The King of Pop is making a return to your TV screens. On February 5, Showtime will air a Spike Lee-directed documentary about Michael Jackson’s 1979 album Off The Wall, entitled Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall.
Michael Jackson’s Journey will explore the making of Jackson’s fifth solo album. The documentary will feature interviews from a vast array of celebrity admirers of the King of Pop, including The Weeknd, Pharrell, Kobe Bryant, Questlove, and even Jackson’s divorced parents Katherine and Joe Jackson. Curiously enough, Off The Wall producer Quincy Jones was not named as one of the participants in the film.
Lee initially announced on Instagram that the documentary would be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival back in late December. It will make its world premiere on January 24. The documentary will later be bundled together with a reissuing of the Off The Wall album, set to be released on February 26.
This is the second documentary on the making of a Michael Jackson album from the Chiraq director in the past four years. In 2012, Lee directed Bad 25, a retrospective documentary on the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s follow up to the world-consuming Thriller album. A 90-minute edited version of the two hour film was broadcast by ABC on November 22, 2012.
There are enough great stories from around the time Off The Wall was created to fill a trilogy of documentaries. One in particular involves a then 21-year-old Michael’s handwritten note to himself of his aspirations for the future. The note was preserved by archivist Karen Langford, and was included in a feature on Jackson’s legacy on CBS News’ 60 Minutes in 2013. In the note, Jackson proclaims his name is no longer “Michael Jackson” but simply “MJ.” He also laid out a dream that was realized later in 1979 with the release of Off The Wall and its transformative success. “I should be a totally [sic]different person,” Jackson wrote “people should never think of me as the kid who sang ‘ABC,’ [or]”I Want You Back.”
Even without getting into Jackson’s psyche through handwritten letters, if Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall is half as revelatory as Lee’s Bad 25, we won’t stop watching until we get enough. Now, how about doing Thriller next?