Is there room in Tinsel Town for a simple man strapped to a jet engine to prove himself a hero worthy to stand alongside Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and that Canadian fellow with the overgrown fingernails? Disney is certainly hoping so, as the House That Mickey Built is currently hoping to remake its 1991 action-adventure flick The Rocketeer.
According to Vulture, the movie to resurrect the cult hit film couldn’t come at a better time. Not only are comic book heroes a huge deal these days, but the film’s main character is actually highly reminiscent of the aforementioned Iron Man. Vulture explains:
… while the property was actually a flop at the time, its similarity to the current Disney-Marvel cash cow Iron Man is more than a little striking: In it, a racing pilot named Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) discovers a rocket-pack prototype in his stunt plane, hidden there by the gangsters who stole it from Howard Hughes; Secord tries it out, and, like Tony Stark, quickly discovers that a) flying without a plane is SO cool, and b) you gotta fight the bad guys (including Timothy Dalton, who two years prior had starred as James Bond for the second time) and save the girl (a luminous Jennifer Connelly).
While we will grant Vulture those points — even if it seems like a bit of stretch — the key difference between The Rocketeer and Iron Man is that the former is a very esoteric character from lesser-known comic book publishers, while the latter is among the handful of most recognizable comic characters in the history of the medium. Then again, in Disney’s favor, Blade wasn’t exactly well-known before Guillermo del Toro made his films about that particular character and thanks to quality direction, a good script and a spot-on performance by Wesley Snipes, Marvel’s most famous vampire hunter is now actually famous in a meaningful, mainstream sense. The same could, theoretically, happen with The Rocketeer.
Vulture claims that this project is in the very early stages, with Disney having yet to meet writers for the potential film, so while things could change drastically prior to this thing hitting theaters, it should be interesting to see how it fares. Can any movie with a comic book link be a hit? Will viewers care about a hero who wasn’t originally dreamed up by Jack Kirby and/or Stan Lee?
For that matter, we wonder when Disney hopes to debut this thing. As far as we know the company is launching movies based on Marvel’s comic book characters every six months or so for at least the next three years, and we doubt Disney would want The Rocketeer remake to have to go head-to-head with Thor 2 or, even worse, the sequel to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.
While we enjoyed the original Rocketeer for being a pulpy adventure tale very much in the style of its early 80s source material, we’re curious to see how it fits in our modern movie landscape. If nothing else, we’re hoping for a cameo from Timothy Dalton — that guy’s eyebrows were just made for supervillainy.