The Rocketeer has arguably become one of the more beloved cult films from the 1990s. Promoted as being an “airborne Indiana Jones“, the 1991 Disney film starring Jennifer Connelly and Timothy Dalton was the kind of pulpy and fun film that helped to make the Indiana Jones films such classics when they were released, though The Rocketeer was seen as a financial failure when it was released, and only truly gained any notoriety and popularity in the decades following its initial theatrical run.
After already acquiring the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise as well, it seems as though Disney is preparing to bring The Rocketeer back to the big screen once again, though this time with a bit of a more modern twist.
According to THR, the studio is reportedly developing a new sequel/reboot for The Rocketeer, that will this time be titled The Rocketeers, and will be led by a new black female character with the script being written by Max Winkler and Matt Spicer, and Tendo Nagenda and Chaz Salembier overseeing the project.
In keeping with the original’s period setting as well, the new film will take place six years after the events of the original film when the original Rocketeer has disappeared fighting Nazis, and a new black female pilot emerges to take on the mantle of the Rocketeer and fight to stop a corrupt rocket scientist from stealing top secret jetpack technology during a major turning point in the Cold War.
The report states that Disney has been considering bringing the property back ever since they hosted a 20th anniversary screening of the film at the El Capitan Theatre in 2011, where fans lined up for blocks in Rocketeer costumes to see the film, but wanted to find a way to differentiate it from their Iron Man franchise at the time.
Now, considering the climate in today’s culture, I can’t think of any other time when the fun, loving, and light-hearted nature of The Rocketeer could be more necessary. I imagine that the choice to reboot it with a black female lead will probably cause quite a lot of controversy in Facebook comments and Twitter discussions, but seeing Disney ready to be as bold and forward-thinking as they’re being with their castings and decisions now, is yet another comforting step in the right direction.
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