Disney’s THE ROCKETEER, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated movies of the last 30 years. It seemed to have all the necessary ingredients to be a huge hit when it was released but the film just didn’t connect with moviegoers enough to generate much heat. Before the film was released, there were plans to turn The Rocketeer into a franchise but modest box office returns dashed those plans. That being said, the film went on to become a cult classic and it’s much more appreciated now than it was back in the day so fans, such as myself, still hold out hope that a sequel can be made.
The Rocketeer recently celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 21 and the film’s star, Billy Campbell, recently spoke with Slash Film about the possibility of a sequel ever happening. Campbell cast some doubts on a sequel getting made all these years later but he left the door open for the possibility if it were to continue the legacy of the original:
“As of yet, nothing’s happened. To be honest, I don’t know if anything will happen. What I do know is that the film endures, and the reason it has such a long-lasting appeal, I think, is its spirit. It has a really sweet spirit. That more than anything is the reason for its longevity. I hope they do another something but I also hope they respect the spirit of the original. I can only imagine that unless you get the right people involved to do it properly, that it’s almost bound to be a disappointment.”
The Rocketeer, released in 1991, is a period superhero movie that is based on the character of the same name created by comic book artist and writer Dave Stevens. Taking place in 1938 Los Angeles, California, the film tells the story of stunt pilot Cliff Secord (Campbell) who stumbles upon a hidden rocket-powered jet pack that he thereafter uses to fly without the need of an aircraft. Secord’s heroic deeds attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, who are hunting for the missing jet pack. Directed by Joe Johnston, who has said that he got the job directing Captain America: The First Avenger because of this film, The Rocketeer was well-received by critics but it grossed a modest $46.6 million on a $35 million budget. It’s not a total disaster but definitely not what Disney was expecting from a potential summer tentpole that was expected to start a franchise. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, and Tiny Ron Taylor.
Back in July of 2016, it was confirmed that Walt Disney Pictures would reboot the brand with The Rocketeers, which would pick up six years after the original with a black female pilot in the lead, who would take up the mantle after Cliff Secord goes missing while fighting the Nazis. There haven’t been many updates on the project since it was announced but last year it was reported that a new draft had been written, with plans for a release on Disney+.
Would YOU want to see a sequel to The Rocketeer?