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Will DARK HORSE adopt "Buckaroo Banzai" '''

Glen here...

...with a bit of rather self-explanatory news concerning current efforts to revive the Buckaroo Banzai franchise.

Regular readers of COAXIAL are keenly aware of W.D. Richter and Earl MacRauch's efforts to resurrect the Buckaroo mythos in the form of a TV series at FOX. The following information...sent in by my friend and pseudo-source FAMOUS AMOS (no, it's not the Famous Amos)...suggests that not only is a TV series in the works, but substantially more coolness may be afoot. Here is Famous Amos' message:


Famous Amos wrote:

Pocket Books (publisher of the Star Trek novels) is considering a series of Buckaroo Banzai novels to be written by Earl Mac Rauch, who wrote the original movie screenplay.

The first in the series (called The Banzai Chronicles) would be a new edition of the original Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension.

Further volumes in the series, tentatively entitled The Lizardo Quintet, would detail the exploits of the esteemed Dr. Banzai in his struggles against the notorious Emilio Lizardo, and the 600-year-old master criminal Hanoi Xan.

Earl Mac Rauch also wrote (with W.D. Richter) the pilot screenplay for Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries, a series currently in development at FOX.

Also, W.D. Richter and Earl Mac Rauch are said to be in "preliminary" discussions with Dark Horse Comics over a possible Banzai product line.

Rumor has it Dark Horse is interested in much more than just a Banzai comic, that they may want to do novels and "quite a lot more."

A lot would seem to depend on what does - or doesn't - happen with the Fox pilot, but Dark Horse is evidently interested in developing Banzai projects even if Fox passes.

- Famous Amos says "bye"!


Glen again...

If Amos' scenario plays out to its full potential, Buckaroo may soon be taking gigantic strides towards assuming a (much deserved) position of greater visibility in America's oh-so-fickle pop culture.

I've always very much believed that one of the most important keys to resurrecting the franchise (and perpetuating the mythos) was to approach these personalities...and their adventures...on a cross-platform basis. Comics, toys, videos, music, books, CD-ROMS, and movies or TV. From what I am told, it appears Dark Horse might be headed this direction should everything pan out properly. I could go on and on about why I think this approach is so critical, but I'm actually rather hungry at the moment.

All things being equal, methinks Dark Horse has the muscle and franchising experience to make big things happen for Team Banzai in very short order. I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed on this one...

Questions? Comments? Praise? Ridicule ?

CLICK HERE to e-mail Glen

If you send a message to the above address & bounces back to you, send mail to a back-up address!

Or call:

(512) 347-1992

Mail can be sent to:

Glen Oliver

P.O. BOX 160812

Austin, TX 78716-0812


Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 25, 1999, 11:06 p.m. CST

    I'm first, and you don't care

    by Tall_Boy

    and I don't care about Buakrio Kazzooo, or whatever, so there!

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 9:28 a.m. CST

    I'm second and ...huh?

    by mckracken

    YS finally the book adaptation of the movie will return to print....God how long has it been out of print? well I've SEEN the actual book at conventions going for megabucks ($$$) and could not afford to buy it...I've been looking for it in the second hand bookstores for a LOOONG time! --Mck still A comic from Dark horse would be cool....and other product tie-ins, but first we need to rerelease the video....PLEASE?

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Banzai Movie!

    by Midnight Jack

    If Dark Horse is REALLY interested in Banzai,then why not back the movie that was promised at the end of the first flick? Going to T.V. always seems to lower expectations of quality-they have to crank em out,dude. For every X-Files,there are 3 Hello,Larrys. Movies! Movies! And I agree,the film MUST be rereleased-on DVD! 16x9! Commentary,extras,deleted scenes! Dark Horse-release a Banzai resin statue,with guitar in hand! And for pete's sake,get Peter Weller's likeness! I think the odds of getting Weller involved with a MOVIE would be a heck of a lot easier than a T.V. show,as well. I sorely missed him when Robocop went to the tube. The time for Banzai is now!

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 7:53 p.m. CST

    One of the worst films I have ever seen

    by Dingo Wrangler

    It was a Wednesday night and I was searching the video shelves for something different. Something quirky. Something original. Something bizarre and fun. Something to appeal to the same sensibilities which led me to watch every single sainted episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. The back of the video box of Buckaroo Banzai seemed ripe with the promise of such insanity. Plus it starred John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum and countless others whom I have enjoyed in so many things in the past. By all rights, I was in the exact frame of mind for Buckaroo Banzai. Instead, I hated every annoying minute of it. The plot was completely and utterly confusing and nonsensical. The characters were lame. The effects were irredeemably cheesy and the acting made me ashamed for all the talent wasted onscreen. It's a mess. A horrible mess. Let it stay buried at the back of the video store where it belongs. It was one of the only movies I could not force myself to finish. The only other one I can think of is In The Army Now. ICK!

