Buckaroo Banzai Trilogy
In the world of the Legion of Lawndale Heroes, The Buckaroo Banzai Trilogy is a highly successful film franchise composed of thirteen films (twelve released and one in pre-production). The Buckaroo Banzai Trilogy follows the adventures of the fictional character 'Buckaroo' Banzai - a half-Japanese, half-American neurosurgeon, inventor and adventurer - who also possesses great scientific skills and musical talents (demonstrated as the head of his band - the Hong Kong Cavaliers), and leads a group of eccentric yet highly skilled individuals known as Team Banzai.
The franchise began in 1984 with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension, which starred Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow and Clancy Brown (famed for his roles in Highlander and his wildly successful, Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning television show Earth 2, who has a tendency to die in every film but be resurrected in the next). Unlike in our universe, where no further movies were made and Buckaroo Banzai became a 1980's cult classic film, in this world, Buckaroo Banzai was the #2 film of 1984 and won several awards, including seven Academy Awards (Editing, Sound, Set Design, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects and Best Supporting Actor - John Lithgow). The success of the film spawned a massive franchise across several media platforms, which is popular even to the present day and has been lauded as 'the American Doctor Who '.
(Peter Weller, the actor who played the title character, went on to have a career as an A-list actor, spurred on by his two wildly successful characters of Banzai and Robocop; in this reality, the writers/producers retained the tone of the first film in the second and third, as well as keeping the cast as intact as possible and focusing on the plot point of 'Murphy' attempting to come to grips with his 'lost humanity'. Robocop 2, by working this theme in a surprisingly sensitive manner that resonated with critics and moviegoers alike, was lauded as a superior film and was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, as well.)
The success of Buckaroo Banzai (or Eighth Dimension, as the fans refer to it) spawned an equally successful 1987 sequel - Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League - and led to the 1990 third film in the series, Buckaroo Banzai and The Reel World Marauders. The fourth film in the series, released in 1993, was Buckaroo Banzai And The Forever Voyage. Two more BB films were released; the last scheduled film - The Fall of Team Banzai was released on Christmas Day, 2007. However, because of the fan outcry and box-office grosses far above expectations, three more Buckaroo Banzai films were announced.; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Team Banzai Reborn! - was released on Christmas Day, 2011. Buckaroo Banzai and the Soldiers of Infinity, was released on Christmas Day, 2014. The next film in the series, Buckaroo Banzai and the Blue Blaze Insurrection, was released on Christmas Day, 2017 release date, and the twelfth film - Buckaroo Banzai and the Children of The Light was released on Christmas Day, 2020. The thirteenth scheduled film - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Precursors - is currently in pre-production with a Christmas 2024 release date.
BBC Television and the American pay-television network Starz! jointly produced a television series based on the adjunct collection of individuals worldwide known as The Blue Blaze Irregulars - the men, women and children who Team Banzai can call on for assistance and support in any crisis or misadventure. The first eight-episode series, tentatively titled The Return of The Lectoids, aired on the BBC and Starz! in November of 2014. The show is now in production as of 2023 for their eleventh series The Utopia Tomes (which will have nine episodes).
The series was inspired by a tradition that began with a humorous celebrity cameo in World Crime League by former U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, who was a Blue Blaze Irregular and assisted Team Banzai in cutting through legal 'red tape'. The cameo was so lauded that it became a tradition for top-name celebrities from all walks of life to do unannounced cameos in Buckaroo Banzai films, using their actual real-world skills (so to speak) to assist Team Banzai. Some of the most famous cameos were Carl Sagan and Steven Hawking (in The Quantum War), James Randi (in Reel World Marauders) Michelle Obama, Jill Biden & Keanu Reeves (in Soldiers of Infinity), with Kevin Feige and Prince (now King) Charles (in Children of The Light). The international fandom for the franchise has always referred to itself as the 'Blue Blaze Irregulars', and are a very large, vocal and inclusive fandom that prides itself on having people from all walks of life ("...Because there's no telling where Buckaroo and Team Banzai may show up and need backup-!").
The title, Buckaroo Banzai Trilogy, is a play on the similar collective title attached to the Hitchhiker's Guide books by Douglas Adams, who is still alive in this universe and has written eight books in the series.
Kyle Armalin is a very big fan of the Buckaroo Banzai films, and has used his celebrity connections and Legion status to wrangle invitations to the Hollywood premieres of Team Banzai Reborn! and Soldiers of Infinity. Armalin was given a cameo role in Blue Blaze Insurrection, an upgraded minor role in Children of The Light, and several media outlets have reported that he has a major role in Return of The Precursors. There have been no official comments made by Armalin, the Legion or the U.S. Marine Corps as to these reports. .
The films in the series are:
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension – 1984
Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League - 1987
Buckaroo Banzai Versus The Reel World Marauders - 1990
Buckaroo Banzai and The Forever Voyage - 1993
Buckaroo Banzai and the City in The Jewel – 1997
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: The Return of John Whorfin - 2000
Buckaroo Banzai and the Quantum War - 2003
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: The Fall of Team Banzai – 2007
Buckaroo Banzai and the Soldiers of Infinity - 2011
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Team Banzai Reborn! - 2014
Buckaroo Banzai and the Blue Blaze Insurrection - 2017
Buckaroo Banzai and the Children of The Light - 2020
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Precursors - (scheduled for a Christmas 2024 release date)