The Podlings, or Pod People, are a simple, kindhearted race in The Dark Crystal. They live in The Village of the Pod People, located in the forests of Thra. They enjoy singing, dancing, and celebrating, and are very close to nature. They have their own language separate from the common language of Thra (which gives the effect that viewers of the movie will not be able to understand their speech). Kira was raised by the Podlings after her mother was killed, and they think of her as one of their own.
Unfortunately, the Podlings' lives have not been entirely peaceful. After the Gelflings were exterminated, the Skeksis turned to the Podlings, the other sentient species of the area, for slaves and essence. This was accomplished by sending the Garthim to raid the village and capture Podlings, bringing them back to The Castle of the Crystal for essence-draining.
The term "Pod People" is a rendering of their native name which means "master gardeners who live in bulging plants."
In The World of the Dark Crystal, concept designer Brian Froud commented that he based the Podlings off of potatoes, and originally they were going to have, like potatoes, eyes situated in various odd positions on their heads, but the concept was dropped as it would have made them look too unsettling.
The Podlings were voiced by Barry Dennen, Patrick Monckton, Miki Iveria, and Sue Westerby. Their design/fabrication team consisted of Bob Payne, Amy Van Gilder, Mike Quinn, Cheryl Henson, Marianne Harms, Nick Forder, Sarah Monzani, Peter Saunders, and Debbie Coda. Polly Smith, Barbara Davis, and Ellis Duncan were associate costume designers.