Explorers Joe Dante
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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Paramount turning Joe Dante '80s classic Explorers into a TV show

Contributed by
Nov 6, 2018

Paramount is reaching back into its past and cashing in on the current '80s nostalgia espoused by modern pop culture staples like The Goldbergs and Stranger Things. According to a report by Deadline, the studio is turning Joe Dante's Explorers into a TV series, something that should excite children of the Reagan Era.

The project has some serious talent behind it, with Cary Fukunaga (Maniac) and David Lowery (Pete's Dragon) producing as well as penning the pilot script and story bible. If the series is picked up, one of the duo will direct the first episode. Eric Luke, screenwriter of the original film, is on board as a producer. 

Released in the summer of 1985 (and a mere week after Back to the Future), Explorers stars a very young Ethan Hawke as a boy obssessed with old school sci-fi films. He and his friend (an equally cherub-faced River Phoenix) come into possession of alien blueprints and end up building a spaceship that takes them on an "out of this world" adventure. 

Despite special effects by ILM and practical ones by Rob Bottin (John Carpenter's The Thing) and positive reviews from critics, the film was a box office bomb. In the years since, however, it has gained a cult following and stands as a prime example of the "Adventurous Kid" genre of the 1980s, on level with Spielberg's E.T. and Donner's Goonies.

Indeed, Stranger Things owes a debt of gratitude to Explorers, whose simplistic movie poster (below) is enough to evoke those simpler times of cinematic youngsters taking charge and rushing into the unknown on their bikes while the adults were pretty much useless. We'd be surprised if the upcoming third season of Stranger Things—set in the summer of '85—doesn't mention of Explorers in one of its episodes. 

Explorers movie poster Joe Dante 1985

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Hayden Kiessling (Maniac), James Johnston (A Ghost Story), and Toby Halbrooks (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) are also producing the developing TV show, which may take a while to see the light of day, given the participants' busy schedules.

Right now, Fukunaga is about to direct the 25th James Bond movie, whereas Lowery is attached to the fantasy film The Green Knight

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