Eugene Ashe to Write Disney+ ‘Rocketeer’ Reboot, David Oyelowo Still Attached to Star
Disney has been trying for many years to get a new installment on the Rocketeer off the ground. Now, that the writers strike has officially ended the studio is wasting no time moving a project forward.
According to TheWrap, Eugene Ashe has been tapped to write a reboot of the Rocketeer, which is being developed for Disney+. Additionally, David Oyelowo (Queen of Katwe) is on board to star and produce. David and his wife Jessica Oyelowo signed a first-look deal with Walt Disney Pictures through their Yoruba Saxon production company back in 2021.
NBA and NFL superstars Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil’s Mortal Media are executive producers for the project, the banner recently produced Hulu’s White Men Can’t Jump remake.
Released in 1991, the original Rocketeer is based on the character of the same name created by comic book writer/artist Dave Stevens, who also served as a co-producer. Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, and Tiny Ron Taylor. Set in 1938 Los Angeles, California, The Rocketeer tells the story of stunt pilot Cliff Secord who discovers a jet pack that enables him to fly. His heroic deeds attract the attention of Howard Hughes and the FBI, as well as sadistic Nazi operatives.
A TV series based on the film premiered on Disney Junior on November 8, 2019. It focuses on Kit Secord, the seven-year-old great-granddaughter of Cliff who receives the rocket and becomes the new Rocketeer. Despite positive reviews, the series was canceled after one season.
In January 2020, it was announced that Azia Squire had written a new draft for a sequel with J. D. Dillard (Sleight) set to direct. The title The Return of the Rocketeer was announced. Ed Ricourt was hired to write a new draft of the screenplay, with Oyelowo in the starring role. At the time, the plot was to center on a former Tuskegee Airman who inherits the rocket pack uniform and the heroic mantle. Ultimately, Dillard announced that he was no longer attached to direct, as he wanted to take “a breather from period aviation” after having made Devotion. It is unknown if Ashe’s script will use any of the previous writers concepts.