(The Last Starfighter)
The Last Starfighter is a 1984 film. It was one of the first to use CGI, and got decent reviews.
It is a good example of the genre at the time – Alex is your average kid from a trailer park who gets the chance to save the universe!
This profile has S P O I L E R S for the movie.
(TLS was groundbreaking in showcasing the possibilities of then-crude CGI in cinema. It can thus be considered the necessary ancestor of the big-time sci-fi and super-hero CGI movies of the early XXI st century. Another CGI-heavy movie of that era was TRON — Ed.).
Atari planned to develop a game based on the arcade game shown in the movie but that never happened . However, in 1990 Nintendo did release their own version on the NES.
- Real Name: Alex Rogan.
- Note: Some sources, such as the movie poster, spell his name “Alex Rogen”.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Jane Rogan (Mother), Louis Rogan (Younger Brother), Unnamed (Father).
- Group Affiliation: The Star League.
- Base of Operations: Starlight Starbright Mobile Home Park, Soledad Canyon area of the Santa Clarita Valley, North of Los Angeles, CA.
- Height: 6’3″ (1.90m). Weight: 165 lbs. (75 Kg.).
- Eyes: Blue. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Alex Rogan played a video game called Starfighter. Little did he know, the controls for the game were identical to an alien space fighter built in a far off galaxy. He was being trained to man a spaceship called a Gunstar.
The skill displayed by Alex was such it could only be described as a gift. Alex is one of the best Starfighters in the galaxy.
Alex’s Gunstar was a prototype. It had greater range, more power, and a weapons modification called the death blossom. Deflective plating allowed it to withstand several direct hits.
Alex learned trade skills such as electrician, plumber, and general handyman by helping other residents. Given time he could become adept in them.
The Star League and the Ko-Dan Empire
The Star League is many allied worlds – like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets.
Eons ago, The Star League came in contact with the Ko-Dan Empire, a ruthless race of conquerors. To defend itself, the Star League put up an immense and powerful energy field called “The Frontier”.
Then came Xur, son of the current Star League leader and traitor to his own people. On his home world of Rylos, Xur began a rebellion against his own father, Ambassador Enduran.
Star League justice stopped the rebellion. But Xur escaped to join with the Ko-Dan Empire.
Treachery and profiteering
Xur gave the Frontier access codes to the Ko-Dan forces to garner power and status. He proclaimed himself emperor of the Ko-Dan forces. Though he was not one of their race, they accepted him as their temporary leader.
An attack was imminent. With limited time the Star League recruited fighter pilots, called Starfighters. They would man their elite Gunstar ships against the Ko-Dan armada.
An alien swindler, Centauri, tried turning a profit by finding a Starfighter outside the Star League. He created an arcade game that mimicked the controls of a Gunstar. It was meant for Las Vegas but ended up at a trailer park.
Centauri may have tried something similar on Earth in the past, since an “Excalibur test” was mentioned.
Alex Rogan grew up in the Starlight Starbright trailer court.
It was a close knit community. Everyone helping one another.
Alex and his girlfriend, Maggie Gordon, assisted the older tenants with whatever they needed. Groceries, repairs, getting the mail, whatever.
It’s over 900,000!
A stand-up arcade game called Starfighter was Alex’s pastime. Whenever he felt stressed the game was his release. He became very good at it. One night, he beat the command ship – the final boss. His score rose to over 900,000 and busted the record.
Not long after his success with the game, Alex met a mysterious stranger. This man introduced himself as Centauri.
Centauri explained he invented the videogame and wanted to know who had broken the record. Alex identified himself. He then accepted Centauri’s vague proposition, being unsure of what he wanted.
Another man, his face hidden, shook Alex’s hand. A spark of energy flashed between them, then the second man exited the car.
Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League…
Centauri’s car accelerated to over 300 mph (480 km/h) on the curvy roads. Then launched into the air and right on into outer space. Passing several celestial bodies Centauri engaged its star-drive.
Mere minutes later, they were requesting entrance to a space base on the planet Rylos.
On base, Alex was mesmerized. It was the Starfighter game come to life. Alex met space aliens, but soon realized they were preparing for a *real* attack from a Ko-Dan armada.
