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New Rocketeer movie jets to Disney Plus

The Rocketeer
(Image credit: Disney)

Disney is ushering a new version of the Rocketeer to the screen, dubbed The Return of the Rocketeer.

It's been thirty years since the first film arrived, a 1991 big-budget pic directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), and it's aged well in the intervening decades. Starring Bill Campbell as a stunt pilot who discovers a jetpack prototype which transforms him into the titular character, the movie is based on the graphic novel by Dave Stevens, and has since been rediscovered and heralded a cult classic. 

According to Deadline, the character is slated to return to the screen in a Disney Plus movie, with David Oyelowo and Jessica Oyelowo set to produce this new iteration. Will the actor also star? Perhaps. The new film is dubbed a "possible starring project" for Oyelowo, who is focusing on the behind-the-lens aspect of the film. His Yoruba Saxon production company is developing the film as part of a first-look deal with Disney.

Story details remain thin on the ground, but the report says the script will focus on "a retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the Rocketeer mantle." Ed Ricourt is writing the screenplay. The Now You See Me scribe also penned episodes for Jessica Jones, Wayward Pines, and Raising Dion.

This isn't the first time we've heard of The Rocketeer making a comeback. Disney's plans to start an entire franchise based on the 1991 movie were thwarted by a disappointing box office return, leaving it dormant for decades. But in 2016, word of a sequel emerged. 

The Rocketeers was intended to serve as both a sequel for fans and a reboot for those unfamiliar with the character. It was going to revolve around a Black female pilot who takes up the Rocketeer mantle to stop a corrupt rocket scientist from turning back the Cold War. 

It's uncertain if any remnants of that outline remain. That proposed sequel was to be written by Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Max Winkler and Ingrid Goes West's Matt Spicer, and while they're no longer involved, producer Brigham Taylor of The Jungle Book, who was attached to that earlier sequel, is on board for The Return of the Rocketeer.

While we wait for more news, check out our guide to the best movies on Disney Plus. Not signed up yet? Make sure you're prepped with our guide to scoring the best Disney Plus deals.

Gem Seddon

I'm GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter. I'm a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator. You can find my byline on our best Netflix movies and best Netflix shows lists.