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Hey Dingo Wrangler...

    by gary2012

    ... Umm... I think finishing the movie might have POSSIBLY helped with that confusing plot complaint, not that I think that the plot was at all confusing. I mean I understood it perfectly when I was ten years old. I guess some people get confused by any plot that keeps you guessing and doesn't just lay it all out so you can figure out exactly what is going to happen next. To me that is what a good plot does. Besides I think that you have to concider the culture, and effects quality of the time that this film was made. I saw it when it was first out, so to me Buckaroo Banzai screams 1980's in a good way.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Banzai Returns

    by FilmGuru2001

    Midnight Jack, in response to your comment, I have heard that the first story of the proposed FOX show is going to deal with the World Crime League. It may not be a theater film, but at this point, I'll be pleased with any Banzai stuff. I know it's not to everyone's taste (that's why it's a CULT classic), but I've always loved it. "Why is there a watermelon there?" -=- Reaper2K (Blue Blazer Irregular #13)

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 11:06 p.m. CST

    It's definately a movie some people don't get...

    by Prankster

    Dingo Wrangler, I was once like you. Then someone explained it to me, I rewatched it, and this time I got it. It's *supposed* to be incoherent. It's *supposed* to be cheesy. It's a parody of both Doc Savage and Star Wars. In particular, it mocks the way SW started in the middle of the story, with a lot of confusing backstory and history having already occurred. So there are all these references to preexisting Buckaroo Banzai movies--that were never made. The whole thing is supposed to be like picking up a movie serial at part 9. The watermelon line, for instance, is funny because the characters know the answer, but we don't. It's a bit strange, and not for everyone, but it's one of the few examples of kitsch that I've actually enjoyed.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 11:46 p.m. CST

    More, more, and more again...

    by Pseudo

    I actually caught B.Banzai when it first hit the theaters and immediatly began to badger my friends to go and see it. "It's something...different and important." I'd tell them. Different in that it was one of the most origional scripts I'd ever seen made and important because Buckaroo encourages the pursuit of excellence in all areas. The modern Divinci as it were. Sure it's silly, sure it's kinda hokey, but why the hell not? We need some positive role models who aren't all about violence and killing (even if it is the undead) and B. Banzai is that kind of guy. So bring it on in as many ways as possible. Anyone else struck by the irony of life imatating art here? The movies, the comics, etc...? Too much! Cheers, ??Pseudo??

  • Aug. 27, 1999, 6:32 a.m. CST


    by T. Earl Grey

    I've wanted more Buckaroo for so long, it's hard to imagine that something might finally be happening. I think TV is a fine venue for this would-be, should-be franchise. Backed by comics and novels, it might just garner a Buffy-like following. I also think getting Peter Weller is well within the realm of possibility. If they can get him and Clancy Brown, the show will be great. Oh, and I have to echo what's been said before: the movie must be watched twice before one can fully appreciate it.

  • Aug. 27, 1999, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Why B.B. Seems Confusing to Some....

    by Mycroft Holmes

    It's been stated clearly in the past by the Banzai creators that the reason the movie seems to start in the middle of the story is because that is the effect they were going for. Specifically, they wanted the same effect someone would get by picking up issue number 57 of a Marvel Comic. Characters with a lot of established history, right in the middle of the story, and it's assumed that the viewer/reader already knows what's going on. This very fact is one of the most endearing things about B.B., and makes it one of my very favorite movies of all time. Reporting to you directly from the Diogenes Club, Mycroft Holmes

  • Aug. 27, 1999, 7:44 a.m. CST

    As far as backstory...

    by Gislef_crow

    ...most of it is explained in the novelization (which I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of in when it was first released). Hanoi Xan and his cloak of a hundred finger knuckles, and his connection to Lizardo's escape, are all explained in loving detail, as well as references to the various other "novels" in the Banzai series (Reno is, I believe, the series chronicler, and the novel is written first-person from his viewpoint) and the team's other exploits are all lovingly detailed there. If the show can capture even 1/10th of that, it'll be way ahead of most other stuff on TV.

  • Aug. 27, 1999, 12:02 p.m. CST

    "No matter where you go......

    by Ninja Nerd

    ....there you are" is the shutdown sound on my office PC. Banzai is just flat cool and John Lithgow is good in EVERYTHING. The season finale of "3rd Rock" with Shatner playing "the Big Giant Head" had some GREAT lines and in-jokes; i.e., the airport scene - with Shatner and Lithgow - "that happened to me, TOO!"

