Have you ever watched a rocketeer film? The Rocketeer has become a Disney cult classic over the years, as the 1991 film directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) has been heralded as a great pre-MCU superhero film from Disney.
Now, Disney is reviving the character with a new Disney+ movie, entitled The Return of the Rocketeer, according to an exclusive from Deadline. David Oyelowo and Jessica Oyelowo are producing the project, which might end up starring David Oyelowo. Also producing are Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil’s Mortal Media.
The Return of the Rocketeer
Disney has been working on bringing The Rocketeer back for years. While the original film was planned to be the beginning of a series of Rocketeer films, Disney canceled further installments in 1991 when the first film saw disappointing box office returns. However, there was the word of a new Rocketeer film back in 2016, which was thought to be a reboot-sequel that would star a Black female character, although it’s unclear if this is the same project.
Additionally, Disney Junior debuted The Rocketeer animated series in 2019, which centered around Katherine “Kit” Secord, the great-granddaughter of Cliff Secord, otherwise known as the original Rocketeer. This attempt at bringing back the character, however, was canceled after one season.
While Oyelowo has not been cast as the lead in The Return of the Rocketeer, the actor would be a great choice for this character. Oyelowo is probably most well-known for playing Martin Luther King Jr. in 2014’s Selma and has also appeared in The Midnight Sky, Chaos Walking, Interstellar, Lincoln, The Butler, and Nightingale. In addition, Oyelowo already has a relationship with Disney, having appeared in A Wrinkle in Time and Queen of Katwe.
Ricourt wrote Lionsgate’s hit feature Now You See Me, grossed more than $351M worldwide, and spawned a sequel that made close to $335M globally. In addition, he’s written for Marvel/Netflix’s Jessica Jones, on which he was also a consulting producer, Wayward Pines, and produced and wrote the Netflix series Raising Dion. He is repped by Verve, Adam Kolbrenner’s Lit Entertainment Group, and attorney George Davis.
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Yoruba Saxon Productions was founded by David and Jessica Oyelowo and is focused on creating values-based content across all platforms and for all quadrants to shift the culture and color outside the lines. Previous and upcoming film and TV projects include Nightingale (HBO), Captive (Paramount), A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight), Come Away (Relativity Media), Five Nights in Maine (FilmRise), The Water Man (RLJE Films/Netflix), Ferguson Rises (PBS), Solitary (Bron) and First Gen (Disney+).
The Bottom Line
We revisited “The Rocketeer” just last year, with /Film’s Josh Spiegel unearthing it from the Disney Vault and calling it an “early superhero masterpiece.” This summer, Billy Campbell sat down for an interview with us as the movie turned 30. “The Rocketeer” also stars Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, and Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes. Dalton played the villain and was only two years from his final outing as James Bond in “License to Kill.”
“The Rocketeer” is one of those films that has maintained a loyal cult following over the years. It was the sophomore feature of Joe Johnston; he was coming off his directorial debut, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” when he made it. Two decades later, Johnston would helm “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and you can definitely see the overlap between that film and “The Rocketeer,” not only in terms of its period setting but also its overall tone nostalgic World War II adventure.
We’ll be following the development of this story and will let you know more details about “The Return of the Rocketeer” as soon as they become available.