video game wizard turned intergalactic flyboy, “The Last Starfighter” may be returning to the big screen.
Speaking to Yahoo! about the legacy and enduring popularity of the 1984 film, screenwriter Jonathan Betuel hinted that a sequel could be on the way – at long last.
“There are a lot of things going on that will see the light of day,” he said.
Rumours of a sequel to Nick Castle’s beloved science-fiction adventure film, starring Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stewart (with a scene-stealing cameo by Robert Preston), have been around for years – and not surprisingly. With everyone from Edgar Wright to Steven Spielberg confessing their love for the the movie, it’s not at all improbable to imagine a few have tried to resurrect the brand at different points. And they have.
While not a huge hit on release, “Last Starfighter” developed a rabid cult following once it hit VHS.“It’s not generally part of the conversation when we talk about the great pop culture movies of the ’80s,” said Gary Whitta, who had been working on one of the “Star Wars” spin-off films until recently’. “But once you bring it up, people perk up, and you realize there is this great undercurrent of fondness and admiration.”
The filmmakers had originally intended to do a “Last Starfighter” sequel in the ’80s, but the film’s very moderate box office temporarily put those conversations and plans on hold.
Today, Universal has the theatrical and home video rights locally while Warner Bros has the international theatrical rights. The decision to do a sequel lies with Betuel, and Universal own the right to remake the 1984 movie.Another source says that Universal and Warners co-control remake and sequel rights.
“You’ve got this completely byzantine, impenetrable situation where no one seems to know exactly what the deal is,” Whitta said. “Whenever I’ve been in a room in Hollywood, the conversation [goes to], ‘Is there a way to do Starfighter?’ [Executives] will say, ‘We looked into it — there’s no way to get the rights; we don’t understand but can’t get them.’ There are a lot of writers who would kill to have the opportunity to tell a new Starfighter story.”
Whitta, who wrote “Book of Eli”, has an idea for a sequel that would involve Alex’s younger brother. The writer might have trouble securing the rights though, especially if Seth Rogen and Steven Spielberg have tried but failed to get the greenlight to exploit the brand.
Rumour has it that Betuel, who as stated earlier owns the sequel rights, has been blocking anyone from doing anything “Last Starfighter”.
“I saw that, and it painted me as the Howard Hughes, bah humbug, standing in the way,” he said, laughing. “That was hilarious. Hilarious and inaccurate.”
More the case, Betuel is trying too.
Betuel says he’s been actively trying to bring “Last Starfighter” back to the big screen for years now – and even he is struggling to get a greenlight.
“This gets tied up in all kinds of stuff [regarding] what the next step is, and I’m working on that right now… There are a lot of things going on that will see the light of day,” he said, keeping things vague. “It’s complicated, it’s great, it’s a privilege, and it’s going to be taken care of… It’s good to be working with a team that wants to see it go. I think that the story deserves to continue.”
So there you go, if Betuel’s comments are anything to go by, a sequel to one of the most beloved family films of the ’80s might be on the way!