In 1984, an unassuming little science fiction picture trickled out of 20th Century Fox named The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Directed and produced by W.D. Richter and written by Earl Mac Rauch, this wacky little time travel romp dealt with the adventures of one cocksure Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) – physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician. In order to save the universe, Banzai leads a crack team of adventurers across time and space in a souped-up Ford F-350 to defeat a band of interdimensional creeps commanded by the scenery-chewing Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow).
Over the years, Buckaroo Banzai, as it’s affectionately been shortened to, grew into a cult phenomenon. Now, super-fan Kevin Smith wants to bring it back by taking it to the small screen.
In a recent episode of his podcast Hollywood Babble-On (via Uproxx), Smith (Yoga Hosers) sidestepped from his usual Batman V Superman rant to discuss recent new opportunities (skip to minute 11 for the full chat). It seems that directing an episode of The Flash apparently gave the director a wealth of new Hollywood opportunities – which the nerd luminary says he’d never had before, “not even in the beginning, when they liked me and s**t.” Smith recently met with MGM about bringing the category-bending film into television show. He quips about why he wants to adapt the quirky flick.
“ [Its] one of the reasons why I make f***ed up movies and can’t be like J.J. [Abrams] and s**t.”
MGM seems to be on board, because Smith claims that they’ll be meeting again next month to “take it out and try to find a home for it.” On the podcast, Smith spelled out his concepts for the TV adaption, as he did for the studios:
“Basically you just do the entire movie for season one, then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.”
Smith’s concept makes sense, while trying to stay as true to the original film as possible. If there are any legitimate criticisms of the cult flick, it’s simply that there’s way too much going on for most folks to follow. Spreading Buckaroo Banzai’s somewhat convoluted plot out over the first season would give Smith and co. a great chance to explore the nuances of the characters and the multiverse. The film’s conclusion also teases a sequel, one which the classic B-movie’s diminishing theatrical returns denied fans. Smith’s imaginative mind could run circles inside the wild world of Buckaroo Banzai.
Admittedly, an attempt to remake Buckaroo Banzai feels like yet case of Hollywood’s obsession with 80s and 90s reboots. However, Kevin Smith, as a fanboy-turned-director, typically has a respectful take on the properties and films he’s worked on. If Smith and MGM could wrangle in Richter and original writer Rauch, they could actually enhance the property and bring new fans into the fold. And, dare it be said, a dimension-hopping show based on the film could spawn a shared universe.
Screen Rant will have more details on Kevin Smith’s proposed TV adaptation of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as they are made available.