Looks like Joe Johnston is about to have his biggest career moment. He directed Captain America: The First Avenger for Marvel Studios, and early reactions peg the movie as the most satisfying tentpole of the summer. (I wasn’t thrilled with him getting the gig, and it looks like I’ll have to eat those words — which I’ll happily do if the film is as good as the early buzz suggests.)

Captain America is set primarily during WWII, but this isn’t the first superhero movie Joe Johnston has made in that era. In 1991 Disney released his film The Rocketeer, an adaptation of Dave Stevens‘ comic of the same name, starring Bill Campbell as a stunt pilot who becomes a sort of superhero when a high-tech (for the late ’30s) rocket backpack lands in his hands. There was talk of a sequel at the time, but the movie flopped and Disney has mostly forgotten that it exists. Over the years, however, a fanbase grew, and with Captain America poised to succeed, calls for a Rocketeer sequel might also be heard.

One of the first people to make that call is Joe Johnston himself.

In an interview with Film Journal, the director says simply,

I’d love to make a sequel to The Rocketeer. The film didn’t do as well at the box office as we all hoped, but it has endured and generated a following. It was great fun and I’d love to re-explore Cliff Secord’s world. If there are other comic-book heroes who have as human a story as Steve Rogers, I’d be interested. Too many comic-book movies rely on spectacle when the story is weak.

What are the chances of this actually happening? If Cap is a great success Disney might finally turn out a special edition blu of The Rocketeer, and use that to gauge the potential audience for a sequel. At this point it seems like a pipe dream, but I know there would be a vocal base of support for the idea. That’s never really enough, but it is a start. The great turnout for a recent 20th anniversary screening in LA probably didn’t hurt, either.

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