Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to talk about a film sequel that seems to have stalled. In 1984, Nick Castle directed a milestone film in Science Fiction:
â€œThe Last Starfighter.â€
It was significant for being the first film to use CGI to produce photo-realistic special effects. Walt Disneyâ€™s â€œTRON,â€ Was the first film to use CGI to produce environments and vehicles, but was far too limited to be realistic. However the nature of those environments and vehicles being digital inside the world of a computer made them work in their contexts. â€œThe Last Starfighterâ€ effects team utilized a Cray X-MP supercomputer to build environments and ships built with metal, rock and glass that were sufficiently rendered to look realistic.
Granted, theyâ€™re not perfect, and the craft has advanced in the years since to be far superior, but for its day, they were exceptional(Iâ€™ll give the film kudos for the first flyby shot where a camera follows the vehicle from front to side to back without any breaks(The Starcar coming out of stardrive and arriving at Rylos…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udGlj_zDq_c couldâ€™ve been the inspiration for the new X-Wing flyby in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope the Special Edition)).
Effects, aside, the story was really interesting following a trailer park boy,
Alex Rogan(Lance Guest)
with wanderlust and a talent for playing an arcade video game called â€œStarfighter.â€
The Video Game turns out to be a test for an actual fleet fighting a galactic war, and when he beats the record, the Video Gameâ€™s inventor,
Centauri(Robert Prestonâ€™s last role)
shows up and cons him into being copied into a beta unit(Robot that looks like him to stand in for him on Earth) and hijacks him back to the planet Rylos to be drafted into the Starfighter Legion. In the classic â€œfish out of waterâ€ premise, Alex refuses, and Centauri has to bring him home again. Story over, right?….well, no.
The bad guys led by
learn about him and send an intergalactic hit squad of Xandozans to kill him. Discovering the â€œBeta Unitâ€ Alex has been getting HIM into trouble, he signals Centauri to return to collect it so he can get back to his old life. However, a
catches up to him first, and Centauri shows up in time to rescue him, getting badly wounded in the battle. Centauri and Beta convince Alex that his only choice is to return to be a Starfighter to help defeat Xur and the Kodan Armada so he can save himself and the Galaxy.
Long story short….heâ€™s the ONLY starfighter as Xur sneak attacked the base while he was on earth and wiped out the whole starfleet! However, one Prototype Gunstar is still available, and with
his Navigator, who was working on it when the main hanger exploded, Alex manages to triumph in the final battle. Â However, during the battle, Xur escapes. Â Alex is asked by the Rylons to rebuild the Starfighter Legion and, after collecting his girlfriend,
Maggie(Catherine Mary Stewart)
from Earth, he sets out to do that….film ends.
With the whole “Xur escaped and the Starfighter legion needing to be rebuilt” plot, the film was clearly set up for a sequel. And 6 years back, the internet was abuzz that it was going to happen(Around the same time that TRON: Legacy was announced). The new film was green-lit under the title, â€œSon of the Starfighter,â€ and
I WAS PSYCHED FOR IT!
Now, granted, there were some serious obstacles story wise. Centauri and Grig would have to be recast as Robert Preston and Dan Oâ€™Herlihy both passed away. However, in the case of Grig…that wouldâ€™ve been simpler as his face was, essentially a rubber-mask makeup application. Matching a voice…or re-dubbing it in post-production couldâ€™ve worked. Personally, I wouldâ€™ve re-cast Centauri by enticing Dick Van Dyke out of retirement after seeing him in â€œNight at the Museum.â€ I think he couldâ€™ve pulled it off. Everyone else was available to recreate their former roles, and original director Nick Castle was slated to direct it. And then…. Nothing….for a year….then…NOTHING for another year….and still….(Say it with me…)â€¨NOTHING!!!!!!and would you believeâ€¦.NOTHING ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
And, I canâ€™t understand why?
With the advancements in special effects, CGI is far more efficient and cheaper than what they did in 1984….and WOW, seeing Gunstars rendered in current CGI would be amazing. Conjecture…did the critical panning of TRON: Legacy give the producers cold feet about the new Starfighter film? Did the producers find another project to invest in? Did principal actors leave the project to pursue other jobs when this film stalled? I donâ€™t know. And itâ€™s a damned shame. â€œSon of the Starfighterâ€ had such potential. I wanted to know what happened to Alex Rogan and the Star League.
How about you, my friends? Did you see â€œThe Last Starfighter?â€ Wouldnâ€™t you like to see the sequel? Iâ€™d love to hear your opinions. Peace.