While I remember liking Flight of the Navigator as a kid, it’s not a movie I’m precious about, and I certainly don’t think it’s above a remake. So I’m cautiously optimistic at Variety‘s report that Lionsgate and The Henson Company have tapped Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson to write the screenplay for a new version of the 1986 adventure movie.
For those who never saw it, the story follows a 12-year-old boy who gets knocked unconscious when walking through the woods in 1978. He awakens in 1986, still the same age and discovering he was abducted by an alien spaceship. The film starred Joey Cramer, Veronica Cartwright, Sarah Jessica Parker, and featured Paul Reubens as the voice of the spaceship.
Despite being a sci-fi family film, it’s got a surprisingly emotional story at its core. Imagine you were just a kid and you disappeared for nine years with no one knowing what happened to you, and then you come back the same age and all of your friends have grown up. It’s the kind of story that someone like David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) could probably work wonders with.
This isn’t the first crack at remaking Flight of the Navigator. In 2009, Brad Copeland (Arrested Development) was hired to write the script, and in 2012 Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connelly were brought on to do a new draft with an eye towards Trevorrow directing. I assume things fell apart when Trevorrow suggested an idea like the spaceship teaching the boy how to kill his neighbor.
I’ve never seen any of Lucifer, but here’s hoping that Henderson can find a good way to retell this story. There’s certainly potential to introduce it to a new generation of fans without offending those who loved it as children. If this manages to move forward, I’ll be very curious to see who they get to direct.
Here’s the trailer for the 1986 version of Flight of the Navigator: