If you’re watching TV in the modern age, you just have to accept that there’s a monumental chance that one of your favorite movies is going to get developed as a TV show. And for the massive cult fandom that the 1984 film The Last Starfighter has earned over the years, do whatever you need to do to cope with the news that a follow-up to the sci-fi flick could be making it to the small screen in the future, complete with a digital upgrade. It’s not quite what we wanted, but we’re on board for now.
The project, tentatively being called The Starfighter Chronicles, is the creation of the film’s screenwriter Jonathan Betuel, and it seems like it will serve as more of a spiritual successor than anything directly tied into the original film’s universe and characters. So we won’t be seeing a new version of teenage video game powerhouse Alex Rogan taking on Xur again, nor will we watch an adult Alex Rogan telling stories about that fateful time just before having to face him again. According to Variety, this new entry in the would-be franchise can be described as “a serialized story about alien law enforcement.” The possibilities are endless, no?
What makes this gig appealing to the curious minds, beyond the universe in which it’s set, is the fact that Betuel is working with the company Surreal.tv to make the potential series a media pioneer that works actual virtual reality into the viewing experience. Normal TV fans wouldn’t have a problem watching it, but the plan is to have those with dedicated virtual reality headsets able to enter specific scenes. Initial ideas involve allowing users to take “a walk” around spaceships, or to put them smack dab in the middle of an alien firefight. That’s the kind of gimmick that gets me excited, no matter what the final product looks like.
Like its early 1980s compadre Tron, The Last Starfighter was one of the first movies to implement computer graphics into the visuals. Its dated look today only adds to its novelty, for me, but it’s no surprise that Betuel is on board with retaining the advanced tech in the story’s new form. Maybe it’ll look cool now and terrible in 30 years, but the point is that it could be one of the first TV projects to integrate not just a second screen, but a second reality.
This wouldn’t be the first time that someone wanted to head back to The Last Starfighter. Filmmakers like Stephen Spielberg and Seth Rogen have attempted to get film sequels made over the years, but Betuel and other rights issues got in the way. Maybe he can get the Wachowskis to be a part of it, now that they’re making TV shows. I can’t tell if I’m hearing groans from the readers or applause.
Stay tuned for more info on this intriguing project.