The NeverEnding Story's Childlike Empress Is Starring in an '80s Fantasy Tribute Film

Say my name, say my name.
Image: Warner Bros.

The Childlike Empress has grown up and she’s taking lead in a new “lo-fi fantasy film,” alongside ‘80s faces like Sean Astin, Rhea Perlman, and Christopher Lloyd. Of course, it wouldn’t be an old-school fantasy flick without some Jim Henson puppets.


According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tami Stronach is starring and executive producing a new children’s fantasy film called Man & Witch. This will be the first major role she’s had since her debut in 1984's The NeverEnding Story, where she played the Ivory Tower-dwelling Childlike Empress—a character a generation of fans became obsessed with (just look up the cosplay tips). The film—which will also star Lost’s Michael Emerson—was written by co-star (and Stronach’s husband) Greg Steinbruner and is about a witch (Stronach) who loses her heart to a “hapless goatherd” who she’s tasked with breaking a powerful curse.

It’s fitting that Stronach is returning for a film that’s described as a “heartwarming homage to the lo-fi fantasy films of the 1980s,” considering that’s where she set her roots. It’s also where co-star Astin made his start, acting in some of the most iconic movies of the 1980s, like The Goonies and Rudy. In Man & Witch, Astin will play the character of Dog, one of a few puppet creations that the Jim Henson Creature Shop will be making for the production. The talking animals, which also include a sheep and goose, will be played by a mix of real animals and Jim Henson puppets.

This project is coming on the heels of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, which has yet to announce a (seemingly unlikely) second season, but it’s a good time for old-school puppetry to make a comeback. Production on Man & Witch is set to start this fall, pending any possible covid-19 delays, and no expected release date has been announced.

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I remember reading The Neverending Story and just thinking that the name “Neverending Story” was so right on the money as it just droned on forever. It totally put me off ever wanting to watch the movie, and when I finally did see the movie as an adult, thought it was pretty bad.  I would have been 12 in 1984, so I was even the target audience.