If X-Files can return and Full House can become Fuller House, why not bring back Good Times? Deadline reports that the original cast from Good Times has banded together to create a Kickstarter campaign to crowd source a movie continuation following the lives of the Evans family in the present day.
The Kickstarter video features all the original stars except Esther Rolle, who passed away in 1998. So far, 105 backers have pledged $4,068 of the $1 million goal, which must be met by midnight Friday, March 4.
One of the interesting questions about this potential revival is how they will deal with James Evans (John Amos), who was killed off during the series’ original run. There is also the more obvious elephant in the room involving copyright. This movie is being developed without the consent of Sony, the company holding the rights to Good Times. However, the project’s attorney, Shaun Weiss, says this is not an issue.
“In the case of Good Times there is going to be a comparison, but it’s not an infringement of copyright,” Weiss says. “What we are doing is bringing a new era into the cast. The characters have never been copyrighted or trademarked.”
“The whole premise of the movie is to show the Evans family in the future and what they’ve all become without bringing in the old,” Weiss says. “If there is a piece of the old show that would be used, we understand that we would have to get clearance, but that is not the case. We are not going to tread on the old Good Times. What we are doing is using the characters and doing something new and telling a very different story.”
The Kickstarter video shows footage from the original show, but Weiss says they received permission from Sony to use the footage. The copyright issue is also the probable reason the Kickstarter page is using the working title of The Original Good Time Cast Movie. The concept gets dicier considering Norman Lear, who developed and produced the original sitcom, is also part of the development process for the feature film reboot at Sony. Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is writing the script for the reboot.
Whether the reboot takes place during the original time frame of the series or the present day, it will still use the same characters. Shaun Weiss states, “We’ve applied for copyrights for the trademarking [of] the characters, the licensing and images and the logo, so when we go forward with the original cast for the Good Times movie, we can protect the movie as a logo.”
It’s hard to imagine Sony giving clearance of any sort, especially with their own reboot in development. It would be more realistic to see a deal struck where the original cast can reprise their signature roles in some capacity. Nostalgia is big business these days. Considering Good Times helped create and usher in a new era of Black storytelling during the 1970s, these actors have a right to portray these characters again. They have been identified with these characters for almost 40 years, and it would give fans a more satisfactory conclusion than new actors taking on the mantle.