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Labyrinth 2: Recasting Jareth The Goblin King For The Sequel


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The Labyrinth sequel is moving forward, which means the role of Jareth the Goblin King will need to be recast - and here's who can take over the character next. The incomparable David Bowie famously played the part in the 1986 original and it’s difficult for most viewers to even conceive of any other actor following in his footsteps. However, now that Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson has taken over as director of Labyrinth 2, there is sure to be another iteration of the Goblin King.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth may have been a commercial failure in theaters, but the movie has gone on to become a beloved cult classic in the years since its release. There had been rumblings of another Labyrinth in the works for a couple of years when the news officially broke not long after Bowie’s tragic passing in 2016. Then-screenwriter, Nicole Perlman, quickly clarified that Labyrinth would be a sequel, as opposed to a reboot, but the unfortunate timing initially made fans wary. Fede Alvarez was set to helm the film as of 2017, but stepped down after three years, leaving the project’s future uncertain. Now that Derrickson is in the director’s chair, with Maggie Levin writing the script, Labyrinth 2 seems to have finally gained some traction.

Even those only casually acquainted with Labyrinth know that Bowie’s name has become synonymous with the film. The late star remains an unparalleled musician and his portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King is absolutely unforgettable. It will be impossible to find someone to fill Bowie’s boots (or his trademark codpiece, for that matter), but here are some actors who could at least make the role their own in Labyrinth 2.

Janelle Monáe

The best way to handle having an irreplaceable main character is not to try to replace him at all. Perhaps Jareth named a successor or conceived an heir in the last couple of decades. He may have even been usurped, but honestly, in a realm as magical as the one created for Labyrinth, anything is possible. Janelle Monáe is an incredible musician with an undeniable stage presence who could not only seamlessly slip into the role of the Goblin King or Queen, but also write some epic songs for the part. She has also previously worked alongside Jim Henson's creations already, thanks to an appearance on Sesame Street.

Monáe is a fantastic actress, appearing in critically acclaimed films such as Hidden Figures and Moonlight, and she can currently be seen in Homecoming season 2 on Amazon Prime. She is an amazing songwriter with an impressive vocal range, who has even previously covered Bowie's “Heroes”. With so little known about the Labyrinth sequel, it is impossible to say how large a role music will actually play in the film, but it’s difficult to imagine the movie wouldn’t incorporate such a vital element of the original. Monáe’s androgynous style would pay homage to Bowie’s Jareth, but the unique performer would have no problem crafting a character who could stand on her own.

Jared Leto

These days, Jared Leto is best known for his divisive turn as the Joker in Suicide Squad, as well as his starring role in the upcoming Morbius film for Sony. However, he’s also an Oscar-winning actor (Dallas Buyers Club) who has spent years showing his range as a performer with one fascinating part after another. He's appeared in films such as Chapter 27, Mr. Nobody, and Blade Runner 2049.

Aside from having the acting chops to take on the role of Jareth, Leto also has both the punk rock sensibilities and ethereal presence needed to make the character more than a pale facsimile of what came before. He is a musician with an excellent voice, who has been fronting the band 30 Seconds to Mars since the late ‘90s. If the Labyrinth sequel chooses to go a more traditional route and give fans another Goblin King, Leto would certainly be a worthy contender.

Lady Gaga

Another performer who could defy the unavoidable comparisons to Bowie would be Lady Gaga. Much like Bowie, Mother Monster is truly one of a kind. She is a style icon who’s immensely talented when it comes to both composition and performance, meaning she could ensure the Labyrinth sequel includes songs that are every bit as memorable as those featured in the original film.

Gaga has also been branching out more and more into acting, with roles in American Horror Story, as well as her unforgettable turn as Ally in A Star is Born. Plus, her memorable Bowie tribute at the 2016 Grammys proved that she could not only become a part of his incredible legacy, but also build upon it. Aside from all that, Gaga already has experience acting opposite Muppets, so the creatures of Labyrinth will be somewhat familiar territory. Regardless of how her connection to Jareth is handled - again, it’s a fantasy world, so the possibilities are endless - if anyone can put their own stamp on such an iconic role, it’s Lady Gaga.

Neil Patrick Harris

Lady Gaga isn’t the only one who has acted alongside Jim Henson's creations. Neil Patrick Harris also has experience that would serve him well in the Labyrinth sequel. He not only showed up in 2011’s The Muppets, but recently appeared on Apple TV+’s Fraggle Rock: Rock On! as well. Harris also co-created a web series for The Jim Henson Company (under its Henson Alternative Banner) called Neil’s Puppet Dreams, which featured the actor and, of course, a bunch of puppets.

Many fans fondly remember Harris as lovable lothario Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, but Harris has proven himself as one of the most versatile performers in Hollywood. Aside from transformative roles such as Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events, he also played the titular part in the short-lived, but much beloved Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and acted in critically-acclaimed films such as Gone Girl. Plus, Harris has quite a set of pipes and even starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. The actor could definitely bring a different energy to the role of Jareth.


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