Peter Berg has been publicly flirting with the idea of going back to Dillon for a TV-universe based Friday Night Lights film since the show came to a close, but in a new interview (that also revealed a new flirtation with a sequel to The Rundown), Berg seems to have finally accepted that there will be no new film, which means no updates on the Taylor clan, Riggins, Jason Street, or Smash Williams.
Coming months after one-time series star Adrianne Palicki teased the possibility of Kickstartering the project, fans of the show (the original film and the book) may feel as if they’ve been blindsided by this news, but after attaining a bit of hard-won longevity and a satisfying ending that saw Coach Taylor walking off a football field in Philadelphia beside Tami Taylor, can they really complain?
Here’s Berg’s exact words, as told to Collider.
“There’s not gonna be a movie. We talked about it, some people thought it was a good idea, some didn’t; I’ve come to believe it’s probably not a good idea and I seriously doubt it’s gonna happen.”
In the past, Berg has sounded a lot more determined and confident, talking up Jason Katims’ work on the feature script (which, according to reports, was complete and in, at least, Connie Britton’s possession), but when he says “some didn’t” think that a film was a good idea, he’s likely referring to series star Kyle Chandler, who has previously stated that the series ended “at exactly the right time and exactly the right way.”
Chandler isn’t alone in his skepticism, though. While other cast members have been more publicly open to the idea, they have almost always undercut their favorable words with concerns about harming the show’s legacy, like when Scott Porter (Jason Street) told EW:
“I’d put 50/50 odds on it […] I’m so scared we would never be able to top the show. And I wouldn’t want what we did together tarnished in any way.”
So, did Chandler (and/or others) finally and formally reject the possibility of a comeback, prompting Berg to so dramatically switch gears? We won’t likely get a full autopsy report on this dead concept, but it’s worth noting that Chandler’s opposition to the idea of a reunion wouldn’t have likely been the only stumbling block on the rough road to fruition.
Chandler could have held hands with Britton as the two skipped into Berg’s office to sign on officially, and it could have been fun to see Peter Berg and Jason Katims try to top themselves with yet another final bow for Friday Night Lights, but they still would have had to go around with their hands out, trying to convince people to finance this film as an investment and that could have been a hard sell.
Ask yourself: what would the producers have had to do to turn this labor of love into an object of commerce? Would they have had to re-introduce the story to a new audience, pushing the story to a broader place? Would they have had to re-cast certain parts to make it a more marketable film?
These are all hypothetical sacrifices and circumstances, but the point is, perhaps Berg realized that he couldn’t resurrect this project in a way that respected its origins and his vision, and ultimately, that really may be for the best. Remember, Friday Night Lights achieved a rare thing, finishing on high with a satisfying and honest end of their own creation at a time when many shows lose their way on the way out the door – wouldn’t it be a shame if something would have supplanted that as our last memory of the show?
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for any status changes on the now dead Friday Night Lights film project.