Similar to 1982’s Tron, The Last Starfighter, released in 1984, was a cult classic science fiction film that has since been praised for being far ahead of its time in terms of using computer generated imagery. Starfighter follows Alex Rogen, who masters an arcade game called Starfighter and discovers the game was created by an alien race as a way to train and recruit new fighters in an intergalactic war. Alex is recruited into the war and must learn to use his skills with real lives on the line.
Although Tron has since been revisited in the sequel TRON: Legacy, The Last Starfighter hasn’t received the same treatment in either remake or reboot form. However, according to screenwriter Gary Whitta (After Earth, The Book of Eli), it isn’t for lack of wanting on Hollywood’s part.
In an interview with /Film, Whitta was asked about whether he may be involved in a remake of The Last Starfighter. According to Whitta, there are many people within the industry who would love to remake the ‘80s sci-fi classic, but an issue with the rights of the film prevents it from happening.
Read Whitta’s full quote:
“Man, I wish. I’m one of a very long list of screenwriters who would kill for the opportunity to bring that back. It just seems like the rights are impossible to figure out. Maybe one day. If there’s one thing that movie taught me, it’s to never stop believing that anything is possible. Even in Hollywood.”
The rights that would allow Whitta – or anyone else – to remake, reboot, or sequelize The Last Starfighter belong to the original film’s writer, Jonathan R. Betuel. According to Seth Rogen (The Interview), both he and acclaimed director Steven Spielberg have tried to obtain the rights to the classic movie, but have not succeeded.
Fans of The Last Starfighter hoping for a modern or updated version of the film are sure the be disappointed that it doesn’t seem to be a possibility in the near future. However, given the disappointing treatment of TRON: Legacy, which focused on style over than substance, perhaps it’s best that Hollywood won’t be remaking another beloved sci-fi film from the ‘80s.
Of course, that’s not to say a The Last Starfighter remake/reboot/sequel would be inherently bad since it’s certainly possible for a film studio to take a classic property and successfully rework it for the modern audience. Perhaps if The Last Starfighter ever returns to the big screen again, the team on board will learn from the mistakes of TRON: Legacy and create a new film that can be enjoyed by fans of the original and new audiences.
Though we may not see a remake of The Last Starfighter anytime soon, YouTube user Tim Gonzalez created a modern trailer that will have to appease fans for now: