Back in the '80s, the idea of using a computer to create entire scenes within a film was basically unheard of. Nowadays, it's hard to go more than a few minutes without something being rendered in CG, but back in the day, the technology just wasn't there.
Then, a pair of movies came along and changed everything: Disney's Tron in 1982 and Universal Pictures' The Last Starfighter in 1984.
While Tron is the more memorable film, The Last Starfighter still deserves some credit. Sure, it's pure B-movie cheese and the CG looks like something from a Nintendo 64 game, but it helped set the precedent that computer-generated images could be used to help create entire scenes — something that many of today's movie-goers take for granted.
Now, it looks like The Last Starfighter is trying to innovate yet again, only with a different technology: according to the film's writer, The Starfighter Chronicles will bring virtual reality to television for the first time ever.
Speaking with Variety, The Last Starfighter writer Jonathan Betuel confirmed that he is working on the film's spiritual successor, a television series titled The Starfighter Chronicles. To be clear, the show won't act as a direct sequel to the 1984 film: while The Last Starfighter was about a gamer being catapulted into a war between alien races, The Starfighter Chronicles will focus on a serialized story about "alien law enforcement."
For the most part, The Starfighter Chronicles will be shot as a regular television show — however, if all things go according to plan, certain scenes will allow viewers to strap on a virtual reality headset and look around freely. Considering that modern-day televisions can't reproduce such an image, it's safe to say that The Starfighter Chronicles won't be appearing on any major networks — though, with the wealth of different online streaming options available these days, finding a suitable home for the series shouldn't be too difficult.
It'll be interesting to see if viewers latch onto a virtual reality TV series. While it's true that virtual reality video has grown in popularity over the past few years, it's not exactly a household name, though a VR television series could change that — for better or for worse.
As it stands, The Starfighter Chronicles is still very early on in development: don't expect to see anything from the show anytime soon.