ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Michael Jackson might be the most famous artist of the last century. He might be the most famous person of the last century. He achieved phenomenal fame even before the concept of celebrity was born, and by the time the '90s rolled around it had eclipsed everything. So it's pretty hard to find things you didn't already know about the man universally considered the King of Pop. (Sorry, Bieber.)

But there might be one thing - one small, and yet very big, aspect of MJ's insane life which somehow passed you, and half the world, by.

It's called Captain EO.

Captain EO was what you might call a vanity project. A sci-fi / space epic directed by Francis Ford Coppola, produced by George Lucas and starring Anjelica Huston, the movie cost a mind-blowing $24m to make (and it's only 17 minutes long). Filmed in 3D, it aired just once on MTV, and was never released on video.

Basically, the only people who saw Captain EO did so by visiting Disney's theme parks between 1986 and 1998.

The plot is pretty loose, to say the least, and involves the titular Captain (played by MJ himself) being captured by the Supreme Leader of a distant planet (Anjelica Huston), at which point EO attempts to tease out the hidden good in the Supreme Leader by playing her several of his songs.

Anjelica Huston and MJ on the set of Captain EO
Anjelica Huston and MJ on the set of Captain EO

If it sounds cheesy, absurd and off-the-scale camp, well, that's because it is. But the film also reflects the weirdly endearing childlike quality that radiated from Michael Jackson throughout his life and career.

After his death in 2009, a vocal group of fans begun a campaign to get Captain EO screening at Disneyland once again, and in 2010 it actually happened - the movie replaced Honey, I Shrunk the Audience at Disneyland in Paris, Tokyo and California, continuing to show for five years until finally closing in 2015.

Which means that a few million people around the world have seen MJ's crazy mini-movie epic, and yet hardly anybody else knows a thing about it - and, with no DVD release and no way of watching the movie besides bootlegs, it's likely to stay with that way for a while.

Graphic novel art based on Captain EO
Graphic novel art based on Captain EO

But perhaps Jackson's most forgotten film isn't dead yet. Perhaps the story could live on, be expanded or gain a sequel in comic book or graphic novel form. Fifty years from now, Thriller will still be considered the pinnacle of the music video form. Perhaps by then, a new generation will have consumed Captain EO in some way we can't yet imagine. Because if there's one thing we learned from the man who lived his crazy life in the glare of a camera lens and became the greatest superstar the world had ever seen?

Expect the unexpected...


Latest from our Creators