A New 'Friday Night Lights' Movie Is Coming, But It's Unfortunately Not What You Think
Is Friday Night Lights the adaptation gift that keeps on giving? It's been 28 years since H.G. (Buzz) Bissinger's non-fiction best-selling book Friday Nights Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream hit shelves and its still inspiring entertainment today. The film Friday Night Lights came out in 2004 and NBC's critically acclaimed series of the same name ran from 2006 until 2011. Now, a new Friday Night Lights movie is reportedly in the works, but it's not a sequel or a reunion of your favorite Panthers of yesteryear. The fresh take on small-town football life will actually be a "reimagining" of the premise, according to Variety.
Peter Berg directed the first Friday Night Lights movie and developed the subsequent TV show to follow. Pineapple Express and Stronger's David Gordon Green is currently in negotiations to helm the next version. Robert Schenkken wrote the screenplay and there's no word on casting as of yet. Because this is an entirely different property for Universal, it's pretty safe to say that Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton won't be returning to reprise their beloved roles. That's just the way the reboot cookie crumbles sometimes — it appears this updated FNL interpretation will stand on its own two cleats.
Talks of reviving Friday Night Lights have been swirling for a while. In 2012, Buzz Bissinger penned an ebook follow-up to his original Friday Night Lights novel titled After Friday Night Lights. The story surrounded the adult life of injured Panthers running back Boobie Miles, and while it sounds like prime material for a show biz sequel, the book was never turned into a project for the screen.
Peter Berg teased the possibility of a FNL spinoff in 2016. "Maybe some spin-off version of it — a moment, a flash. I don’t know if you’ll ever see that show reunited, though," he told The Independent.
Adrianne Palicki, who played Tyra on the TV show for five seasons, revealed in 2017 that she had her own concept in mind for a revival.
"I think it would be great to restart the show, but instead of you know, Tami Taylor and Coach Taylor, [Tyra and Tim] are the new Tami and Coach," the actress explained to E! News. "I'm a counselor, he's a football coach, he's still a little bit of an alcoholic. That tension, that dynamic —wouldn't that be an interesting story?"
Minka Kelly has also weighed in about her thoughts on bringing the high school sports favorite back. Good news, FNL fans: Lyla Garrity is down to return should the opportunity present itself. Kelly told the Huffington Post just last year:
I think people are still enjoying the show, so sometimes things are better left wanting more. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be there front and center should that ever happen. Of course, I would never not honor where I came from, but I think it’s perfect where it is.
But Taylor Kitsch isn't as enthusiastic about the idea. Riggins himself shut it down in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
I mean, you play a guy for four-plus years, and I feel we dived into it enough and explored that whole thing of not just Riggins but the stories in Dillon, that I don't know, I have such great closure and I think it ended on such a beautiful note that it's just like, I honestly don't know the point of doing it again. I have to look for new challenges as well.
Well, it looks like the big screen reboot is happening whether the original cast of the TV show like it or not. The question is who will star and if it will have the same name. Friday Nights Lights: The Next Generation? Friday Night Lights: The New Class? Friday Night Lights: I Still Know What You Did Last Season? These are all working titles I personally made up... Time will tell how exactly Hollywood reinvents the story.