'The Last Starfighter' Is Getting A Reboot From 'Rogue One' Writer Gary Whitta

Growing up two of my favorite movies had to do with video games, Cloak and Dagger and The Last Starfighter. Both had to do with kids who found that the video games they played led to real-life adventures.  I've expected somebody to remake both at some point, but it's The Last Starfighter that is the first to be announced, rather nonchalantly, by Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta.

Whitta tweeted that he's working on a remake of The Last Starfighter with Jonathan Betuel, screenwriter of the 1984 classic. He went on to drop some stunning pieces of concept art, designed by Rogue One's lead concept artist Matt Allsopp.

I just drooled a little bit.  When I was a kid I always wanted to hop into the cockpit of a Gunstar and join the Rylan Star League. For those unfamiliar, The Last Starfighter centered on a video game ace who learns that the Starfighter game he's mastered represents an actual war raging in outer space, and was a test to find a warrior possessing "the gift". He's taken to the planet Rylos and recruited into their fight against the evil Ko-Dan Armada.

There aren't a ton of details on the project at this point, and to be fair similar attempts by Betuel have been made in the past. It was just a few years ago he was involved in a TV reboot that went nowhere. Whitta has also been trying for years to spark a remake without much succcess.  So we'll see if this ever gets off the ground. Legal issues over film rights have been the major hurdle, but according to Whitta those issues may have been cleared up. He tells i09...

"The simple answer to that is Jonathan Betuel. Jon created and wrote the original movie, it was all his idea, a spec script he wrote while he was working as a waiter in Hollywood in the early ’80s. There was a whole bidding war over that script. In all the years hence, whenever I’ve brought up the idea of a Starfighter reboot in meetings, people would always convey excitement and then say that it’s impossible because the rights are a mess. It’s true that it’s not simple, but part of the key to it is, as I understand it (and I’m not a lawyer), Jon still retains some piece of ownership of the original IP, so no one can make a new movie without his participation. I happened to track Jon down, and after I was done pestering him with all my fanboy questions about the original film we started to talk about what a new version might look like. Since then we’ve spent so many hours working on it I’ve long since lost count, but right now we have a fully developed story that is a combination of reboot and sequel that we both think honors the legacy of the original film while passing the torch to a new generation. We’re both very excited about it creatively."

Steven Spielberg and Seth Rogen both tried to get the rights to The Last Starfighter, too, and couldn't get it done.  Ironically, the remake is revealed at a time of peak nostalgia, thanks in part to Spielberg's Ready Player One which calls back to many films from the same time period.