A sequel to 1984's The Last Starfighter is closer to happening than it's ever been, screenwriter Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) revealed during a Twitch stream Thursday afternoon. "[We are] right on the one-yard line," he said. "After pushing the boulder uphill for years, we are very, very close ... I believe it will happen."
Working with the first movie's scribe, Jonathan Betuel, the writer has come up with a pitch for a follow-up entitled The Last Starfighters. He also showed off a sizzle reel of concept art (drawn by Matt Allsopp) set to a newly-orchestrated version of Craig Safan's theme arranged by Chris Tilton.
"We weren't interested in re-inventing or rebooting or remaking the movie," Whitta explained. "We wanted to do a sequel that kept the original in canon; which kept the original storyline and honored the original. The idea was to pass the torch to a new generation of heroes in the same way that The Force Awakens does. You wanted to see Han Solo and Princess Leia, but at the same time, we all knew that they weren't gonna be the heroes of the movie going forward. It was a new, young [cast]: Rey, Finn, Poe. That movie was about passing the torch and we wanted to do a movie that [does the same]. We called it a 'requel.' It's a sequel, but it also kind of reboots and brings the franchise back."
Check out the sizzle reel (via Whitta) below:
"That's what we want the movie to sound like [and] that's kind of what we want the movie to look like," Whitta added, while voicing his hope that the internet can help create even more momentum for the sequel, à la 2016's Deadpool. "Jonathan and I are working really, really hard to try and make this movie a reality ... Maybe it'll help. Like I said, I think we're already very close, but anytime that there's social media buzz and people get excited about, it helps other people get excited as well. Hopefully, one day you'll see it in a movie theater. It might look and sound a little bit like that. That's the movie Jonathan and I are excited about making."
“This is a movie with all the bells and whistles, and it won’t presuppose that you’ve seen the original film,” Betuel said last fall. “There’ll be references here and there, but it’ll carry the saga forward.”
Directed by Nick Castle (famous for playing Michael Meyers throughout the Halloween series), The Last Starfighter is notable for its early use of CGI techniques first adopted by Disney's Tron two years earlier. Its story centers around Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), an impoverished teenager living in a trailer park who is recruited into a cosmic battle after beating a video game meant to discover the galaxy's greatest warriors. Despite a lackluster box office run of $28 million in North America, the movie has gained a cult status over the decades, inspiring scores of '80s kids like Whitta and best-selling author Ernest Cline (Ready Player One, Armada).
"The reason why The Last Starfighter is one of the only movies from the 1980s that hasn't been remade yet is not because there's no interest from Hollywood. There's huge interest for it," Whitta said. "The real reason is because Jon, through some crazy loophole of the way that his contract was written ... still controls a small piece of the rights and no one can make it without his cooperation. That's why he's turned down all these offers to make the sh***y straight-to-DVD version over the years because he's holding out for the big version that we now want to make."