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New Rocketeer – Different Gender

It’s been nearly three decades, but The Rocketeer is getting a reboot. This time instead of a young man using a jetpack to fight Nazis it will reportedly be a team of females (The Rocketeers), led by a black female lead (not yet cast), doing battle with dirty commies during the Cold War.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, the sequel will be written by Max Winkler and Matt Spicer, and produced by Brigham Taylor (The Jungle Book) along with Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil (of the LA Clippers and the Carolina Panthers, respectively).

Cover photos are courtesy of Rike ‘Riddle’ Lecotey.

Rocketeer was based on the popular 1980s indie comic by Dave Stevens and, like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, was a loving homage to the serials of the 1930s and 1940s.

The story followed Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a rocket pack and suit to die for and become embroiled with mobsters and Nazis, as well as Howard Hughes and the FBI.

The Joe Johnston-directed movie starred Billy Campbell as Secord, Jennifer Connelly as his aspiring actress (a Betty Page homage) girlfriend, Timothy Dalton as an Errol Flynn-type actor who is a Nazi spy and Alan Arkin as Secord’s mechanic.

When the movie was released, it grossed only $46.6 million and came in fourth in its opening weekend (it was pummeled by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, City Slickers and Dying Young). Its performance was considered a disappointment by the studio and its creative team. 

But a rare thing happened: The movie took on a life of its own, engendering a massive following who loved its un-ironic, bright and straightforwardly heroic take on characters, all abetted by a score by James Horner. 

When Disney hosted a 20th anniversary screening of the movie in Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre in 2011, fans — many in Rocketeer costumes — lined up for blocks. 

It was around that time that the studio began mulling a reboot of the movie, but sources said it sought a way to differentiate it from another rocket-propelled flying hero: Iron Man. 

The new take keeps the story in a period setting and offers a fresh view on the characters. Set six years after the original Rocketeer and after Secord has vanished while fighting the Nazis, an unlikely new hero emerges: a young African–American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.

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