Last Starfighter

If we learned anything this past weekend from Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One it is that there appears to be an audience for nostalgia for the 1980s and videogames. So it seems like a no-brainer that someone would be working on a combination of those two things. In this case that someone is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story screenwriter Gary Whitta and that project appears to be a reboot or remake of the 1984 science-fiction film The Last Starfighter.

Yesterday, Whitta took to twitter to tweet out some concept art pieces showing spacecraft that would be familiar to anyone who saw The Last Starfighter stating that the art is for a project he has been working on with screenwriter Johnathan Betuel, the screenwriter of the original film.

For the uninitiated, The Last Starfighter focused on a teenager (Lance Guest) whose prowess at an arcade video game leads him to be recruited by an alien civilization to serve as their last defense against the invading alien despot “Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.”

Reportedly, there have been rights issues surrounding The Last Starfighter and any possible continuation of the property, be it a remake or sequel. But in an interview with io9, Whitta explains that he searched out Betuel to find out what the actual status of the rights were. And that conversation lead to them developing this new film.

[W]henever I’ve brought up the idea of a Starfighter reboot in meetings, people would always convey excitement and then say that it’s impossible because the rights are a mess. It’s true that it’s not simple, but part of the key to it is, as I understand it (and I’m not a lawyer), Jon still retains some piece of ownership of the original IP, so no one can make a new movie without his participation. I happened to track Jon down, and after I was done pestering him with all my fanboy questions about the original film we started to talk about what a new version might look like. Since then we’ve spent so many hours working on it I’ve long since lost count, but right now we have a fully developed story that is a combination of reboot and sequel that we both think honors the legacy of the original film while passing the torch to a new generation. We’re both very excited about it creatively.

While it made a moderate splash at the box office when it was first released, The Last Starfighter is notable for it being one of the first films to make use of extensive visual effects created entirely by computer. For the film, nearly 27 minutes of footage were created using one of the most powerful computers in the world at the time, a Cray X-MP supercomputer. At the time, it was an amazing feat, though nearly three-and-a-half decades later more realistic effects could probably be realized on a consumer grade laptop.

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About Rich Drees 7205 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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