In the world of the Legion of Lawndale Heroes, The Buckaroo Banzai Trilogy is a highly successful film franchise composed of eleven films (ten 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 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, which is popular even to the present day.
(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, is scheduled for a Christmas 2017 release date, and a twelfth film - Buckaroo Banzai and the Children of The Light - has been announced, with a 2020 release date.
Plans have also been announced by BBC Television and the American pay-television network Starz! to produce 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 for their third series (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. Two of the most famous cameos were Carl Sagan and Steven Hawking (in The Quantum War) and James Randi (in Reel World Marauders).
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. It is rumored that he has been offered a cameo role in Blue Blaze Insurrection, and he has not denied the rumor. .
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 - (completed; Christmas 2017 scheduled release date)
Buckaroo Banzai and the Children of The Light - (announced; 2020 scheduled release date)