Almost exactly 31 years ago The Last Starfighter hit theaters in July 1984, one of the first movies to employ computer-generated imagery. Today, Variety reports that the sci-fi movie's screenwriter, Jonathan R. Betuel has teamed up with Surreal.TV for a TV series adaptation, which is aiming to be the first show to use virtual reality scenes. While fans will be able to watch most of the show on a typical TV screen, fans with virtual reality (VR) headsets will get to explore spaceships or even get in the middle of an alien firefight.
The TV series would not continue the original plot of The Last Starfighter, which centered on a video game fanatic who is thrust into outer space in the middle of an intergalactic war. The TV show will be a serialized story about alien law enforcement, and "instilling a moral code," according to Jonathan R. Betuel. Here's what the writer had to say about the series, entitled The Starfighter Chronicles, in a statement.
"It's a very interesting blend. The otherworldiness of it lends itself to VR."
The writer is teaming up with Andy Vick and Rick Rey, whose Surreal.TV virtual-reality entertainment company is trying to combine linear storytelling with VR. The company is working on a number of different projects for Fusion, Blackbox TV and Tiny Riot, but they jumped at the chance to work on The Starfighter Chronicles, since they are both big fans of the original movie. They both argued that all virtual reality needs is one big hit to bring it to the next level, which they believe The Starfighter Chronicles can be. It remains unclear if traditional or cable networks would even consider a show like this, where viewers would need to purchase VR headsets that cost hundreds of dollars to experience part of the show. Vick said there have been early conversations with some potential suitors.
Back in February, we reported that Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta was interested in writing a theatrical remake of The Last Starfighter, but that the film's rights remain an issue. Jonathan R. Betuel has retained full control of the rights this entire time, with Seth Rogen and Steven Spielberg both trying to obtain the rights at different points, with neither emerging successful. With this TV project getting off the ground, it seems a movie remake is unlikely.
Both Andy Vick and Rick Rey believe that virtual reality is at the same point now that online video was at the end of this past decade, but they hope this show ushers in a new era of VR. Andy Vick said he could see the show on either a traditional TV network, or even a streaming service, but nothing is set in stone yet. Would you purchase a virtual reality headset if a show like The Starfighter Chronicles started airing? Let us know what you think about this potentially-revolutionary new series.