It’s been more than 30 years since The Last Starfighter landed in theaters, but the classic ’80s sci-fi adventure is now coming back to audiences as a television series — with a high-tech twist.
Released in 1984, the original movie tells the story of a teenager whose skills on his trailer park’s local arcade game get him recruited by a cosmic defense force tasked with protecting the galaxy from an invading armada. The film was notable for being a pioneer of sorts, as an early adopter of computer-generated graphics. Nick Castle and Jonathan Betuel served as director and writer for the original film respectively, and the pair will also help create the upcoming television series.
According to Variety, Betuel is teaming up with Surreal.tv to produce the series — titled The Starfighter Chronicles — which will focus on the intergalactic law-enforcement organization known as the Star League — the group that recruited Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), the teenager in the original film. Along with expanding the story of The Last Starfighter, the new series will continue its groundbreaking pedigree as the first TV series to feature a virtual-reality component, allowing those with VR headsets to explore the spaceships and alien environments of the series in a more immersive way.
“It’s a dream come true, basically,” said Surreal.tv co-founder Andy Vick, whose L.A.-based company is working on several projects aimed at blending cinematic storytelling with virtual-reality technology.
Popular with critics and audiences, The Last Starfighter earned more than $28 million when it was released in 1984 — a considerable return on its $15 million budget. It also earned several notable award nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and the Hugo Awards that year, and is widely considered one of the first films to successfully integrate computer-generated imagery into the fold. Appropriately enough, it also spawned several arcade and console video games based on the film’s storyline.
There’s no timeline at this point for The Starfighter Chronicles to begin production.