Disney is reviving the '80s kids movie Flight of the Navigator for Disney+, the latest in a long line of attempts to reimagine the alien-abduction story over the years. Bryce Dallas Howard is set to direct and produce the movie, which will center on a young girl who travels to the near future after an alien abduction, then has to reconnect with a family who had believed her gone for good. The original movie starred Joey Cramer, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Veronica Cartwright, as well as the voice of Paul Reubens as Max, a wise-cracking alien ship with a cool, distinctive design.
Howard has an existing relationship with Disney+, having directed a couple of episodes of the Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian. According to Deadline, who broke the news, she will also helm an episode of The Book of Boba Fett, a spinoff of The Mandalorian.
The original movie is best remembered for its remarkable visual effects. It earned solid reviews, but was only a modest success commercially, doubling its $9 million budget in 1986. It found a much wider audience on home video, and has since become a cult classic. The Max ships were on display for years at Disney parks.
In 2009, news broke that Disney was readying a remake of the film from writer Brad Copeland. In 2012, Disney brought on Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow to direct from Copeland's script, after a rewrite from writer/producer Derek Connolly. That version fizzled, and then in 2017, Disney announced another attempt, this time with Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson writing. Other potential participants have included Neil Blomkamp, the Jim Henson Company, Oats Studios, and Lionsgate.
While no sequel or remake has ever come to fruition, a documentary about the film's star, Joey Cramer, was released in 2020, titled Life After the Navigator. Cramer, who also appeared in Murder, She Wrote and has had a handful of roles since Flight of the Navigator, found viral fame in 2017 after being arrested for bank robbery.