‘The Return of the Rocketeer’: J.D. Dillard to No Longer Direct ‘Rocketeer’ Sequel!!

J.D. Dillard is no longer attached to direct The Return of the Rocketeer, Disney’s attempt to give their cult classic IP new life after The Rocketeer failed at the box office in 1991. The sequel was officially announced last year, but Dillard has reportedly been involved with the project since 2020.

Released long before Disney acquired the rights to most of Marvel’s characters, The Rocketeer was the House of the Mouse’s shot at creating a new superhero franchise. The movie follows a young pilot (Billy Campbell) who finds a revolutionary jet pack, using the high-tech tool to fight crime. While Disney intended to develop multiple sequels to The Rocketeer in the 1990s, the movie bombed at theaters, leading the company to bury the IP. However, as years went by, The Rocketeer became a cult classic, especially for people who see it as a prototype for what would become Iron Man, the first MCU film.

Due to the growing fanbase of The Rocketeer, Disney has been trying to bring the superhero back for a while. Word of a Rocketeer-centric film has been on the streets since 2016. However, the project only gained traction in 2021, when Disney announced the crew handling the sequel. The movie is being produced by David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, and Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil’s Mortal Media. Now You See Me writer Ed Ricourt is also in charge of the script. However, without a director or a production schedule, we remain cautious about The Return of the Rocketeer ever seeing the light of day.

Why J.D. Dillard Won’t Direct ‘The Rocketeer’ Sequel

During an interview with The Wrap, Dillard revealed he’s no longer attached to multiple ongoing projects, including a Star Wars film and the DCEU’s Black Superman movie. In the Rocketeer’s case, Dillard didn’t want to tackle the project due to his latest movie, Devotion, a war biopic focused on the first Black aviator Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and his wingman Tom Hudner (Glenn Powell). For Dillard, it would be hard to go back to the aviation theme so soon after helming a big production with a similar context. In his words:

“You know, it’s tricky. I love, love, love ‘The Rocketeer.’ What I have a slightly hard time wrapping my head around now is going back to pre-1970 aviation. You know, I’m not saying never. But I think I need a breather from period aviation.”

For now, The Return of the Rocketeer remains in development limbo, but you can expect to read about any new development here at Collider.


via Collider

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