TechnologyTelevision & Film

THE LAST STARFIGHTER Returns — To Television?

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Earlier this week, Variety reported that after thirty years of fans waiting for more, The Last Starfighter is coming back. But it’s not a reboot or a sequel. Not exactly.

Writer Jonathan Betuel is now developing The Starfighter Chronicles as a television project, and the show will have virtual reality elements. Betuel’s partnered with Los Angeles-based Surreal to produce the show not only for standard televisions, but also with scenes that break out for those with VR headsets.

“It’s a very interesting blend,” said Betuel. “The otherworldiness of it lends itself to VR.”

The show will continue in the universe of The Last Starfighter, but is still in early development as a serialized story about alien law enforcement. Betuel says, “It’s about installing a moral code.”

Andy Vick and Rick Rey, co-founders of Surreal, are hoping Chronicles will be the breakout hit that pulls people into VR storytelling. They say the focus needs to be on both the technology and the content, otherwise people are being asked to spend money on a high-tech gadget they’re not likely to use. “By focusing on technology, you are not solving the problem of adoption,” Rey said. Immersive narrative storytelling would be a way to address both needs.

Vick has had some initial conversations with networks, and the company has retained United Talent Agency to augment those efforts. As we reported on Week in Review, Betuel had told Yahoo! News, “There are a lot of things going on that will see the light of day.”

Could that mean the television project is the first of many projects? Could The Starfighter Chronicles lead to a proper sequel that lets us catch up with Alex, Maggie, and Grig?

 

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Many fans have been hoping for a sequel that incorporates the modern video game culture, with the Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) environment being the new testing ground to find a team of new Starfighters. Looks like this may be the beginnings of that, as virtual reality has been closely connected to the gaming community.

This is not the first time someone has attempted to resurrect The Last Starfighter. Even Steven Spielberg attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain the rights for a new project. Turns out, for a while Betuel hadn’t even been aware the rights had reverted back to him. Time will tell if we actually see The Starfighter Chronicles, and what form it will finally take.

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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