I know I already talked about Flight of the Navigator last week, but there’s just so much more to say about it. After all, it has one of the best science fiction premises I’ve ever seen put to film. What would a kid do if he came back to Earth after traveling at the speed of light for several years, and everyone he knew had aged? It’s a brilliant setup, and it brings up all kinds of interesting questions. Especially about what would happen after the movie ends.
Like The Black Hole, Flight of the Navigator is a rare gem of a film that leaves far too many loose threads for me not to think about them all. It ends in a hurry before it can really resolve a lot of the issues it created. So I’d like to correct that oversight by offering satisfying answers to its questions.
What About Jennifer Bradley?
At the start of the film, younger brother Jeff teases David about liking a girl named Jennifer Bradley. This introduces two important concepts: a sibling rivalry and David’s fear of taking chances. We’ll get to the sibling rivalry later. Jennifer represents a big risk when it comes to David starting a relationship. Even if it is just a childhood friendship. But we never get closure on that issue. I suppose he makes friends with the alien spaceship pilot named Max. But when David returns to his home in 1978 after his adventure in 1986, we don’t get to see what he does about Jennifer.
I imagine he probably walked right up to her the morning after his 4th of July celebration with his family and struck up a conversation. I bet he even asked for her phone number or set up a time to hang out together shortly thereafter. The two of them likely became great friends, and they may have even dated and married. Maybe that’s reading too much into an adolescent crush. But Jennifer represents David’s expanding world, and I definitely want him to take a chance on getting to know her better.
Would David Try to Look Up Carolyn McAdams?
I love the scene where a military brat named Carolyn McAdams opens up to David about her painful past. All through her formative years, she had to move from military base to military base whenever her father received a new assignment. So she wasn’t able to form long-lasting friendships in her childhood. That definitely stunted her emotional growth, and it seems to have given her a bit of a rebellious nature. Given what David knows, he could help her before she suffers too much.
I think David looked her up once he got back home. With a little help from his parents, he could have found her phone number or home address and gotten in contact with her. They’re probably about the same age, so it wouldn’t be too hard to strike up a friendship. Even if they’re just pen pals, it would give her a bit of stability in an ever-changing world. And he’d even have an advantage by knowing some of her proclivities. It’s too early to start talking music videos, but I’m sure they’d have plenty of other things in common that they could talk about.
How Would David Protect His Alien Pet?
During his adventure as a boy out of his own time, David commiserates with a little alien being who Max took from a planet that was later destroyed by a comet. So the little alien is homeless and the last of his kind. It makes sense that David would feel a bond with the little guy. They’re both just kids thrown into a situation that they can’t make any sense of. No one else can relate to their plight, so all they have is each other to confide in. At the end of the film, David keeps the little guy without knowing anything about him.
Will the alien grow larger, and what is he capable of? Maybe he has telepathic powers or can do other amazing things. The good news is that Jeff knows about the alien, and he seems willing to help David keep it a secret. Even if David’s parents find out about it, I don’t think they’ll react as brashly as they did in 1986. In that timeline, they institutionalized David after suffering the trauma of not being able to find him for eight years. In 1978, however, I think they’ll be much more willing to go with the flow and help David protect the little alien, especially if David tells them about his experience dealing with the conniving tricks of NASA.
How Would David Change His Relationship with His Brother?
David and Jeff never got along before David’s time-travel experience. Their only real connection was trading insults. But everything changed for the better once David got to see his brother as a teenager. Suddenly they were both a lot humbler and kinder to each other. We get a hint of this improvement at the end when David’s family practically gapes at David’s newfound love for his little brother.
After everything he went through, David most likely started spending more time with Jeff and showing much more affection toward him. The two of them grew to be the best of friends, sharing their anxieties and hopes easily. And the little alien pet would be an extra source of kinship between them. It would be a special family secret that would be their responsibility to maintain together.
Will David Become Known as a Prognosticator?
David could easily prove himself to be something of a prophet by correctly predicting the next president of the United States a few years before Ronald Reagan even started running. He could also correctly guess other trends, such as the cancellation of Starsky and Hutch, despite its success on TV. All of these predictions might convince his parents to take his claims seriously.
If he had been paying enough attention during his adventure, he could turn his prophethood into profit. He could tell his parents what kinds of technology companies to invest in. Computers, music videos, robotics, and McDonald’s might all be safe bets. But perhaps he also noticed other trends during his flight around the world that could prove to be extremely lucrative. Of course, he needs to be careful to keep his predictive powers on the downlow. He should only trust his immediate family and try to quietly make a fortune to avoid drawing attention from the government and becoming a guinea pig once again.
Will David Become a Pilot?
After such a horrible experience, I can’t imagine David ever getting involved with NASA. So he probably wouldn’t become an astronaut. But he could easily become a fighter pilot. Maybe that would help him stay connected to Carolyn, too. Or maybe he’d go the route of becoming a commercial airline pilot. Whatever he chooses, he seems like a natural for the job. He’s already a navigator, so becoming a pilot seems like the next logical step.
Also, he still has a vast amount of knowledge in his head. Max said that the brain scan wouldn’t alter what is already in his head. So he still has star maps, schematics of the spaceship, and detailed information on its fuel inside his brain’s memory. Perhaps he could learn to access all of those things consciously. His pet might be helpful in this endeavor, if he has some powers we haven’t seen yet. Then David may be able to make his own spaceship and travel back in time to rescue more of his pet’s family before their planet was destroyed.
So Many Possibilities
Like I said, Flight of the Navigator is a great film that leaves open so many possibilities. These are my ideas about how the things I care about turned out after the end credits rolled. There are plenty of avenues I failed to explore, though.
What happened to Max and the other alien creatures? Did Max and David ever meet again? Why was Max sent on a mission to study alien life forms in the first place? Does his home planet have further plans for humanity? Did his infusion with David’s personality positively or negatively affect him on his return to his home planet?
That’s a lot of questions. Maybe someone else has intriguing answers to them.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.