There have already been a surprising number of modern sequels and remakes made from the movies of 1982. Films like The Thing and Conan The Barbarian have remakes coming down the pipe while the Rocky franchise has been continued, and The Dark Crystal and Mad Max franchises have both been promised a latter-day continuation.
There’s a lot of rich material there, and this weekend sees Tron: Legacy come out almost three decades after the film it’s following. Of course TRON deserves a sequel because of its large cult appeal and the potential expansiveness that the universe always held. However, there are several other films from 1982 that may even be more worthy to get the way-too-late-in-the-game sequel treatment.
Here’s six of ‘em.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Why? Not only did it make about as much as TRON, it also has the same sort of cult status. Plus, it’s about time the world saw a new high school sex comedy that dealt with the hard issues. Apparently abortion wasn’t funny enough for American Pie.
The Pitch: Stoner extraordinaire Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) is now the righteous governor of California, and he’s visiting his alma mater for a special anniversary dedication ceremony. His experience as an adult on campus is filtered through scenes of the campus life as it’s changed and hasn’t. A geeky guy pines after the girl of his dreams. A sexually liberated young girl gets a disease. Another is ostracized for not sexting enough. These are the hard hitting elements of teenage life that can still be dealt with in a lighthearted comedic way. Plus, Governor Spiccoli ordering a pizza in honor of Mr. Hand will be worth the price of admission.
But who will make it? Directed by Amy Heckerling; written by Cameron Crowe; starring Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold and whatever fresh-faced high school actors are popular these days -CA
The Sword & the Sorcerer (1982)
Why? Because the eighties saw a dragon’s maw-full of fantasy pictures hit the big screen with one thing in common… they were gloriously R-rated. Conan the Barbarian, The Beastmaster, and Excalibur are a few of the more memorable ones, but somewhere along the line Hollywood decided they could make more money from kid friendly fantasy and capped the well of blood, gore, and lusty wenches. It’s about time that sad trend comes to an end… and if you’re going to bring back violent, dirty, and sexy fantasy flicks you can do far worse than The Sword & the Sorcerer. And here’s one big reason why… it features the coolest sword ever!
The Pitch: Lee Horsley starred as the original film’s hero with the awesome name (Talon), and the sequel should see him return as a dying king trying to decide which of his twin sons will inherit his kingdom. Clearly one son is good and the other is evil, but to give it a modern day twist the story will reveal 2/3rds of the way through that… wait for it… the “evil” son is just misunderstood and the “good” son is actually a dick! Or something. I don’t really care as long as we get to see updated versions of that sweet goddamn sword. And boobs.
But who will make it? Directed by David Gordon Green; starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire as the fraternal twins Claw and Hook -RH
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Why? There’s not only a financial imperative here. Those who grew up with the film are coming of age as filmmakers now, and one of them needs to avenge the horrid CGI-ifictation of the character (and the ridiculous, cannot-be-unseen, life-ruining porn).
The Pitch: Steven Spielberg had a decent enough idea for a sequel to E.T. back in the day that was only partially atrocious. Even so, E.T.: Night Skies will be a thrilling coming of age tale where Elliott’s son (whose mother has died recently) will come face to face with the alien of his father’s youth. Instead of hiding the new friend, little Timmy will have to travel back to his home planet in order to help save it. He won’t want to go at first, but E.T. will lure him onto the ship with Reese’s Pieces Xtreme.
But who will make it? Directed by Jon Favreau; Produced by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard; starring a completely adorable young actor who loves Reese’s Pieces Xtreme. -CA
The Border (1982)
Why? Because twenty eight years later, the subject of US/Mexico border tension is even more topical.
The Pitch: Jack Nicholson plays a border agent in the original who falls in with some corrupt co-workers before slowly realizing he has to be the one to make things better. The sequel should see him as the regional head of border patrol (played by Warren Oates in the first film) whose wife has just died as he’s approaching retirement. He’s spent almost three decades trying to make things better, but aside from a young Mexican boy named Miguel who he’s been sponsoring he feels he’s been utterly ineffectual. He takes a road trip to visit his grown daughter and discovers she’s about to marry a complete and utter tool… who just so happens to be a rising member of the US/Canadian border patrol. The film can end with Nicholson returning home, defeated and depressed… until he reads a thankful letter from little Miguel and breaks down in tears.
But who will make it? Directed by Cary Fukunaga; starring Jack Nicholson -RH
Blade Runner (1982)
Why? Blade Runner is arguably a more influential sci-fi force even if it has a similar cult status.
The Pitch: The film starts with Deckard and Rachael driving off into the uncertainty and danger of the future. Thirty years into the future, in 2049, a young blade runner now lives in a world where the Replicants have risen up long before and created their own form of government led by the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation. It’s now humans that are hunted down. Hiding in the underground is a very special young woman who will soon attempt to bring down the fascist state, but the truth about her origin is even more shocking than her lethal power.
But who will make it? Directed by Ridley Scott; Starring James Franco, Olivia Wilde, with cameos from Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer -CA
Why? Because sometimes a film comes along that on paper sounds like the sweetest damn concept you can imagine… but then results in a shit pile of a movie. This is one of those times. A high-tech, high-powered, multi-national military force trapped behind enemy lines and forced to blast their way back to freedom? Awesome! Barry Bostwick as the mulleted, spandex-wearing Ace Hunter (no relation)? Not awesome at all. But a sequel could give us the movie we were promised.
The Pitch: Ace is now retired and living happily with his wife Zara in the peace-loving lands of Sardun. The Megaforce was disbanded years prior as the world has been free of tyranny and war since they defeated the evil Gamibians at the end of the first film. But now a new scourge is growing as terrorist forces rise up against what they see as the capitalistic, consumerist, and godless peoples of Sardun. The only hope is a newer, leaner, meaner Megaforce 2.0, and Ace’s son Zap is just the man to lead them into battle.
But who will make it? Directed by George Miller; starring Ryan Reynolds as Zap Hunter -RH
Editor’s Note: This list was lovingly, foolishly put together by Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius.