakeith Stanfield.