Xur, the villainous emperor, was bringing his fleet near to the Frontier barrier. The Starfighters had to repel the invasion force!
Alex had no desire to go to war. He demanded Centauri take him home. So, reluctantly, he did.
While in space, a Beta unit (the mysterious man who shook Alex’s hand) had replaced him on Earth. A Beta unit is a robot that changes its appearance to match anyone it touches.
… to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada
A Xurian spy sent a message informing the Armada that one Starfighter had escaped. Alex was targeted for assassination.
On Earth, Centauri prevented the first assassination attempt – but was mortally wounded.
Alex realized even Earth wasn’t safe if the armada wasn’t stopped. He would have to return and become a Starfighter.
Centauri brought Alex back to Rylos. Upon their return, they found the base half destroyed and every Starfighter slain.
Grig steps in
Grig, a reptilian alien with a sense of humor, joined Alex. They would work as a duo in their Gunstar.
Navigator Grig took care of navigation, communications, propulsion systems, and life support. This freed the Starfighter to concentrate on the dogfighting.
Grig took Alex up against a lone Ko-Dan fighter. Alex found it hard to pull the trigger on a living opponent. With this also came the realization, he still didn’t want to fight this war. Grig had hoped that during a live combat, a great Starfighter might emerge.
Alex thoughts were of home and of the caves he and Louis used to play hide-and-seek in as kids. Alex came up with a plan to defeat the Armada.
Just then, half a dozen Ko-Dan fighters came screaming in on their position. Alex reacted instinctively and within minutes shot them down. With a renewed resolve, he decided he was the Starfighter to carry out this plan.
You’re all clear, kid. Now let’s blow this thing up and go home.
Alex and Grig shutdown their Gunstar systems so it wouldn’t be detected. Ko-Dan forces flew overhead.
They waited until the fighters in front passed them. They would attack the Command Ship from behind.
This simple trick allowed them to knock out the Command Ship’s command turret. The command turret relayed information allowing their fighters to fight as a unit.
Alex took his Gunstar against the squadrons of Ko-Dan fighters. One against many. With his guns out of ammo, he had to use a newly developed weapon called “Death Blossom”. It would destroy any enemy ships within range but it depleted nearly all energy reserves.
Success! All enemy fighters were caught in the volley.
Revenge of the Starfighters
The Gunstar was now adrift. It was a sitting duck for the huge Command ship. Yet, Grig was able to re-route power from life support to engines and weapons.
It was enough to get them out of the larger ship’s path. Alex exacted some revenge, blasting the ship mercilessly as they pulled away from it.
The Command Ship became snared by the gravitational pull of a nearby moon. The damage they had sustained made it impossible to escape. The Command Ship and the fighter squadrons were destroyed.
When your chance comes, you got to grab it with both hands. Hold on tight.
Ambassador Enduran congratulated Alex and Grig on their victory.
He then informed them that the Frontier was down, Xur had escaped, and the Ko-Dan Empire was still a threat. Enduran asked Alex to stay on and help rebuild the Starfighter legion.
Alex had more to do and Grig pressed him to hurry. They landed at the trailer park on Earth. Alex asked Maggie to go with him.
At first she didn’t think she could. Everyone needed her so much. Alex told her this was their chance and they needed to hold on to it. With her grandmother’s blessing, Maggie ran to him.
A tall thin teenager with thick wavy 1980’s hair.
Often when Alex is thinking he’ll stand with his mouth open. Somehow he doesn’t look dumb or confused when he does this.
He rubs his hands as part of his routine before playing the game or actually piloting a Gunstar.
The Last Starfighter Theatrical Trailer
Alex is a dreamer. But he feels trapped in his dead-end life. His friends are content to go to the lake on weekends with no higher aspirations than City College. Alex wants more out of life.
Although he complains openly, he’ll be found planning a trip to Silver Lake with his friends and girlfriend on any weekend.
Alex became angry when an esteemed college denied his scholarship application. He felt doomed to the trailer park and City College.
Alex looking to the horizon frustrates both Maggie and him. Still, they’re obviously in love.
