Earlier today Variety reported that the 1984 cult classic space opera The Last Starfighter would be getting a reboot of sorts, with a TV series tentatively titled The Starfighter Chronicles. Very few details have been released, but word is the show will “embrace virtual reality” and stuff or whatever. Are you ready to once again broker an end to hostilities between the Ryan Star League and the Ko-Dan Empire? Yeah, me neither.
For all you millenial whipper-snappers, The Last Starfigher was a film about a kid named Alex Rogan who played an arcade game called Starfighter and became the highest scoring player. He’s approached by the games inventor (played brilliantly by the late, great Robert Preston), who reveals that the game is actually a test made to find someone with “the gift” who could help end the real conflict in outer space. It’s basically Stargate Universe meets Captain Eo in a super cheesy kind of way – totally the movie your parents would let you rent for a sleepover party with your friends.
According to Variety, the new show doesn’t outright copy The Last Starfighter, but rather tells a contained story about alien law enforcement within the mythos created by screenwriter Jonathan R. Betuel, who until recently wasn’t aware the rights to the franchise were his. Betuel will team up with LA-based virtual reality entertainment company Surreal.tv whose goal is to combine linear storytelling with VR. No word yet on the timeline for this new endeavor, or whether this project will seek to engage the films original stars, Lance Guest or Catherine Mary Stewart.
We can’t help but raise our eyebrows a’la Spock, given the track record of “Virtual Reality“, which many sci-fi/fantasy writers and enthusiasts say may have jumped the shark given all the advances in communication over the past fifteen years. The notion of an immersive multimedia experience doesn’t resonate the same way it did when your computer ran on a hand roter and some chewing gum. Today audiences want more, they want the impossible, but do they want a new interface that changes the status quo? Who’s to say, especially given how quickly trends can set the standard for entertainment (Social Media and Streaming Content, for example).
Perhaps Betuel is banking on Ready Player One changing the game a little? Who’s to say, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for this remake/not-reboot/off-shoot.