The Hollywood Reporter broke the news a few weeks ago that two young actors, Noah Jupe and Jaeden Martell, had been cast in a remake of the cult fav The Lost Boys. While remakes and reboots have been problematic recently, there is plenty of hope for both a new vampire film and a chance to tell the story differently.
Buried in the news is the potential that the tv series is dead. Except there’s a glimmer of hope something will hit the small as well as the big screen. We could be seeing a Lost Boys franchise in the works!
The TV series
According to a few industry articles, the CW passed on the Rob Thomas pilot for the series. The pandemic didn’t help production, and it’s understood the full pilot was not filmed. Slashgear has misinterpreted a Deadline article, and thinks the film remake IS a TV series, and not a feature film.
A TV series would be a better choice. TV is hot right now, not only because cinemas were shut; better storylines and solid acting works. The streaming wars mean lots of money for productions. Of course WarnerBros has only relied on HBO Max for its streaming.
The other positive that would come out of a full TV series would be a regular release of episodes that grows the storyline and characters. The vampires can’t be killed off immediately or it would end the show early. Of course the CW has had a bad track record with including queer characters in the main cast. It took until the Originals for a gay vampire to be written in, and the writers confusingly paired him with a werewolf. Thankfully, unless the writers lose the plot and ruin the show, there are no werewolves in the Lost Boys.
A better remake
The original Lost Boys is a classic, and a genre redefining for vampires. The vampires are both scary and sexy, but they were also brutally murdered just to undo a brother being turned. It’s both perfect and has lots of room for improvement, without even considering the original premise before the multiple rewrites.
The main issues: queer baiting and old people. We suspect Sam is gay, with many clues sprinkled throughout the film, but of course in the 80s this wouldn’t have been addressed in a serious way. The movie also takes a terrible turn when the truth about Max is revealed and grandpa comes to the rescue. While David may not have really been killed, if he was murdered by Michael, that act of killing could have completed his transformation (the vampires don’t explain what the first kill is.. although it’s likely a first feeding will do it). With a little more dialog, the film could have ended there, with a cliffhanger.
A broader issue is that the times have changed. The film was too white and lacked out LGBTQ+ main characters. The characters should better represent wider society, and at least one or two of the vampires should be gay (although I’d settle for all of them… except then they can’t be killed because that’s another hate crime).
If we go back to the original premise, the Lost Boys were supposed to be taken from Peter Pan. The idea was that the original Lost Boys of Never Neverland weren’t just immortal, but were vampires. This better explains the flying! Richard Donner had been tapped to direct first, with plans for the vampires to be much younger teens (or tweens), very much in the style of Donner’s other film, The Goonies.
Joel Schumacher’s final version aged the vampires a few years, partially to allow for the gory and violent feedings (the best part of the film honestly), which raises the question, could 18-year old but younger looking vampires capture both the youthfulness and yet keep enough of the carnage that made the film so great. Noah and Jaeden are both quite young looking, so they could be younger vampires. Of course they could also be replacements for the two Coreys.
A pure remake could improve on the original story without changing too much (including the fangs and SFX). If it’s too much like the original, the ending would need to change vastly to avoid giving away the surprise. Again, let the vampires live and don’t introduce a Max character.
But the best way to remake the Lost Boys would be to go back to the core premise. Casting younger vampires and allowing for the same level of gore would work. An even bolder move would be for the characters to be queer at such young ages. If all the vampires were gay and the Michael character was drawn into being with the vampires, it would seem like his brother is stopping him from being himself, making him the bad person. Of course that reading of the Lost Boys makes more sense as a hidden message for the original then for a remake in the modern era.