Disney has chosen Eugene Ashe, the screenwriter known for “Sylvie’s Love,” to pen the script for the reboot of “The Rocketeer.” This project will see David Oyelowo both producing and starring in the film, thanks to his two-year first-look deal with Disney. The movie is set for exclusive release on Disney+.
“The Rocketeer,” originally released in 1991, is a period superhero film with a notable cast that includes Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, and the late Paul Sorvino. Directed by Joe Johnston, who worked on “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the film featured impressive visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic and a memorable score by the late James Horner.
The film is based on a comic book character created by Dave Stevens in 1982. The character first appeared in “Starslayer” before receiving its title, which featured adventures that revolved around saving a girlfriend from villains and uncovering sinister plots. While the original film paid homage to the golden age of Hollywood and pulp serials, it fell short of box office expectations but has since gained a devoted following.
Plans to reboot the film with an African-American female lead were announced in 2016, with Max Winkler and Matt Spicer initially attached to the script under the title “The Rocketeers.” This project didn’t progress, but in 2019, Disney introduced an animated series for Disney Junior called “The Rocketeer.” Oyelowo’s reboot, tentatively titled “The Return of the Rocketeer,” was announced in 2020, with J.D. Dillard initially set to direct. However, Dillard later left the project, leaving the director’s role vacant.
Oyelowo, a fan of the original film, is committed to preserving its essence while making it resonate with today’s audience. In the reboot, the protagonist will be an ex-Tuskegee airman, retaining the 1940s milieu. Oyelowo aims to bridge the gap between the original and contemporary expectations.
The reboot will be produced by Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon Productions, with executive producers Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil’s Mortal Media also involved.
Eugene Ashe, a writer and director from Harlem, New York, will be responsible for bringing new life to this classic. He made his feature directorial debut in 2012 with “Homecoming” and gained recognition with the 2020 film “Sylvie’s Love.” This romance set in the early 1960s received critical acclaim for its visuals and authentic portrayal of the era.
Ashe, represented by CAA and Anonymous Content, is poised to deliver an engaging and revitalized version of “The Rocketeer.” The project will merge the original’s nostalgia with contemporary storytelling, making it a significant addition to Disney’s lineup.