Gary Whitta, screenwriter for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is working on a reboot of 80s sci-fi film The Last Starfighter. The original 1984 film focused on Alex Rogan becoming exceptionally good at the arcade game Starfighter. Once he becomes the highest scoring player, he’s approached by the game’s creator who reveals it’s actually a recruiting tool for a real intergalactic conflict.
There have been rumblings over a potential sequel or reboot to the film for a number of years since it’s a sci-fi property that can be easily updated for contemporary times, with modern CGI being able to update the sci-fi elements easily. Whitta seems to be finally making the leap, reportedly working on something with original film’s writer, Jonathan Betuel.
He posted this to Twitter:
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
io9 then reached out to Whitta to get more details on the reboot: “Whenever 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”, Whitta said.
“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”.
After then tracking Betuel down, the two got to talking about a potential reboot and what a new version of the film would 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 honours the legacy of the original film while passing the torch to a new generation. We’re both very excited about it creatively”.
The project is still in the very early stages of development, though Whitta mentions they have had plenty of talks with Universal, but are determined to get it made either way. The Last Starfighter might not have the built-in audience of something like Star Wars, but 80s nostalgia is strong right now, and this is a project many studios can probably see as a very profitable one.