Campbell Talks The New “The Rocketeer”


Though director J.D. Dillard has exited the project, Disney is still reportedly developing its “The Return of the Rocketeer” project – a semi-sequel/semi-reboot of the 1991 cult classic which starred Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton.

Campbell starred as a young pilot in 1938 Los Angeles who finds a revolutionary jetpack, a technology that he uses to fight crime. The film was something of a precursor to “Iron Man” and appreciation of it led to its director Joe Johnston being hired to helm “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

About ten years ago, rumors started cropping up that Disney was interested in developing a sequel. The project went through some variations and re-writes, with the current iteration tipped to star David Oyelowo as a former Tuskegee Airman who inherits the rocket pack.

Campbell is currently out talking about his return to another of his iconic legacy characters, Captain Thadiun Okona, for the animated series “Star Trek: Prodigy” a full 34 years after he first played that role in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

Speaking with Collider, he spoke about the new “Rocketeer” and was asked why he thought the film was getting a sequel now:

“I don’t know, to be honest. I think why the movie should come back is that it was… I mean, of course, it wasn’t the first superhero movie. And it’s not a superhero movie, it’s a regular guy movie.

Except people keep telling me, ‘What’s it like to be a superhero?’ But he’s not really. He doesn’t exist in a superhero universe, either. Superman’s not going to come flying around in the Rocketeer universe. So I don’t know exactly.

I tell you what I love about the original film is its sweet spirit. In terms of that, I think that’s reason enough to bring it back. We need more things with a sweet spirit these days.”

The original was planned as a franchise launcher, but when it performed poorly at the box-office the initial sequel plans were ditched. In time, appreciation for the film grew. For now, with Dillard’s recent exit, the film’s status is unclear.

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