  • Aug. 28, 1999, 5:07 p.m. CST

    TV vs. Film

    by JackStar

    If they managed to get the less then omnipresent Weller back in (where has he gone?), I would see it anywhwere any time. Problem is, particualarly if you go TV, you'd have to recast most, if not all of HK Cavaliers ( I don't see Jeff "Nerd God" Goldblum putting the chaps on soon,), and it might make sense for them to try and rebuild the whole thing from the ground up. I think that a TV series would work best, because that way you could keep up a good cliffhanger format (How Will Buckaroo Escape Lizardo's Mind Contol Cuff Links? Tune in Next Weet!!), plus we could have lots of little payoffs on a regular basis.(Unlike a much lauded,much litigated Fox cult-crossover that's limping toward it's final season.) As for the other product, it makes sense, but I don't think they make sense if there isn't a big enough market. Austin Power-craze and buzz launched a thousand naked cat dolls and Southen-sensibility offending action figures, which then fed into the Austin Power's craze. But without the initial interest, the stuff would end up in the liquidation stores next to Morning Sickness Godzilla. Most importantly, I'd say get as many non-geeks to see the movie, try and get them to like it, and see if you can get a couple more people then the usual suspects to write in to Fox to show there is interest. That would help push the whole thing quicker from development hell, to mid-season replacement purgatory, to who know.. a regular timeslot?

  • Aug. 29, 1999, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Laugh anow, Monkey Boy. (or how I got Across the 8th Dimension a

    by Rebel Scum

    This is great news, Glen. I think it's about time the BB novel was re-released back into print. I will be ordering each and every book (if they do get published) because the world of Buckaroo Banzai is one of uncut fun and imagination. I can just see Dark Horse releasing a limited edition Buckaroo Banzai mini-bust....drool...C'mon FoX, you've got a very cool property on your hands. Greenlight and let Team Banzai do the rest.

  • Aug. 30, 1999, 6:26 a.m. CST

    That movie sucked

    by GeneralKaos

    Buckaroo Banzai sucked so bad, it was just wrong. That movie was no accident. It sucked on purpose, in a most malicious manner. I watched that movie, knowing from the start that it would be crap, but hell, it was Saturday Afternoon, and it was on the SciFi Channel, so what the hell. What I saw can be compared only to a 54 train pile-up. I swear, I couldn't look away. I was mesmerized. The sheer suckage brought to bear by that movie... I mean, it's awe-inspiring. The creators should be stoned, and if Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Goldblum hadn't redeemed themselves with later work, I'd say that they should also be stoned. Whoever is thinking of reviving this demonically evil franchise should be blotted from human existence. My God. Please don't let it happen.

  • Aug. 30, 1999, 7:42 p.m. CST

    To General Kaos:

    by Rebel Scum

    I'm sorry that your first experience in seeing the BB docu-drama was so terrifyingly bad. It's common knowledge that the Sci-Fi Channel chopped it up (censoring, riiiiiight) thus making it a horrible thing to view. So I would advise you to go to your local video store and watch it the way it was meant to be seen, uncut. As for the Sci-Fi Channel, they censor the movies that they show. Unlike the SPACE channel up here in Canada, they never censor or cut any of the movies they show. Where else can you see FLESH GORDON in all its' It seems that the Sci-Fi Channel has lost it's edge (They cancelled MST3K). So please, give BB another chance. You'll be glad you did.

  • Aug. 30, 1999, 11:49 p.m. CST

    The music was cool

    by Wolf Dreamer

    I remember watching this movie on HBO. It was several years ago, and after watching certain television programs my eyes start to hurt and my head feals funny, however I remember the music at the end was really cool. Anyone know where I can get a copy?

