Disney is rebooting the beloved action-adventure movie The Rocketeer, and it already has an acclaimed producer as well as a possible star. According to The Hollywood Reporter, David Oyelowo is producing The Return of The Rocketeer, and he may star in the movie as well. An all-star creative team has already taken shape behind the film.
The Rocketeer began as an indie comic book in the 1980s, playing on the tropes of serials from the 1930s and 1940s. It was adapted into a movie in 1991 and became a cult classic, so Disney is bringing it around for another pass. The reboot will be written by Ed Ricourt, according to a report by Deadline. Oyelowo’s wife, actress Jessica Oyelowo will also produce for their Yoruba Saxon Productions company.
Other producers already attached to the movie include Brigham Taylor for Yoruba Saxon and Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil for Mortal Media. Beyond these staffing choices, few details are available on the production, including whether it will be a belated sequel or a more straightforward reboot.
The Rocketeer was created by Dave Stevens. It stars Clifford Secord, a stunt pilot who accidentally finds a rocket-powered jet pack allowing him to fly and perform insane aerial stunts. He uses this newfound power for good as a kind of proto-superhero.
The story is set in the 1930s, so it soon turns out that the jet pack was invented by Howard Hughes, then stolen by Nazi operatives. Secord must evade both of them as well as the FBI, who all want to take the jet pack back from him. The movie was faithful in adapting the Rocketeer’s pack, helmet and outfit to look authentic to the time period, creating the iconic figure fans love.
Of course, any of these elements are up for revision in a new take on The Rocketeer. The character has not had the most prolific life by comic book hero standards — Stevens’ original Rocketeer comics were collected into one book by IDW Publishing in 2009, and no other creator ever handled him directly. IDW published a prose anthology of short stories about the Rocketeer in 2014, and the character appeared in a 1991 video game as well as the movie mentioned above.
There was also a short-lived animated Rocketeer TV series on The Disney Channel in 2019, though it lasted just one season. This version was about a seven-year-old girl named Kit Secord, who inherited the jet pack from her father to protect the town of Hughesville.
The Rocketeer and the 2019 TV show are both streaming now on Disney+. Stay tuned for more news on the reboot as it becomes available.