David Oyelowo (“Jack Reacher,” “Star Wars: Rebels,” “Interstellar”) will star and produce, along with his wife and producing partner Jessica Oyelowo. Ed Ricourt, who collaborated with David on “Sweet Thunder,” will write the project.
It’s only taken Disney 30 years to realize the potential of this franchise. Like Indiana Jones or James Bond, it’s an untapped fountain of possibilities. The original movie was released in 1991 and was based on Dave Steven’s graphic novel. He himself looked to the pulp comic book and Saturday morning serials for inspiration, like the 1949, 12-chapter, black-and-white movie serial from Republic Pictures, “King of the Rocketmen.”
The original, directed by Joe Johnston, was not only a financial success for Disney, making close to $47 million at the domestic box on a $35 million budget, but it quickly became a family favorite and a developed a cult fanbase.
Set in and around Hollywood in 1938, Billy Campbell starred as Cliff, a struggling hotshot pilot who stumbles upon a secret rocket pack project developed by Howard Hughes. However, the FBI knows about it and are also after it, as is dashing Errol Flynn-like actor Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton) who is secretly a Nazi spy and has hired Mafia goons, led by Paul Sorvino, to steal it.
Needless to say Cliff and his mentor/mechanic Peevy, played by the legendary Alan Arkin, embark on an amazing adventure to expose Sinclair and rescue his girlfriend, Jenny (Jennifer Connelly).
According to Deadline, “The Return of the Rocketeer” will have an all-new creative directive, with Ricourt’s story focusing on a retired Tuskegee Airman who takes up the Rocketeer mantle. And already we’re excited, as this is a really interesting direction to go down. Moreover, David Oyelowo starred in the underrated “Red Tails,” which tells the story of the squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen who were finally given the chance to fight in the skies over Italy in 1944. Despite volunteering to battle German planes in the air, they still had to battle discrimination on the ground.