As recently as last November, filmmakers have been talking about getting a sequel to "The Last Starfighter" off the ground. At the time, Seth Rogen commented that neither he nor Steven Spielberg could secure the rights to the cult-classic 1984 film. Rogen insisted that screenwriter Jonathan R. Betuel had the rights wrapped up and wasn't budging. However, in a new feature for Yahoo!, Betuel himself refutes that he's the one who has held up movement on the space opera.
“I saw that, and it painted me as the Howard Hughes, bah humbug, standing in the way,” Beutel laughed, “That was hilarious. Hilarious and inaccurate.”
In fact, Beutel says he's still working to get a sequel made. He wrote a sequel not five years ago, but legal complications grounded the film before it could take flight. Screenwriter Garry Witta, who was involved in the Twitter discussion with Rogen, detailed the kind of complicated legal mess the rights have been wrapped up in. “You’ve got this completely byzantine, impenetrable situation where no one seems to know exactly what the deal is,” he said. “Whenever I’ve been in a room in Hollywood, the conversation [goes to], ‘Is there a way to do 'Starfighter?'’ [Executives] will say, ‘We looked into it — there’s no way to get the rights; we don’t understand but can’t get them.’ There are a lot of writers who would kill to have the opportunity to tell a new 'Starfighter' story.”
For his part, Beutel is fairly confident that a new story will eventually be told. As Witta stated, there are indeed issues tying things up, but Beutel says he's "working on that right now… There are a lot of things going on that will see the light of day. It’s complicated, it’s great, it’s a privilege, and it’s going to be taken care of… It’s good to be working with a team that wants to see it go. I think that the story deserves to continue.”
Beutel was vague on exactly when, where, or how that might occur, but the fact remains that fans now have hope that the Gunstar could fly again.