?Sequels are a very divisive issue for Nerdkind: On one hand, we want to see more of the characters from movies, shows, books, and other properties we’ve grown to love. On the other, far too often they add little or nothing to the original, or are made by “artists” with no prior connection to the source material and little understanding of what made it great.
Still, if there is a need/desire to expand on a great story and its characters, a sequel is by far preferable to a reboot or a prequel: The first tries to re-invent the wheel, and the second — if not done just right, can actually taint our enjoyment of the original (who amongst us can look at Darth Vader the same now that we know what Anakin was like?) At least a sequel, if bad, can be quietly ignored (usually).
I just saw The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension recently in preparation for my second list of the best fictional bands (as a child of the ’80s, I’m deeply embarrassed it took me so long to get around to seeing it), and rarely has a film left me wanting so much more. Now, keep in mind, for the purposes of this list there are questions that will NOT be addressed: I’m not concerned with whether this would be an immediate sequel, or take place in current time, or be about Buckaroo and his friends, or perhaps a “Next Generation” type thing…none of that is important for the moment. These are specific questions Buckaroo Banzai left me asking — or things I would like to see more of, not a “blueprint” for an actual sequel. Enjoy!
5) How Does One Become a Blue Blaze Irregular?
Little or nothing is really established about this organization save that they’re civilian volunteers from all walks of life that assist Buckaroo when called upon. How does one become a Blue Blaze Irregular? Is there a class? A test? A physical, maybe? Are they picked at random out of a phone book? Do prospective BBIs put their names in a drum and get to join if Buckaroo draws them? I’d be interested to see what, if any, training or education goes into becoming a Blue Blaze Irregular. But most importantly of all, as a friend of mine recently asked: Is there such a thing as a Blue Blaze Regular?
4) What Are the Hong Kong Cavaliers’ Other Songs?
The whole reason I finally got around to seeing this film is because so many readers lamented the absence of Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers in my first Fictional Bands list, and if I was gonna add them, I wanted to know why they deserved to be there. Don’t get me wrong: Buckaroo’s band was hardly the only thing I enjoyed about the film, but the one song they played, a cover of The Skylighters’ “Since I Don’t Have You”, left me seriously jonesing for more. I’d like to hear a few original Cavaliers tunes if a sequel is ever made to get a better idea of who they are musically.
When I say they played only one song, of course I mean only one complete song; they open with an unfinished tune known as “Banzai Jam” on the soundtrack. It’s a popular notion that “Banzai Jam” is actually a version of “Rocket 88.” Originally by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats and recorded in 1951, “Rocket 88” is believed by many to be one of, if not the, first rock and roll songs.
3) Who Is Hanoi Xan (and the World Crime League, While We’re at It)?
Hanoi Xan is apparently Buckaroo’s archenemy, responsible for his wife’s death, and connected to — if not at the head of — the World Crime League, yet neither of them appear in Across the 8th Dimension. The subject of the sequel announced at the end of the film that never happened (rumor has it this film was rewritten and eventually became Big Trouble in Little China), but other than an offhand mention in the prologue, we’re told nothing about this character. Anyone who’s a big enough deal to be the nemesis of someone like Buckaroo freakin’ Banzai is surely a force to be reckoned with, and worthy of being the subject of a sequel.
Above is a fan-made teaser trailer from a few years back, just to give you an idea of what might be.
2) For the Love of God, What’s the Deal with the Watermelon?
I KNOW there are explanations for this out there, but I have deliberately refused to look into them. Lazy research? No. I simply do not want to be prejudiced by theories and conjecture. As far as I’m concerned, until a sequel is made, the matter of the watermelon will remain unsettled… and I will continue to wonder just what in balls it has to do with anything. Was it deliberately senseless? Does it really mean nothing at all? Was it simply inserted because the filmmakers were sadists who enjoyed the idea of causing mental anguish for geeks? Or is there truly a deeper meaning to it? Will I know peace and serenity on the day I understand the watermelon and its mysteries? Will I be able to sleep nights again?
Who can say? Only another adventure for Dr. Banzai will truly settle the matter.
1) What Are Buckaroo’s Other Adventures?
A singular character was unleashed upon pop culture when The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension was released to movie theaters. The writing of Earl Mac Rauch, direction of W.D. Richter, and, naturally, the performance of Peter Weller created one of the most engaging and fascinating movie personalities ever. All of my favorite scenes in the film were scenes Buckaroo was in (minus the intro of Dr. Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin). He wasn’t your average ’80s action hero — he was, to put it succinctly, a nerd, and no less a total badass for being so. See the video above for pr
There’s SO much potential here! Earl Mac Rauch wrote literally dozens of Buckaroo Banzai stories before the one that would eventually be filmed was settled on, most of them were written primarily for fun. When your main character is a nuclear physicist/neurosurgeon/test pilot/race car driver/rock star/adventurer/world hero (I’m sure I’m forgetting something), great stories practically write themselves. It’d be nice to see at least one more of them made into a movie. You can’t give us a character as phenomenal as Buckaroo Banzai and leave us with one measly adventure! Although that’s exactly what happened for the last 28 years. Seriously, all the terrible movies that Hollywood’s been rebooting over the last decade, and no one’s even mentioned bringing Buckaroo Banzai back to movie screens yet? That’s an injustice worthy of the World Crime League.