Spoilers of both the Friday Night Lights movie and TV show ahead.
When the Friday Night Lights TV series finally ended its run after five seasons, a lot of people started asking if and when a movie might soon follow. The notion of which was, of course, moronic.
The show ends with Eric and Tami Taylor moving to Philadelphia, the two Dillon high schools reforming into one, most of the original cast members departed, and almost all of the characters having moved elsewhere to begin the next chapter of our lives. Not to mention, good luck affording Michael B. Jordan, Taylor Kitsch, Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Jesse Plemons, and Minka Kelly these days.
Anytime someone asked, “why don’t they make an FNL movie?” the natural follow-up question is, “what would you like that movie to be about?” There’s no logical way to take the TV show version of boil it down into a two-hour movie plot with real stakes and an interesting plot. Instead, it’d just be a garbled mess for the sake of cameos and “hey, remember that?” moments.
There are two ways around this issue. One is to just let it go and let this wonderful TV show gracefully exist in our memories, perfect as it was (except for that whole murder subplot in season two). The second is, of course, just make another Friday Night Lights movie that starts from scratch because who the hell has time to think of new ideas anymore?
Naturally, Hollywood dislikes the idea of not trying to make money, so they’re going to go for the second option. Per Deadline, David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Stronger, the upcoming Halloween film) is in negotiations to direct a new film based on Buzz Bissinger’s book. Brian Grazer, who produced the first film, will also produce this one. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Schenkkan (The Pacific, Hacksaw Ridge) is writing the screenplay.
Aside from the crude idea that the Friday Night Lights intellectual property is just one of those things that needs to monetized at all times, what’s the point of all this? The original FNL film wasn’t a classic, per se, but it fulfilled the necessary requirements of retelling the story of the book in a satisfying cinematic fashion. The TV show is widely considered one of the great American series of the 21st century (in spite of it’s inability to find an audience). What good comes from rebooting the entire football saga and starting over?
We suppose there is a way to give the story a refresh by completely seperating it from the source material and starting new in a different environment. Presenting the same story about what it’s like to play high school football in a football crazy Texas town is pretty old hat in 2018, let alone whatever year this comes out. What if you flipped the scenario a bit and put the entire film in a different setting? Use the backdrop of an urban neighborhood where football is one of the only ways for anyone to get out. Consider creating new characters to replace the ones we already know in order to give us a fresh spin. Of course this all leads to some “Friday Night Lights in name only” backlash but at least it would be different.
Of course, odds are they’ll stick to the same story we’ve already seen in the movie and TV show. It worked before, why not just do it again until it doesn’t? But what a waste of time and effort that will be. You won’t be able to mine the emotional depths and nuance that the show was able to, and you probably won’t improve on the gridiron glory achieved in the film. So what’s left to do? What story is left to tell in this world?
If anything, it seems like the people involved have misinterpreted “Texas Forever.” Making another Friday Night Lights film feels like a crass cashgrab just for the sake of it.