Disney announce new "The Rocketeer" Animated Series for Disney Junior
In a surprising move, Disney announced on Tuesday that they would once again try their hands at adapting indie-superhero The Rocketeer to screen. Created by the late illustrator Dan Stevens in 1982, The Rocketeer was a period drama revolving around Cliff Secord; a young man from the 1930s who stumbles upon a rocket pack and uses it to fight crime as the soaring superhero The Rocketeer. The series is much loved for its homages to classic pulp superhero stories and retro-futuristic sci-fi action.
Disney is no stranger to the comic, having adapted it for a 1991 film of the same name, and was rumored to be developing a reboot of the property as recently as two years ago. Instead of a film, this new adaptation of the series will be an animated series aimed at the 2 to 7 demographic, Executive produced by Nicole Dubuc of “Transformers: Rescue Bots” fame, and will hit the airwaves of the Disney Junior channel in 2019. Disney has announced elements of the plot in a press release revealing it to be a re-imagining of the original comic book starring a new young girl named Kit. Kit is given a surprise present on her birthday that reveals her to be the latest in a long line of rocket-powered superheroes. With the assistance of her best friend tesh and mechanically inclined uncle, Kit soars into action with high tech gadgets as the new Rocketeer of a new age.
As part of the announcement, Disney Junior’s Senior Vice President of Original programming Joe D'Ambrosia, further elaborated on the channel’s enthusiasm to the new addition of their lineup: “We are very excited to introduce ‘The Rocketeer’ to our young Disney Junior audience. The vast storytelling found in the original comic books provides the perfect opportunity to create an exciting new adventure series told from a young girl superhero perspective that the whole family can enjoy together.”
Updating the Rocketeer for a younger audience might give some fans pause, but on the whole is a very interesting prospect. Making the mantle a legacy character gives the opportunity for historical stories, and a brand new protagonist donning the costume will help the new generation of viewers relate to the character. Watching Kit grow accustomed to her role as a hero will be similar to how they themselves grow accustomed to the universe. Plus it is always nice to see a new female hero to add more representation to the genre, especially in a show that promotes adventure and scientific discovery. If there is one thing the new cartoon keeps from the source material, it is hopefully the helmet design and technological steam-punk pulp aesthetics, which are both very iconic to the series. In fact, Disney President Michael Eisner wanted to change the design for the film but was shot down by director Joe Johnston who threatened to quit if the design was not honored.
Look for the new series of 11-minute shorts sometime in 2019.