Fans of Joe Johnston’s 1991 Disney film The Rocketeer have been waiting 30 years for this news: a new, live-action Rocketeer film is officially in the works. It’s called The Return of the Rockeeter and it’s being developed for Disney+.
According to Deadline, David Oyelowo (Selma, Star Wars Rebels) is among the producers and may star in the project, which “will have an all-new creative directive ... focusing on a retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the mantle of the Rocketeer.” That sounds like a reboot-sequel if you ask me.
Ed Ricourt (Now You See Me, Wayward Pines) wrote the screenplay which is being produced under the banner Yoruba Saxon, a company run by David and Jessica Oyelowo. It signed a first-look deal with Disney earlier this summer after David Oyelowo’s directorial debut, The Water Man, was released.
The Rockeeter originally starred Bill Campbell as a stunt pilot named Cliff who happens upon an experimental jet pack in the late 1930s. A jet pack that a group of Nazis are also after, as they believe it’ll help them take over the world. And so the film becomes a very exciting, period superhero film with Cliff eventually defeating the Nazis. It co-starred Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, and Paul Sorvino, and is on Disney+ now. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s still truly excellent.
Watching it even now, the film feels like a franchise starter. So Disney was surely disappointed when, upon release, it failed to gross even $50 million in the U.S. Since then, the film has always has a very passionate legion of fans, many of whom are filmmakers and actors themselves, so there have been blips or rumors of Rocketeer projects over the years (there was even a short-lived animated kids series). This one, however, is by far the most promising one yet, and fans have Disney+ and the Oyelowos to thank.
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