I ponder a modern day WarGames sequel with the original cast
We have a new assignment for The League this week. The League of Extraordinary Bloggers, that is. This week, Brian asks what 80s kid/teen movie would we want to see a sequel to today, including the original cast members. And what do we envision those characters to be doing now?
Great question Brian, and I really had to think about this one. I’ve talked about my views on movie sequels here. I also talked about them for Episode 20 of the Nerd Lunch podcast. Essentially, I like sequels. If I enjoy the characters then I want to see those characters again. However, Hollywood has totally perverted the idea of a sequel and it makes it hard for good legitimate sequels to get a break.
Anyway, for this week’s assignment, I briefly thought about sequels to Ferris Bueller and The Goonies. But if there were sequels to those, I would have wanted them to be in the 80s or early 90s. Not now. Shawn over at Branded in the 80s pondered a third Teen Wolf movie starring Michael J Fox and Jason Bateman which quite literally blew my mind. How did I not think of that? However, I agree with him, the time for that sequel would have been around 1991 when Fox was still up for it. Doc Hollywood Fox would have been awesome in a Teen Wolf Three. But I digress.
So, I thought about it and I think I would really like to see a modern day sequel to the 1983 hit, War Games starring Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman and Ally Sheedy.
War Games is one of my favorite movies from the 80s. Broderick is so great as the goofy, funny, computer dork David Lightman. Ally Sheedy was amazingly cute as Jennifer Mack, Lightman’s crush and eventual love interest. I highly identified with Lightman in this movie. I was into computers and a bit of an introvert. Especially many years later in high school. I even got in trouble a few times for saying snarky remarks in the middle of class. However, I did not have the incredible computer setup that Lightman has in his room. That collection of hardware is amazing. For those that don’t know, it was a sort of “kit-bashed” IMSAI 8080 computer. A-mazing.
Also, another reason I love this movie is that the director, John Badham, was raised in my hometown of Birmingham, AL (even though he was born in the UK). There is a scene in the movie in which a tour group at NORAD is identified as being from Birmingham, AL. This is an homage to Badham’s hometown.
So, in my modern day sequel, what are the characters from the movie doing today?
Dr John McKittrick – After the events of the original movie, Dr McKittrick kept in touch with David throughout college. He even supplied him with recommendations to MIT. McKittrick would help David get a job with NORAD after graduation. McKittrick would mentor David for many years within NORAD until he is appointed the director of the National Security Agency (NSA). As Director, McKittrick would bring David over from NORAD as a high level code breaker. At the time of the sequel, McKittrick is only a year or two from retiring as Director.
David Lightman – After high school, David is accepted into MIT with a full ride (obviously helped by some highly placed government recommendations). David graduates with honors and begins working for NORAD as Dr McKittrick’s protege. David would work with McKittrick for many years afterward. After McKittrick is appointed the Director of the NSA, David would accept a high level job with his mentor. He would eventually gain the coveted title of Head Cryptographer. As the HC, David oversees the NSA’s version of WOPR called DECODR. It’s a code breaking super computer used to crack highly encrypted data. Late one evening, the DECODR comes across an encryption it can’t break and David receives an email stating that this “unbreakable code” will be auctioned off to the highest bidder in 24 hours. Lightman calls in McKittrick and they must figure out who wrote the encryption and how they can solve it before the encryption code is released into the wild.
Jennifer Mack – I struggle about whether Jennifer is still with David at this point in time. It seems highly unlikely that after high school and throughout college they managed to stay together because I doubt she would have gone to MIT. I don’t even think she would have moved out East for college. I imagine her going to school in California or maybe she stayed at a local college (somewhere in the Pacific Northwest). I would like to say they are married, but even if they are, the story I’m thinking of would take place mostly at NSA headquarters and maybe a few foreign locations so Jennifer Mack-Lightman wouldn’t get much more than a cameo appearance. Maybe in the beginning.
War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) - The WOPR was decommissioned after the NORAD “Joshua incident” in the early 80s. I imagine David would have found the machine in storage and converted it into a MAME arcade machine in the mid-90s. It currently resides in his media room.
That is how I imagine a sequel to WarGames should play out. We could even bring back the original director, John Badham, as he’s still directing. He most recently has been directing episodes of Psych on the USA Network. The time is totally ripe for this and I’m inappropriately excited for this idea. I say inappropriately because this movie is never going to happen. Instead we are getting The Hangover III.
Now, I realize that a direct to video sequel called WarGames: The Dead Code was released in 2008. However, I patently refuse to acknowledge that this movie is a sequel to the original WarGames. As far as I’m concerned, that movie should have just been named The Dead Code. WarGames was just tacked onto the title as a marketing ploy. F**k you, Hollywood, for doing that, btw.
Some other entries from The League:
1. Brian from Cool and Collected picked Breakfast Club and wrote a good piece on what he thinks the Clubbers are doing today (which sort of inspired this post).
2. Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s picked The Peanut Butter Solution which sounds so incredibly weird that I need to see it. NOW.
3. Christopher Tupa picks another one of my favorites, Labyrinth, which began my crush on Jennifer Connelly.
4. The Dork Horde picked another movie I love, and I wish I thought of it, The Last Starfighter.