Amidst all the news of dramatic storytelling and once-in-a-lifetime performances coming out of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, today I bring you the story of an anthropomorphic fox fighter pilot and his wingmen. (We like to change it up a little now and then.) Although this Nintendo property has six games in its history, we’re currently in the year that celebrates the series’ 20th anniversary without any new installments in sight. Additionally, with the exception of a couple of short comic runs in Nintendo Power issues, the story hasn’t been adapted in any type of media beyond the video games themselves. It’s time to change that. Hit the jump for more. Hollywood! Adapt this: Star Fox.
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto and inspired by his visits to a flying fox-god shrine, Star Fox centers on Fox McCloud, an ace fighter pilot in the Lylat System. Along with his wingmen Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad (and at times, Krystal, Miyu, Fay and Fara Phoenix) comprising the Star Fox team, Fox pilots a variety of vehicles in his attempts to combat the forces of the evil scientist, Andross, and the mercenary squadron, Team Star Wolf. The primary vehicle in their arsenal is the Arwing, a starfighter equipped with lasers and smart bombs that can fly both in space and in planetary atmospheres (and is capable of, say, doing a barrel roll). Fox and his team have also piloted tanks known as Landmasters, submarines named Blue-Marine, and an upgraded model of their starfighter, the Arwing II. The team’s rallying point is based in the spacecraft carrier, Great Fox. The team occasionally goes on land-based missions in which they must travel on foot, notably in Star Fox: Adventures and Star Fox: Assault.
Although Star Fox 64 may be the most popular and recognizable of the Star Fox games, the series mythology goes much deeper than simply defeating the space-based forces of Andross and flying off into the sunset. Team Star Fox is not without its share of baggage, having started off as outlaw crime fighters on the small planet colony of Papetoon and eventually evolving into an elite Arwing squadron. There’s also the backstory of Fox’s father, James McCloud, an Arwing pilot and former wingmate of Peppy Hare. The original Star Fox team was betrayed by another wingmate, Pigma Dengar, resulting in the capture of James and Peppy’s narrow escape.
In addition to searching for his missing father, Fox and his team travel to remote locales such as Dinosaur Planet/Sauria, battling an invading race of insectoid-machines known as Aparoids, or defending the Lylat System against the new threat posed by the alien race, the Anglar. This is just an example of the rich storytelling that exists in the world of Star Fox (without even delving into the characters’ romantic relationships) making an adaptation a much easier sell than having to drum up some original material inspired by a space-shooter. Star Fox remains one of the most entertaining game series in history and there’s plenty of action, adventure and intrigue in its mythology to justify an adaptation.
Nintendo seems to have a bit of a problem with adaptations, with Pokemon being far and away their best success in that respect to date. Much like Sega’s success with turning Sonic the Hedgehog into a cross-platform and multimedia sensation, Nintendo could likely do the same with Star Fox. Perhaps they need to ally with a company like Disney, who loves gobbling up intellectual property wherever they can. Perhaps DreamWorks Animation or Blue Sky Animation could beat them to it. Then again, Sonic didn’t find its success with an animated feature right out of the gates, but rather with a collection of Saturday morning cartoon series. That’s the mold that Star Fox could make a killing in, if only the property holders had the foresight to jump on it and attempt to reinvigorate the series.
That’s it for today’s installment of Hollywood! Adapt This. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on a possible Star Fox adaptation, where the story should go and even who should voice the characters, by sending us a comment below. Come back next week when we tackle another property lurking in the mists of nostalgia and just waiting to be adapted.