When it comes to the stark contrast between The Karate Kid films versus the Netflix TV series Cobra Kai, both work for the eras they were created in. While the final adventure between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Nariyoshi Miyagi (Pat Morita) was in The Karate Kid Part III (1989), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) became the focus of the TV series despite the emphasis on both Daniel and Johnny’s lives in the 30 plus years since the events of the 1984 film. Despite moving from YouTube to Netflix, the streamer granted Cobra Kai a third season. What other 80’s films could use a similar update? We already had an Evil Dead (1981) TV sequel in Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead, which lasted three seasons. Here is my list of why Tron, Flight of the Navigator, and John Hughes’ films The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Tron (1982) and Tron: Legacy (2010) withstood the test of time as technical cinematic masterpieces. The first film focused on Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who’s a computer programmer trapped in his own game. Legacy followed his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) who’s looking for his missing father who was trapped in the Grid, the world Kevin helped create 20 years ago in the previous film. There was a short-lived animated TV series in Tron: Uprising that acted as a transitioning piece. Disney has since announced a third film in the franchise called Tron: Ares. While there are numerous developments in the 10 years since its initial announcement, the last update was Garth Davis will serve as the director as of August 2020. In the meantime given the success of The Mandalorian, why not just build a series surrounding the Grid? You can get the film’s original stars in Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, and sequel additions Olivia Wilde and Hedlund involved on special occasions. It just seems like, given the cultural relevance of MMOs, the franchise’s previous success and the attention Ready Player One (2018) received makes it a prime opportunity for Disney+ to get another series to bank on. The move particularly makes sense with the uncertain future of film and certain IPs probably not going as far as it used to.
“Flight of the Navigator”
An underrated Disney gem, Flight of the Navigator (1986) was a sci-fi film with diverse themes from satisfying our sense of wonder with various extraterrestrial life and time travel. The original starred Joey Cramer as David, who has a psychic link to a UFO only he’s able to operate. It also explores the seldom explored notion of how deep space travel has in real-time. Unfortunately, most sci-fi gets around the notion of how much time will pass if anything travels great distances in space through some form of warp or instantaneous travel. The film actually explores those consequences. As far as where an updated TV series would go, there could be some nuance to it where there could be more adventurers involved where it’s more like Star Trek meets Land of the Lost. Over time, it could develop into a pseudo-Lost in Space. Getting Paul Reubens to return as the voice of Max (Trimaxion Drone Ship) would be a definite plus since it’s similar to his Pee-Wee Herman persona. Whether Cramer is interested in making a comeback certainly factors, but it’s a part they could recast. Disney is trying to remake the film currently with Neill Blomkamp currently attached. As of September 2017, Joe Henderson (Lucifer) is penning the script according to Variety. Much of the primary cast is still active with Veronica Cartwright (Helen), Cliff DeYoung (Bill), and Sarah Jessica Parker (Carolyn) so you have those, plus you can introduce the new cast to lead the way.
“The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Blame Saved by the Bell on this, but there’s something to be said about revisiting a high school IP to see a modern twist to things. The molds and stereotypes are still there even in the modern smartphone age. The Breakfast Club (1985) offered a window into adolescence from the eyes of the brat pack. Given the advantages of TV, we can get a more enriched view of these character’s lives atypical of the genre. Like how Peacock is banking on Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren to act as connective tissue in the revival series, they can try to get a few members of the original film as parents. In doing so, provide an update to fans of the original film on what they been up to since. Easy choices for me would be Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Emilio Estevez.
As far as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it’s an easy transition from late high school life crisis to a mid-life crisis. Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is working an office job perhaps working with his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and/or high school sweetheart Sloane (Mia Sara). Suddenly, he decides that being 50, settling down with an overbearing family and his boss isn’t worth the hassle. Maybe the three decide to go on an adventure together at least one last time with Ferris’ family and job going after them to see what’s going on. There are probably a lot more elaborate excuses than just “being sick” in this adaptation. Life may have never slowed down and gotten more complicated, but “if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
About Tom Chang
I’m a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I’m a nerd-of-all-trades.