Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blast Off?: Disney Plans a Sequel to 'The Rocketeer'

More news concerning live-action Disney films that aren't remakes of animated classics continues with today's surprising announcement...

Disney is looking to once again jumpstart the long-awaited sequel to their 1991 cult classic comic book-based The Rocketeer. You heard that right... A sequel, not a remake of the original. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will be set during the Cold War and will focus a black female pilot who takes up the mantle. Two writers are attached, Max Winkler (you guessed, Henry Winkler's son, wrote and directed Ceremony) and Matt Spicer (an up-and-coming writer currently working with Winkler on other projects). Jungle Book producer Brigham Taylor will produce alongisde Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil...

I'm rather surprised at this news. Not just because Disney's live-action slate is mostly remakes of the animated classics, but also because... The Rocketeer is very much like TRON. It was a box office flop back when it was released, it polarized critics, but later garnered a good-sized cult following. Its retro and pulpy vibe are admired today, and director Joe Johnston brought that to his Captain America: The First Avenger some twenty years later. To get that pulpy, Indiana Jones-like adventure again would be nice, especially after so many pulp-like movies bombing. (Some of which being Disney's own, like John Carter of Mars.)

Disney put their all into TRON: Legacy way back in the day, marketing the living daylights out of it. While the film made a sizable amount of money ($400 million), it wasn't enough to cover all the costs, so Disney remained iffy on the TRON franchise from that point onward. Animated TV series TRON: Uprising dashed out of the gate two years later, only to be randomly thrown into a midnight death slot, show didn't make it past a single season despite initially strong reception. TRON 3 continued to stall and stall and stall... In early 2015, we heard it was on track to begin filming in the fall. But then Disney live-action's Tomorrowland, a similar sci-fi picture, tanked. Bye bye TRON...

So if The Rocketeer 2 moves forward, there is some hope. TRON: Legacy's marketing campaign was so huge and overstuffed because then-Chairman of the film division Rich Ross (context: the man lasted only two years as a Chairman, think about that) thought the film was definitely going to be "the next Avatar". I'm not joking. That kind of count-the-chickens-before-they-hatch mentality won't be a problem for The Rocketeer 2, for Disney knows better.

That all being said, I won't believe this is actually happening until cameras are rolling. It's really in its infancy right now, it doesn't have a director, so anything can happen in the next few years. Even if it gets a director and a full cast, the plug can still be pulled at any time. I'll always bring up George Miller's Justice League: Mortal. They had everything locked for that project, until Warner Bros. canceled it. They saw no need for it after The Dark Knight, wanting to focus on individual superhero stories instead. (And ironically, Marvel started their Marvel Cinematic Universe that same year.)

Disney's very good at announcing non-remake live-action projects, only to pull them or not do anything with them. Maybe I'll eat some crow in the next few months. Some speculate that the currently undetermined live-action Disney film set to come out exactly a year from today will be Ava DuVernay's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, as Oprah Winfrey was cast yesterday and some sites indicated that filming would begin around this time. Reports also say that Disney wants to do their Jungle Cruise movie starring The Rock, and Lasse Halstrom's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms seems to be a go.

Again, we shall see.

What do you think will happen?


  1. Speaking of that untitled 7/28/2017 Disney live-action film, when do you think we'll hear about what it is?

    1. Hopefully soon. Should be filming now, if it's a big VFX spectacle.

  2. Hopefully the film gets to made and a good director gets a hold on it. It would be cool if someone like Steven Spielberg got behind it but after The BFG completely bombed it probably won't happen.