The Last Starfighter is one of the many classic 1980s movie properties that has long been eyed by the remake/reboot/revival wave. While plans for a Seth Rogen-starring sequel and even a TV series came and went, the latest development feels quite auspicious, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story co-scribe Gary Whitta teasing a revival project of some kind.
Whitta, who shares writing credit on 2016’s Rogue One with Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy and John Knoll, took to Twitter to showcase some impressive space opera concept art from Rogue One’s lead concept artist, Matt Allsopp, for a mystery project that he’s co-writing, going out of his way to avoid its name.
Despite Whitta’s feigned coyness, the imagery and identifying symbols are unmistakably connected to 1984’s space-set sci-fi adventure classic, The Last Starfighter. After saying that the art is something that he “probably shouldn’t show so early,” he discloses that the pieces represent something that he had been “tinkering on” with Jonathan Betuel, the writer of The Last Starfighter, teasing that fans “might recognize the ships.”
Whitta has yet to provide specifics about the nature of his Last Starfighter project, be it a movie or TV show. However, he did provide one minor potential detail in a tweeted reply, stating that he forgot to cc previously-rumored star Seth Rogen, identifying him as “a fan.”
The Last Starfighter, directed by Nick Castle, arrived on July 13, 1984. It almost felt grown in a lab, designed to mollify fans of space sci-fi and the still-kicking, but soon-to-decline, 1980s video game boom. The optimistic tale centered on trailer park teen Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), whose phenomenal skills with a “Starfighter” arcade machine leads to the profound revelation that the game is a recruiting tool for fighter pilots by benevolent space alliance the Star League in their war against evil invaders of the Ko-Dan Armada. Thus, using his game skills and some innate bravery, Alex helps save the galaxy.
While the film, which ultimately earned nearly $29 million in its domestic-only release, was generally well-received, it had the misfortune of debuting against the second week of one of the decade’s most iconic genre films, Ghostbusters, placing third, behind an also-second-week Gremlins, though it did defeat fellow newcomer The Muppets Take Manhattan.
While the details that Whitta provided remain ambiguous, the project is quite an exciting prospect for the fans who have long upheld The Last Starfighter as an unjustly forgotten 1980s classic. We will keep you updated as more details about this endeavor – whatever it may be – arrive.