‘Star Wars,’ ‘Saved by the Bell,’ and Other Strange Reboot News

Star Wars Holiday Special getting a...reboot?
Oh, you still have never watched The Star Wars Holiday Special? It’s on YouTube, you know.

I think we can all agree we’ve reached peak reboot.

Quite arguably, we have gone plummeting off the other side of that cliff. The top 10 grossing movies of 2019 so far include exactly one movie (Us) that isn’t a remake, sequel, or part of the MCU. (Also Spider-Man: Far From Home, but what is a year in movies without another Spider-Man do-over?)

Television is no different. Have you watched the new MacGyver? Presumably somebody has, since it’s been renewed for a fourth season, but I don’t know these people. Then there’s Fuller House, 90210, Will and Grace, Charmed, Twin Peaks, Murphy Brown, The Tick… and that’s just off the top of my head! Watching TV today is like not seeing your family for 25 years, and then they all show back up on your doorstep looking 25 years older and asking you to laugh at the same jokes they told you when you were 12.

But this week I learned about two potential reboots that clearly mark Maximum Makeover.

Let me start with four terrifying words: California governor Zack Morris.

There’s a lot to deal with in those four words. But Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley have reportedly signed on to a new Saved by the Bell series featuring exactly that.

According to The Hollywood Reporter description, the series (headed for NBC’s new streaming service) features Zack redirecting students from shuttered low-income schools into Bayside High. And with class-line clashes… hilarity ensues? I’m unconvinced, and that’s as someone who can tell you that Screech stole away his upper-class girlfriend Violet Anne Bickerstaff from the also-rich Maxwell Nerdstrom without having to look up their names. (I hope we can still be friends after that confession.)

That same streaming service (Peacock, launching in 2020) is also expected to have a reboot of Punky Brewster, starring a grown-up Soleil Moon Frye as a single mother of three, yada yada yada. (Oh dear–did I just cause a Seinfeld reboot?) Let’s move on. I can only melt down so much of my childhood at once.

Skipping over to the other, more completely ridiculous reboot news of the week: This one’s not a done deal, just a dream. But Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan if you’re living in the 21st century MCU; Monica’s rich UFC-aspiring boyfriend if you’re stuck on Friends, which is not rebooting) wants a new Star Wars Holiday Special.

I understand if you need to go re-read that sentence again to be sure you read it right. (You did.) To be fair, this one’s in a very loose, “wouldn’t that be fun?” kind of space and not something somebody’s signing a check for this afternoon.

And is this a thing we need? Nooooope. Is this something anyone at all is asking for? Pretty much just Jon Favreau, I think. Is this something we’d all watch anyway because it has the Star Wars name on it? Of course we are.

Because that’s what reboots are about. Dangling a beloved name in front of you, guaranteeing that you’ll turn it on for the nostalgia. I do, however, reserve the right to break that trend if this comes to fruition:

Because that’s the sort of thing that veers into the territory that makes us uncomfortable: Messing with the beloved. Trying to slap new actors on lines we can all recite and make it feel somehow right. It almost never does.

But speaking of Bea Arthur (come along with me here–she was indeed in the Cantina if you’ve never managed to sit through The Star Wars Holiday Special), I can leave you today with one glimmer of hope. It’s not a reboot. But it is the kind of inspiration I’m glad to see move forward.

Jane Lynch said upon winning an Emmy for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that she’s working on “kind of a Golden Girls for today” in partnership with Cyndi Lauper. Jane Lynch is, well, Jane Lynch! And I dressed as Cyndi Lauper for Halloween when I was 11. Working together on a project inspired by one of my all-time favorite 80s shows? Now that’s the kind of nostalgia I will tune in for.

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