1984’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension became a cult favorite among sci fi fans even if it never quite caught on with mainstream audiences. But what ever happened to the promised sequel, Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League, that was teased at the end of the movie?
When Buckaroo Banzai hit the theaters, many people did not quite know what to make of this tongue-in-cheek sci fi satire whose main character was a neurosurgeon, rocket scientist, adventurer, and the leader of the rock band The Hong Kong Cavaliers. And apparently the promoters didn’t know what to do with it either as the film’s flimsy marketing campaign did little to give it much of a chance once it hit the theaters (more on that with this Sci Fi Flashback). Not surprisingly, the movie flopped, only making back about one quarter of its budget during its theatrical run. But once the movie hit home video, it became a surprise hit and developed a notable following among genre fans in the years after its release. And those of us who loved the movie all wanted to know why that promised sequel never made it to the theaters.
The most obvious reason was the financial failure of the movie during its initial run at the theaters. But since the movie did well in the video market and on cable television (and also made several return performances to the big screen in repertoire theaters), fans thought that surely the sequel would emerge at some point. But the movie’s studio, Sherwood Studios, went bankrupt shortly after the film hit the theaters which resulted in legal complications that kept the property in limbo for years. This even delayed the release of the film on DVD until the 21st century.
An outline for the sequel was drafted and it involved Buckaroo Banzai’s arch enemy Hanoi Xan who had actually originally appeared in the first movie, but his scenes were later edited out (there were restored in the DVD edition, though). And parts of this storyline worked their way into the recent comic books that Moonstone has release which Buckaroo creator Earl Mac Rauch is involved with. But we have yet to see the full story originally intended as the sequel to the first Buckaroo Banzai movie and likely never will seeing as the cast has aged too far to reasonably reprise their roles. But maybe an animated version . . .
And one additional note, FOX began development of a TV series continuation of the character in 1998 which would have had the title Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries. But it stalled early in development and deprived us of yet another set of new adventures from our favorite rock star/brain surgeon.
You can see the original trailer from the movie at this link and read some of the best quotes at this link. And you can find more information than you ever knew you needed to know at the Buckaroo Banzai FAQ site.
Buckaroo Banzai at Amazon.com: