“The Last Starfighter” is not what anyone would call a good movie.
It was made in the ‘80s, during the height of “Star Wars” mania, and it shows – there’s an evil space empire, a plucky resistance made up of a series of bizarre aliens, and state of the art visual effects that now look like they came from the worst video game cutscene of all time.
This is a movie that was made in a desperate effort to cash in on a popular trend of the time. It didn’t exactly hold up at the time, and years later, it’s really only noteworthy for unironically featuring an alien who looks suspiciously like a giant poo.
Yet, in spite of the fact that “The Last Starfighter” is not a good movie, I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I do believe that there’s an element of its mythos – that a space shooter video game has arrived on Earth as a way to train human teenagers to fight alien wars – is inherently appealing.
What kid hasn’t played a video game that they’re really good at, and imagined a scenario where they’re called upon to put this otherwise useless skill to use in some big, bombastic way?
It seems that I’m not the only fan of “The Last Starfighter” who thinks that the movie’s premise holds promise. Gary Whitta, who co-wrote “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is apparently hard at work on a planned sequel/reboot to the unpopular ‘80s movie.
Whitta even has Matt Allsopp on board, who was the lead concept artist on “Rogue One”, and who helped create a believable recreation of 1977 sci-fi fashion and technology.
Seemingly in an effort to help the project gain traction, Whitta has shared some of Allsopp’s art on Twitter, and it certainly looks like any retro sci-fi fan’s most beautiful daydreams.
Okay, probably shouldn’t show you this so early but here’s a little something I’ve been tinkering on with my co-writer Jonathan Betuel. You might recognize the ships. Thanks to the amazing Matt Allsopp (lead concept artist on ROGUE ONE) for creating these images for us. pic.twitter.com/CIobLYYRHk
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) April 4, 2018
Considering just how well Whitta and Allsopp did in building the world of “Rogue One”, it’s very possible that they’d be able to nail this same kind of loving tribute with “The Last Starfighter”.
What’s more, taking another whack at the basic premise could potentially mean making a movie that doesn’t, let’s face it, kind of suck. The moving pieces in the formula work, so perhaps with Whitta at the helm, this new movie could surpass the original and finally see “The Last Starfighter” reach its potential.
While Hollywood is primarily focused on making crummy reboots of hugely popular films, it’s nice to imagine the opposite happening, as a talented team take a functionally smart but ultimately lackluster movie, and reworking the core concept until it turns into something meaningful and enjoyable.
Where “Rogue One” must unfortunately always be compared against the original “Star Wars: A New Hope”, a new “The Last Starfighter” movie couldn’t help but be an improvement over the first movie in the series.
There’s also the benefit that nobody really cares about “The Last Starfighter” lore, so there’s more freedom to experiment without fans kicking off over every minute change to the existing canon, as we see with certain movies (cough cough “The Last Jedi”).
If all shakes out well, this could be a great new movie that taps into ‘80s “Star Wars” nostalgia while creating something wholly original, revitalizing an ancient, otherwise unremarkable movie.
Now all we need is a “Flight of the Navigator” sequel!