It's been 30 years since The Rocketeer lit up screens with its charmingly old-fashioned thrills and high-flying spills. With fans of the movie still wondering whether a sequel will ever come to fruition. Well, lead actor, Billy Campbell, recently cast some doubt whether a follow-up will happen, while leaving the door ajar and stating that he still hopes it does, so long as it continues the legacy of the first movie in a satisfying way.
"As of yet, nothing's happened. To be honest, I don't know if anything will happen. What I do know is that the film endures, and the reason it has such a long-lasting appeal, I think, is its spirit. It has a really sweet spirit. That more than anything is the reason for its longevity. I hope they do another something but I also hope they respect the spirit of the original. I can only imagine that unless you get the right people involved to do it properly, that it's almost bound to be a disappointment."
While a property like The Rocketeer seems prime for a comeback, especially in the current climate of legacy sequels, Billy Campbellis happy either way, believing that the first movie stands solidly enough on its own. "It was this wonderful, seminal moment in my career and in my life," he said. "It's immensely gratifying that something so seminal in my life is also something that is so well-loved by so many people."
Released in 1991, The Rocketeer is a period superhero movie from Walt Disney Pictures, and is based on the character of the same name created by comic book artist and writer Dave Stevens. Set in 1938 Los Angeles, California, The Rocketeer tells the story of stunt pilot Cliff Secord who stumbles upon a hidden rocket-powered jet pack that he thereafter uses to fly without the need of an aircraft. His heroic deeds soon attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, who are hunting for the missing jet pack, as well as the Nazi operatives that stole it from Hughes.
Directed by Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger's Joe Johnston, The Rocketeer stars Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer alongside several very recognizable names including Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, and Tiny Ron Taylor. While the movie did not reach the financial heights that the studio had hoped for, it was well received by critics who praised The Rocketeer's ability to recreate the tone of traditional pulp matinee serials of the 1930s.
The movie has since garnered something of a cult following, with many hoping that The Rocketeer would be brought back for a long-awaited sequel. The plan had always been to spawn a franchise similar to Indiana Jones, but due to the first movie's disappointing box office this was not to be. On July 28, 2016, it was confirmed that Walt Disney Pictures would reboot the property with The Rocketeers, picking up six years after the original with a black female pilot in the lead role, who takes up the mantle after Cliff Secord goes missing while fighting the Nazis.
There have been few updates regarding The Rocketeers ever since, though it was reported last year that a new draft had been written, with plans for the sequel to be released on Disney+. Here's hoping that The Rocketeer gets the chance to fly again, and that it lives up to the legacy of its predecessor.
For those desperate for more from the classic hero, a TV series based on the movie was released on Disney Junior back in 2019, which focuses on Kit Secord, the seven-year-old great granddaughter of Cliff who receives the jetpack and becomes the new Rocketeer. This comes to us from Slash Film.