Joe Johnston‘s dream of making a sequel to The Rocketeer looks unlikely to come true any time soon. That is not, as some previously thought, because Disney has forgotten about the property altogether. Quite the contrary. The studio is said to be considering a reboot of the 1991 movie, itself an adaptation of Dave Stevens‘ ’80s comic book about a hero from the ’30s. More details after the jump.
Vulture got the inside scoop from unnamed “spies” familiar with the studio’s plans. The Rocketeer remake / reboot / whatever you want to call it will be one of the first major projects developed under new studio chief Alan Horn, who took over the post in June. It’s kind of a surprising move, seeing as the original film fared poorly at the box office despite a heavy marketing push. As the site points out, however, it could be Horn’s effort to dig into Disney’s own properties instead of relying solely on acquisitions like the Muppets and the Marvel superhero stable.
The 1991 film centered around stunt pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell), who stumbles across a stolen Howard Hughes-designed rocket pack. After trying out the device, he begins using it for good, coming up against gangsters and Nazi spies. Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, and Terry O’Quinn also appeared in the film. The Rocketeer costume bears a distinct resemblance to Disney and Marvel’s Iron Man, as you can see in the header image; as the project moves forward, I wouldn’t be surprised if the design was tweaked to avoid confusion.
That visual similarity isn’t The Rocketeer‘s only connection to Disney’s Marvel universe, either. Johnston went on to direct 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger, though he’s been replaced at the helm by Joe and Anthony Russo for the 2014 sequel. There’s no word on whether Johnston will be involved with the do-over, but expect that question to get asked and hopefully answered in the coming weeks. Currently, Disney is on the lookout for a new writer to tackle the tale.