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Reports: Disney to Develop Sequels to ‘Jungle Cruise’ and ‘The Rocketeer’

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Disney has more good news for fans of period adventure dramas. After announcing plans to develop a streaming series based on 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, the company has reportedly greenlit sequels to Jungle Cruise and, most unexpectedly, The Rocketeer, a 1991 superhero film that had a major dieselpunk vibe.

Jungle Cruise 2

News about a Jungle Cruise sequel was first reported Monday by several entertainment trade publications. Dwayne Johnson, who starred along with Emily Blunt, confirmed the news Tuesday in an Instagram video.

“Thank you, guys, around the world for turning Jungle Cruise into a franchise,” he said.

Prospects for a sequel appeared to be uncertain at first given that the film’s box office performance has fallen far short of its estimated $500 million breakeven point. But it passed $100 million in domestic box office over the weekend, and as the pandemic continues to keep moviegoers out of theaters, that appeared to be good enough for Disney to bank on prospects for future releases.

Set in 1916, the film stars Johnson as riverboat pilot Frank Wolff, who takes British botanist Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) on a trip down the Amazon in search of a tree with healing powers. It received mixed reviews from critics but scored well with audiences.

As with Pirates of the Caribbean, another Disney film franchise, Jungle Cruise is based on a theme park attraction.

Jaume Collet-Serra is likely to return as director, per a story in The Hollywood Reporter. The sequel will be written by Michael Green, who co-wrote the original.

A New Rocketeer

The new Rocketeer movie, entitled The Return of The Rocketeer, appears to be a reboot and a sequel. The original film starred Billy Campbell as Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot in 1938 Los Angeles who discovers a rocket-powered jet pack invented by Howard Hughes. It was based on a comic book character created by Dave Stevens.

In the new movie, the Rocketeer will be a “retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the Rocketeer mantle,” Deadline reports. The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American combat pilots and support personnel who fought in World War II at a time when the U.S. military was segregated.

The film will be produced by David and Jessica Oyelowo, with David possibly starring in the title role. He’s best known for his critically acclaimed portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 film Selma.

The Return of The Rocketeer will be written by Ed Ricourt, whose credits include the TV series Jessica Jones, Wayward Pines, and Raising Dion. Disney is developing the film for its Disney+ streaming service, Deadline reports. The original movie is currently available on Disney+.

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