Alex is a reluctant hero.
“Ok, let’s go.”
Alien soldier: “Welcome to Starfighter command.”
Alex: “You speak English ?”
Another Alien soldier: “No, you hear English thanks to your translator device.”
Alex: “Listen Centauri, I’m not any of those guys, I’m a kid from a trailer park.”
Centauri: “If *that’s* what you think, then that’s all you’ll ever be.”
Alex Rogan: “Hold it ! There’s no fleet ? No Starfighters, no plan ? One ship, you, me, and that’s it ?”
Grig: “Exactly ! Xur thinks you’re still on Earth. Classic military strategy, surprise attack.”
Alex Rogan: “It’ll be a slaughter !”
Grig: “That’s the spirit !”
Alex Rogan: “No, *my* slaughter !”
“Grig, maybe there is a Starfighter left.”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
The Star League and the Starfighters would be a welcome addition to DC’s alien community.
A theory of my own: The first time we see the Starfighters there is an empty chair right up front. In a sequel I would reveal that seat belonged to Xur. Making him a former Starfighter would give him credibility in a ship to ship showdown with Alex.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
A 258 points Character (Without equipment).
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 03||Wil: 04||Min: 04|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 02||Spi: 03|
|Init: 011||HP: 015|
Gadgetry: 02, Vehicles (Gunstar weapon systems and limited maneuverability): 08
Bonuses and Limitations:
Alex’s Vehicle Skills assumes the use of the dogfighting combat rules in Blood of Heroes : Special Edition p182.
Credentials (Military (Med), Starfighter), Familiarity (Starfighter video game), Lightning Reflexes.
Grig (High), The Star League (Low).
Age (Young), Minor Irrational Attraction toward Maggie.
Responsibility of Power.
- TRANSLATOR DEVICE [BODY 01, Comprehend Languages: 12, Bonuses and Limitations: Comprehend Languages only allows Alex to hear other languages as if they spoke his native tongue (-1 FC), R#2, Cost: 41].
This device is attached to the clothing of an individual. It does not allow the wearer to speak, read, or be understood by others. Presumably, the device is limited to languages known by the Star League.
- FLIGHTSUIT [BODY 02, Cold Immunity: 01, Flame Immunity: 01, R#0, Cost: 14].
- HELMET [BODY 03, Enhance (RV against Critical, Devastation and doubles): 01 (cap is 04), Shade: 04, R#0, Cost: 26]. Both Alex and Grig wore their helmets with face plates open.
- Standard Issue Sidearm [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 04, Ammo: 06, R#3, Cost: 11]. There are three extra ammo clips with belt.
Though it looks like other Gunstars, Alex’s Gunstar One is a prototype.
- It has greater range, more power, and a slight weapons modification.
- Deflector plating allows it to withstand several direct hits.
- The Gunstar can maneuver in an atmosphere as well as space.
The Navigator sits about 10 feet (3m) behind and slightly elevated from the gunner, called the Starfighter. From this seat they navigates the ship, maintain life support, and propulsion systems. Among other things.
The Navigator has the option of handing over the controls to the Starfighter when evasive maneuvering is required. But, if the Starfighter is maneuvering they aren’t using the weapons systems!
The Starfighter sits in a 360 degree rotating gun turret. It can even target enemy ships passing behind the Gunstar. The heads-up display is visible only when looking dead ahead.
The left hand controls the chair. The right hand target control is the weapons. Lasers, Photon Bolts, Particle Beams, and missiles. All guns track with the Starfighter’s movements.
Gunstar One – [BODY 10 STR 10, Electrical Control: 22, Flight: 29, Laser Beam: 10, Radio Communications: 20, Radar Sense: 20, Sealed Systems: 20, Skin Armor: 02, Hardened Defenses, (Laser Beam) Ammo: 30, R#2, Cost: 1,404, Bonuses and Limitations:
- Electrical Control only affects Radio Comms and Radar (-2 FC).
- Flight is limited to 16 in an atmosphere. This is also the normal ship-to-ship fighting speed.
- Skin Armor also protects against energy and laser attacks (+1 FC).
