Return to Fantasia
Who can forget The NeverEnding Story? If you were a child of the ’80s or ’90s, chances are you rented one of the films from this trilogy from Blockbuster at least once, if not dozens of times.
As a kid, The NeverEnding Story movies were paramount in my canon of fantasy and adventure films, filled with imaginative and diverse characters, stunning and extraordinary places, and threatening (although often invisible) antagonists. Of course, each sequel got a little worse, but as a kid, I was more than willing to put up with it. As an adult, I admit I went back and watched the films only to be shocked, frankly, at the pacing, casting, plot development, and special effects— and not in a good way. (Don’t even get me started on the anticlimactic “Moon Child” reveal.) 10-year-old me found the book even to be too dense and complicated for the story I had so loved as a little kid.
Regardless, The NeverEnding Story is still one of my favorite staples in fiction, and I was secretly thrilled earlier this year to see Spotify’s “Never Ending ’80s” promotion featuring Noah Hathaway (the original Atreyu) riding Falkor to the sweet tunes of Limahl’s theme song. (Spotify reported that people still stream the song every day. Spotify did not report that the person streaming the song on repeat is me.)
So naturally I was left wondering: After three films and 32 years, where are they now?
Barret Oliver (Bastian Bux)
After his breakout success in the first NeverEnding Story movie at just nine years of age, Oliver found continued success as a child actor. He had lead roles in Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Cocoon and its sequel, and as the title role in D.A.R.Y.L., for which he won a Saturn Award.
Oliver stopped acting in the late ’80s and became a Scientologist. He has since dedicated his life to the study and teaching of photography and printing, specifically of nineteenth century processes such as Woodburytype, a subject on which he wrote a book.
Alan Oppenheimer (voice of Falkor, Rockbiter, Narrator, and More)
Alan Oppenheimer is a famed voice and character actor who already had an extensive resume before working on The NeverEnding Story in 1984. Some of his credits include the original Westworld, Freaky Friday, and many television classics like I Spy, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, The Andy Griffith Show, The Partridge Family, and Bewitched.
Since The NeverEnding Story, Oppenheimer has lent his talent to Little Nemo, various seasons of Star Trek, and numerous other TV shows, movies, and video games.
Tami Stronach (The Childlike Empress)
Stronach also made her acting debut in the film, appearing as the precocious but dying Childlike Empress.
Tami was born to Scottish and Israeli parents in Tehran, Iran. Both of her parents were archaeologists. The family fled to Israel during the Iranian Revolution before moving to America.
Since The NeverEnding Story, Stronach has not appeared in many other films; her family preferred that she not risk the dangers that befell so many child actors at the time.
Instead, Stronach became a professional dancer, touring with the Israeli-American Neta Dance Company.
Next up: Atreyu!