Jim Henson will forever be immortalized because of his priceless contributions to film, television, and pop culture history. Without Henson’s remarkably creative mind and skilled use of puppetry, the world might never have had The Muppets or even iconic classics like The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986). Henson’s films are masterpieces of their time and it’s hard to imagine any of them looking any different. However, according to ComicBook.com, David Bowie wasn’t the only one being considered for the film. In fact, there very likely could have been an entirely different rock star portraying Jareth, The Goblin King.
It’s hard to believe, but Labyrinth just turned 35-years-old and Jim Henson’s son Brian, sat down with ComicBook.com to reflect on his memories about the film and its history. During the interview Henson distinctly recalled a moment when his father approached him and asked him his opinion on who he should cast as Jareth. Henson said that while Sting came up as a possible choice, that it really came down to choosing between David Bowie and Michael Jackson.
Henson revealed that while either would have been a viable choice, that he remembers telling his dad to choose David Bowie. He prided his expertise on his frequent college outings to various night venues and thought when it came down to it, David Bowie would be more well-suited to the role.
Henson went on to say that he firmly believes that ultimately David Bowie was the right choice for the role, not just because his image was arguably more well-suited to it, but that since Michael Jackson was known for his perfectionism he might not have been happy with the problematic proprietary puppet technology that they were using on set. Slash Film pointed out that Michael Jackson’s performances were always curated and rehearsed, whereas David Bowie was much more adept to pivoting his performances on the spot. Thus, David Bowie was, in a sense, destined for the role of the Goblin King.
Brian Henson’s trip down memory lane is not the only thing that fans were privy to for the movie’s 35th anniversary. IGN highlighted in a tribute article how beloved the film remains even after so much time has passed. Recently, fans who were able to make it to select theaters got to relive the film’s magic on the big screen. In addition to David Bowie, fans were reminded that Labyrinth also featured a very young Jennifer Connelly, whose career was launched as a result of the dark fantasy film.
David Bowie will forever be remembered not only for his much-beloved work on Labyrinth but for his extraordinary contributions to both the music and film industries. The distinguished legend had received countless awards and recognition over the course of his life and career, including an official induction to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. David Bowie, much like Jim Henson, is perpetually immortalized for the reach and effect of his music and the endearing performances that he left in the hearts and minds of his global fanbase.