- Note: Three Laser Beams at once on the same target has EV 12.].
Ship to ship guided missiles (x5) [DEX 06 BODY 02, Bomb: 12, Flight: 17, R#02, Grenade drawback, Limitation: Bomb had No Range, Bomb has no AV and uses the listed DEX instead, Flight can only be sustained for nine Phases (-2), Cost: 82]. All missiles may be fired simultaneously.
Death Blossom (DB) is a unique modification to the Gunstar One. It is a weapon of last resort, deliverering one massive volley at close range. DB might overload the systems, blow up the ship.
(In more modern video gaming parlance, it would be considered an ultimate — Ed.).
Opening Death Blossom petals must be done before DB can be put into use. It takes 02 APs of time — three Phases — to deploy. It fires a continuous volley of laser blasts and mini-missiles. These lasers and missiles are separate from the ammo rating for the Gunstar.
[EV 12 with Area-Effect. Grenade drawback. Cost: 31]
Death Blossom has two Reliability numbers.
- The first one is the standard R#2 of the ship.
- Once DB works and is used, a second roll will be made but against R#11.
A failure means the ship’s weapons and propulsion systems are drained of power. Double ones means the ship blows up.
Grig is Alex’s Navigator. He’s good at his job and a strong supporter of the Star League’s ideals. He’s a 290 points Character (without equipment).
|Dex: 02||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 03||Wil: 03||Min: 06|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 04|
|Init: 008||HP: 010|
Charisma: 04, Gadgetry: 04, Vehicles (Space): 04
Alex Rogan (High), The Star League (Low).
Credentials (Military (Med), Star Navigator).
Dependent – Married (Grig has a wifeoid and 6,000 little Griglings).
Responsibility of Power.
Star Navigator First Class.
Same as Alex above.
Motivation starts out as Unwanted Power and remains that way until nearly the end of the film. He finally accepts being a Starfighter.
Alex is young, a senior in High School. I’m not sure about his exact age.
Alex’s father is only seen in a photograph.
There are similarities to Star Trek but even more from the Star Wars movies.
The Flight suit with Helmet might have Sealed Systems like a true space suit, but it certainly isn’t clear. I believe they were going for an aviation flight suit similar to what we see in Star Wars.
More design notes
The Gunstar travels to Earth so it likely has a Star Drive like Centauri’s Star car.
Distances are hard to gauge. Grig says the Xur Command ship and fleet will reach Rylos from the Frontier in 20 klicks. A few moments later Gunstar One is engaged in their first dogfight. Grig informs Alex he’ll be within weapons range of the other ship in five klicks.
The Starfighter arcade game served as a homing beacon for Centauri. It also reacted to the Zando-Zan hit-beast revealing its identity.
Three lasers fired for a single shot is the usual way they are used. “Photon bolts” and “particle beams” are mentioned but never seen in use. Unless the three beams coming together are actually the three weapons used in unison. All three are represented as lasers in the stats because of this.
An Ammunition rating for the Gunstar is hard to pin down, since it has weapons mounted all over its hull. The Starfighter can fire three-shots bursts in any direction. Grig also states they need time to recharge the weapons.
This could mean all weapons pull ammo from a single pool. It could also mean the energy to work the weapons systems needs recharging.
I estimated Alex used about 30 shots (3 round bursts) during his fight with the squadrons. I didn’t give it the Auto Ammo bonus because the three shots come together at the same point, increasing EV but not AV.
Wealth — Centauri tries to get rich by recruiting Starfighters. We have no idea how much either a Starfighter or a Navigator makes but I will assume they are both paid well by the Star League. 006 is respectable. Before he became a Starfighter, Alex was a student with a modest 001 or 002 for his Wealth.
Film error: When Grig meets the Trailer Park residents, they certainly don’t have Translator devices. Sill, they are able to understand him.
Source of Character: The 1984 movie The Last Starfighter, Alex played by Lance Guest, Grig played by Dan O’Herlihy, Maggie Gordon played by Catherine Mary Stewart.
Helper(s): IMDb, thelaststarfighter.wikia.com .
Writeup completed on the 23ed of December, 2018.