  • Aug. 31, 1999, 11:33 p.m. CST

    "It's a-your hand, Buckadoo!"

    by Buster-Friendly

    I, for one, am ecstatic that there's even TALK of reviving BB (even if only in comics & novels)! I saw the flick back in its initial release, loved it, bought the book (which you can usually find @ 'Half-Price Books', if there's on in your area), saw it repeatedly, collected the comics (I still have them as well as the promotional 'Team Banzai' headbands that Fox was giving away @ AggieCon that year!), bought the video (which featured the misspelled 'BANZI' on the inside label -- good goin', dopes!) & have waited for years for my hopes & wishes to be vindicated. Now, if the PTB don't f*ck everything up, we'll be seeing BB & The Hong Kong Cavaliers take to the airwaves once more & hopefully more than that. I don't really see a problem w/ getting PW to reprise his role, as he's stated that he'd be up for another go (episodic TV's somewhat of a different story, though) & Clancy does TV all the time. Jeff Golblum, I agree would be problematic at best, but I have a strong impression that everyone involved w/ the movie had a ball & would do it again. (That's just me, though -- don't wanna put words in anyone's mouth.) I think w/ the successes of 'Highlander - The Series' & 'Buffy, The Vampire Slayer', a BB series would also do well. After all, think about it -- it's been almost 15 years since the ONE movie was made & people are STILL as fanatical about it as they were back then. It's a love / hate thing w/ BB, but I believe the people who love it'll be MORE than vocally supportive of a brand new series of adventures. 'Less, as I said, the PTB f*cks everything up. Then all bets're off & I'd just as soon be left w/ my memories & memorabilia.

  • Sept. 1, 1999, 1:36 p.m. CST


    by meat&2veg

    I remember enjoying BB when it came out on video. I saw there was so much that could and should have been done with it - BUT - it was not a commercial film. It appealed to comic and fantasy geeks like me. To get any studio to support it, an effort has to be made to appeal to a wider audience. The problem with the first story was they made it too 'complicated' for Joe Average. They should also start again from scratch and not look at this as any sort of sequel to the original. The thought of Dark Horse doing comics of it scares the shit out of me. I know they're Mr. Star Wars, but the best Star Wars comics they've published so far were produced in Japan. Look what they did to Lost In Space and Godzilla (except for the work by Arthur Adams). Aliens and Predator have become boring and I have no idea which way they are going with them. Why not just have Todd MacFarlane do toys and a comic? He seems to know what he's doing.

  • Sept. 3, 1999, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Brainy Hipsters

    by TheBoojum

    I read an interview with John Lithgow about a year ago, where he touches on BB. According to him, everyone working on the movie thought it was going to be the Next Big Thing. Now it's more or less forgotten, except for a cult following of (his words)"Brainy Hipsters." I suppose I'm one, because I have been entirely devoted to Team Banzai's adventures since the movie came out. Perhaps in our cyber-WiredMagazine-postmodern age there are enough Brainy Hipsters out there to make a TV series viable. I sure hope so.

  • Sept. 6, 1999, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Shocked! Shocked I am at this display!

    by Zachsmind

    I can't believe I am hearing BB fans talking about wanting Peter Weller back for the second movie or tv series after fifteen years. Or ANY of the original actors from the first film. [note to true fans, lace sarcasm into the following portion of this post and take liberal amounts of watermellon] Do you want this thing to succeed or not? There's planning needed to make this work. First thing: NO SECOND MOVIE. At least not until the tv series takes off. Second thing: The two hour pilot of the tv series would be to retell the first movie using ALL NEW actors and sets. Three: efforts would have to be made to bring BB into the 21st century. Four: more women. BB and the Hong Kong Cavaliers are like an all-boys club which will automatically alienate half of your potential audience. Five: All the injokes and references to stories that haven't yet been told will have to go. The audience simply won't get it, except for a small minority of 'hipsters' and catering to that minority is what made Buckaroo Banzaii unpopular in the first place. Six: Buckaroo Banzaii must look more oriental to appeal more to minorities.... People. This just won't work. By the time the suits get done with Buckaroo Banzaii, you won't recognize it. It's a commercial ploy made by people who see other stuff kinda like it succeeding and they think they can do the same thing to BB. Don't buy into it. I'd like to see it happen to, but the product you're going to get simply won't have the same feel to it. And the actors originally involved in it are now too old to play the roles. It would be worse than the first Star Trek movie.

  • Sept. 9, 1999, 6:13 a.m. CST

    Declaration of War (Short Form)

    by Sorcerer

    I'm looking forward to all of this. BUCKAROO BANZAI was an inventive, original and insanely funny film with a perfect cast (even then we knew John Lithgow would be a good alien) and some brilliant conceits. Aliens with names like "John Small Berries" and "John Manyjars", Orson Welles being hypnotized to put on the WAR OF THE WORLDS hoax so that noone noticed the real landing, Jamaican Lectroids- very creative stuff, and it hinted at a larger mythos which could be very cool if we get to see it. I can't wait.

  • Aug. 30, 2006, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Banzai needs a good home....

    by Wolfpack

    ..but eventually it will have to know that it was adopted. Lots of legal fees will be necessary, and a criminal background check of Dark Horse will be essential.