Disney Is Rebooting 'The Rocketeer' With a Black Female Lead
"The Rocketeer" is one of Disney's odder misfires, an expensive box office flop based on an indie 1980s comic book that was an homage to the pulpy serials of the '30s and '40s. While it didn't connect with audiences upon its 1991 release, it has become a cult classic in recent years, leading to some speculation that the project was due for a reboot. Now, it appears Disney is indeed spearheading a "Rocketeer" renaissance, but with a decidedly modern bit of retooling.
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop that the Mouse House is currently working on a new "Rocketeer" flick that will be part reboot, part sequel, and take place about six years after the original. The first film followed the exploits of pilot Cliff Secord, who transforms into the titular hero after he discovers a rocket-fueled jetpack that allows him to fly, and takes down a sinister movie star who's secretly a Nazi.
What's different this time around, though, is that the titular hero in the new flick will be played by a black woman, a cool bit of gender- and colorblind casting that's meant to give the film a more modern feel, despite its 1950s setting. According to THR, that tweak will help Disney "differentiate it from another rocket-propelled flying hero: Iron Man," who's already a key part of the Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Here's how THR describes the flick, currently called "The Rocketeers":
The new take keeps the story in a period setting and offers a fresh view on the characters. Set six years after the original 'Rocketeer' and after Secord has 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 jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.
There's no word yet on who's being eyed for the lead, but screenwriters Matt Spicer and Max Winkler (the son of "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler, who helmed the feature "Ceremony" and episodes of sitcoms "New Girl," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Fresh Off the Boat") are already working on the script. In an odd bit of behind the scenes news, the flick will be produced by Brigham Taylor (who co-produced this year's live-action hit "The Jungle Book") and sports stars Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers. According to THR, Griffin and Kalil have their own media company, and are the ones who approached Taylor about rebooting the property.
It sounds like a weird recipe on paper, but we look back on "The Rocketeer" fondly, and are curious to see what this eclectic group can do with this decidedly different concept. Stay tuned to see how it all comes together.
[via: The Hollywood Reporter]
Photo credit: Disney