The Screenwriter of AFTER EARTH Wants to Remake THE LAST STARFIGHTER

Okay, why not?

FUN FACT: 1984’s The Last Starfighter was one of the earliest motion pictures to extensively use computer graphics for its special effects!

ANOTHER FUN FACT: 1984’s The Last Starfighter was directed by Nick Castle, co-writer of Escape From New York and the man behind the Shatner mask in Halloween!

ONE LAST FUN FACT: 1984’s The Last Starfighter is… pretty alright. It’s one of those movies that I watched the living hell out of as a kid and didn’t return to until decades later. I had very, very vague memories of Alex Rogan playing a video game in his trailer park, and his later conflict with the evil Ko-Dan Armada. I remembered being impressed by the (now obviously dated) digital effects, as well as the “Death Blossom,” a space battle killing move recently riffed on by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2I remembered the broad strokes. Then I popped the movie in a few years ago, and this music started up:

As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the best movie themes ever. As soon as I heard it again the entire movie came rushing back, like a pile of toys and clothes I shoved into a closet while “cleaning my room” in 1988, now covering me in a slapstick avalanche. And the movie? Not bad. Rough around the edges, but sweet and exciting and fun. But, because nothing stays good in this world, someone wants to remake it!

I mostly kid. I generally don’t have a problem with remakes/reboots/rebootquels/whatever, as long as they do something new, and The Last Starfighter could be a decent blank canvas for some space opera fun.

Screenwriter Gary Whitta (After Earth, story credit on Rogue One) is working with Jonathan Betuel (screenwriter of the original in addition to My Science Project and Theodore Rex) on the reboot, and they’ve brought in Rogue One concept artist Matt Allsopp. You can read more from Whitta in this io9 interview but, as is to be expected, we know next to nothing about the story at this point.1 The concept art looks pretty neato, though. Nothing too surprising, but suitably epic.

All in all, I am open to the idea of a new version. I like the original, but it’s neither flawless nor a sacred cow, and I’ll give the ol’ Jennifer Lawrence “Okay” reaction gif to anyone who claims a remake will ruin their childhood. The only thing that gives me pause is that, much like Ready Player One, its “video game nerd becomes a hero because he is a video game nerd” wish fulfillment narrative feels a lot more toxic in our post-GamerGate culture. But who knows? At best, we’ll get a bright eyed and not at all gross adventure tale out of this. And at worst?


  1. Whitta lets drop that he could see Seth Rogan as Centauri, which… okay?