Disney’s 1991 classic The Rocketeer is coming back to the big screen with a big twist. Walt Disney Pictures has put what is described as a “sequel-reboot” to the original movie in development, which will be called The Rocketeers and will be set six years after the events of the original, taking place at the outset of the Cold War. The title character will not be Cliff Secord from the original, with a new character taking over.
The original movie, based on the 1980s indie comic by Dave Stevens, followed Cliff Secord, played by Billy Campbell, a stunt pilot who discovers a rocket pack suit, as he goes on adventures that puts him in the crosshairs of monsters, Nazis and even industrialist Howard Hughes. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Cliff Secord has disappeared while fighting the Nazis, which paves the way for a young African-American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer. She steps up to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War. Max Winkler and Matt Spicer have signed on to write the script.
The original movie only made $46.7 million at the box office, with the studio considering its performance disappointing, but the fan base kept growing to massive proportions over the years. The studio held a 20th Anniversary screening at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood back in 2011, with fans lining up for blocks for a chance to see this movie on the big screen again. The site reports that Disney started thinking of ideas to reboot this property around the same time as the anniversary screening, although they were trying to find ways to differentiate the property from Marvel’s Iron Man.
Ironically, this reboot-sequel may actually have more in common with Iron Man than they think. Earlier this month, Marvel Comics announced that, at the end of their Civil War II comic book series, Tony Stark will step aside as Iron Man, paving the way for a 15-year-old African-American teenager named Riri Williams to take over as this iconic hero. It’s possible that this comic book story line may have inspired Disney to go in a similar direction with their Rocketeers reboot-sequel, but we don’t know for sure.
Brigham Taylor (The Jungle Book) is producing alongside two athletes, L.A. Clippers basketball star Blake Griffin and Carolina Panthers football star Ryan Kalil. Both Griffin and Kalil are partners in a company called Mortal Media, and they approached Brigham Taylor with the idea for this reboot. Max Winkler is the son of actor Henry Winkler, who made his feature writing and directing debut with the 2011 indie comedy Ceremony. His new film Flower is in post-production, and he has directed episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Grinder, New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat and Casual. Matt Spicer co-wrote the Flower script with Max Winkler, and they both also co-wrote the script for Magic Camp, based on a story by Steve Martin.