While the movie is still clearly in early development, The Hollywood Reporter has heard that it will re-imagine the character as a black female hero who dons the rocket pack and suit to fight evil. Joe Johnston's original was adapted from Dave Stevens' 1980s comic by Danny Bilson, William Dear and Paul De Meo and starred Billy Campbell as Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who stumbles across an experimental jet pack and finds himself caught up with mobsters, Nazis, Howard Hughes and the FBI. Designed as a throwback to the serials of the 1930s and 1940s – in the same way that Flash Gordon (1980) channelled the genre – The Rocketeer has long since been boosted into a life of its own, turning it into prime target and an arrow aimed straight at nostalgia.
In the new concept, the story will keep the period setting, but six years after the original film. Secord has vanished while battling Nazis and a new hero, a young, African-American pilot, must take up the Rocketeer mantle to stop an ambitious rocket scientist from stealing the jet pack technology and changing the course of what will become the Cold War. Max Winkler (Ceremony) and Matt Spicer are aboard to write the movie, currently known as The Rocketeers.
Walt Disney Pictures have yet to release an official statement, nor is there a release set, but if done right, it could introduce a whole new generation to the idea of high-flying adventure and heroics.