Brian over at Cool & Collected decided to use a suggestion I offered as a League topic this week. It dovetails nicely with the release of the Avengers flick in theaters, and centers on the idea of a great pop culture crossover between heroes or stories that we’d really like to see. I’m not typically one that spends any energy on fan-fiction, but I have to admit that I had an idea that I would love to see come to fruition some day. With all the 80s remakes and franchise re-launches getting produced, I think it’s the perfect time to revisit some films from the decade that that would really make sense having sequels 20-30 years later. In fact, in the spirit of the Avengers and the idea of taking multiple films and combining them into one giant sequel, I thought it would be really cool to take three films that were unrelated except for concept and tone and bring them together in a modern setting that would be really interesting.
So what flicks and characters am I thinking about? Well, Wargames, Cloak & Dagger, and The Manhattan Project. Now bear with me for a second as I’m going to get a little fan-fic-y. All three of these film are semi-serious thrillers that starred young kids playing around in the world of thermonuclear war and espionage…
Wargames featured Matthew Broderick as David, a young budding computer hacker who taps into a government computer system (nicknamed Joshua) thinking he was stealing unreleased copies of computer war games. Turns out that Joshua takes his games very seriously, and David unwittingly ends up challenging the computer to a real life game of thermonuclear war.
In the Manhattan Project, we’re following Christopher Collet as Paul, a young genius who decides to build his own personal atomic bomb after realizing that a local pharmaceutical lab is really manufacturing weapons grade plutonium. He takes it to a national science fair in the hope that he can shed some light on the dangers the lab presents and ends up starting the countdown to possible annihilation.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Cloak & Dagger, which stars a post E.T. Henry Thomas as Davey Osbourne, an overly imaginative boy obsessed with a fictional spy from a video game (Cloak & Dagger) named Jack Flack. Davey stumbles upon a murder, and before he knows it the game becomes all too real.
So what’s my idea?
In a nutshell, my crossover film would find all three characters grown up and embroiled in plot that would have the world on the cusp of falling into another world war. Maybe John Lithgow’s character from The Manhattan Project eventually gave in to his darker urges and sold his services as a weapons manufacturer to the highest bidder and was then double-crossed. His weapons have been designed, built and delivered, but he was never paid and now seeks to bring down the evil regime that stiffed him. He reaches out to an old friend, Dr. Stephen Falken (Joshua’s designer from Wargames), who puts him in contact with Broderick’s David (who now works for the government.) David puts together a “Mission Impossible“-esque team including Paul (Collet) because of his ties to Lithgow’s character and experience with weapons of mass destruction. Of course things get rocky when C.I.A agent David Osbourne (Thomas) butts in and takes control of the operation. Will the two David’s be able to compromise long enough to stave off World War III?
The film would of course also feature Dabney Coleman (as he graced the screen in both Cloak & Dagger and Wargames), Ally Sheedy (Wargames), and Cynthia Nixon (The Manhattan Project), as well as other 80s kid/teen actors making cameos (I’m thinking some of the more obscure folks like Helen Slater, Robert Sean Leonard, Matt Adler, and Keith Gordon.) Heck maybe even William Zabka would come out of his bully semi-retirement and play an unruly goverment spook.
Again, I’m not all that into the idea of fan-fiction, but I do think the idea of getting these actors together to reprise their roles from some very fun 80s kid-centric thrillers would be both entertaining and an interesting way to look at reboots and remakes. Why simply retell the same story all the time when these franchises are brought back (ala Footloose, Red Dawn, or what have you.) This way the studios get a chance to capitalize on the brand recognition while giving everyone something new. I know I’d pay to see this in the theater, though I might be the only one. Maybe they’d call it Project War-Dagger, or The War Cloak Takes Manhattan…
Looking for some other fun pop culture cross-overs? then check out these other League members:
Christopher, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about the never-filmed season finale crossovers of the A-Team and The Fall Guy!
Fiji Mermaid, Sideshow Cinema, would like to see the Predator take on Boba Fett!
Michael, Memories of Tomorrow, talks about, well, you have to read it to believe it!