In 1991, The Rocketeer tried to revive a bygone aesthetic style for an increasingly cynical, noise-adoring country: the simple thrills of the Saturday morning serial. Based on an ‘80s comic book, the Disney movie starring Jennifer Connelly and Bill Campbell was bathed in the art deco hues of pre-WWII Americana, and Joe Johnston’s era-perfect direction turns the film into a more innocent kind of action movie in the time of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (If nothing else, check the film out if you want to see what’s in a lot of ways the direct predecessor of Captain America: The First Avenger, also directed by Johnston.)
Upon its release, The Rocketeer grossed a disappointing $46 million at the box office, which scrapped any and all rumored follow-ups. Now, though, Disney has greenlit a reboot/sequel for the property. Variety reports that the new film will take place “…six years after the original Rocketeer, Cliff Secord, vanished while fighting the Nazis. An unlikely new hero emerges – a young African–American female pilot – who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jetpack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.”
The film is slated to be titled The Rocketeers, and will be an interesting experiment in whether a style that didn’t work in one forward-minded decade will be embraced anew by an even less analog world. In the meantime, the film is in early development, and for some reason Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin will be producing, through his company Mortal Media.
We’ll keep an eye out for any and all news, and will hope that Disney can manage a poster on the elite level of The Rocketeer‘s original teaser.