It's been 30 years since The Rocketeer debuted in theaters and while the film underperformed in theaters, it's become an enduring classic for fans. The film even spawned a television series 28 years after the film's release, Disney Junior's computer-animated The Rocketeer. But as for a sequel to the original film or even a revival of the original story, The Rocketeer star Billy Campbell doesn't think a live-action revival is in the works anytime soon despite fan hope and plenty of rumors. Campbell told Slashfilm that while the film has had a long-lasting appeal, he doesn't know if anything will happen and if it does, if it will satisfy.
"As of yet, nothing's happened. To be honest, I don't know if anything will happen," Campbell, who played Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer in the film, said. "What I do know is that the film endures, and the reason it has such a long-lasting appeal, I think, is its spirit. It has a really sweet spirit. That more than anything is the reason for its longevity. I hope they do another something but I also hope they respect the spirit of the original. I can only imagine that unless you get the right people involved to do it properly, that it's almost bound to be a disappointment."
Directed by Joe Johnston, the original film was Dave Stevens’ indie comics from the 1980s. Stevens created a pulp adventure story that was an homage to the serials of the 1930s and 1940s. The Rocketeer followed stunt pilot Cliff Secord who finds a suit and rocket pack that he just can’t resist putting on. The act leads him into conflict with the mob, Nazis, and the FBI. The film starred Jennifer Connelly as Secord's girlfriend, an aspiring actress, Timothy Dalton as a Nazi spy masquerading as an actor, and Alan Arkin as a mechanic who worked with Secord. While a cult classic today, The Rocketeer opened to a disappointing $46.6 million, coming in fourth at the box office.
In 2016, Walt Disney Pictures confirmed that they were rebooting The Rocketeer with a sequel titled The Rocketeers that would take place six years after the original film with a black female in the lead role who takes on the mantle of The Rocketeer after original Rocketeer Cliff Secord went missing while fighting the Nazis. However, there have been no real updates on that project.
Even if The Rocketeer doesn't get a sequel or a revival, though, Cambell still has a good outlook on the legacy of the film.
"It was this wonderful, seminal moment in my career and in my life," he said. "It's immensely gratifying that something so seminal in my life is also something that is so well-loved by so many people."