Often, when an original medium with content for older audiences is retooled into a kiddie-friendly adaptation, the results are a mixed bag with a tendency to be subpar. When news came from 2018 that Disney was making a younger-ages spinoff series for their 1991 Touchstone Pictures film “The Rocketeer” (based on the comic-book character created by Dave Stevens), reactions were cautious at best. How does one “kiddify” a story about a pilot and his prototype jetpack fighting against the mob and Nazis? How about making the hero his daughter? That is how “The Rocketeer” for Disney Junior is being hyped.
According to IGN, Disney Junior has finally revealed the premiere date for their 3D-animated series “The Rocketeer.” It will be on next month not just at Disney Junior but also the main Disney Channel and the DisneyNOW TV “everywhere” app. From the basic show premise of a young girl receiving a mysterious jetpack which she uses to fly and help her community, it is now further explained that the girl is Kit Secord (Kitana Turnbull), daughter of pilot (and original Rocketeer) Cliff Secord and his wife Sareena (Kathy Najimy). For bonus points, Cliff is being voice-reprised by Billy Campbell, who portrayed him in the flesh for Disney’s 1991 “Rocketeer” film.
The show’s format has been elaborated on as well. In the same fashion as most Disney Junior animated shows, each half-hour episode will contain two stories, each running 11 minutes at most, showcasing how Kit uses her flying jetpack to rescue townspeople in trouble, or to fight against (thankfully) comedic criminals and other villains. She will get help from “ground control,” her best friend Tesh, and her Grandpa Ambrose, who does regular maintenance and upgrades on her jetpack with Tesh’s help at Hughesville Airport. On missions, Kit is also accompanied by her pet bulldog Butch.
Disney’s announcement of the young-ages “Rocketeer” series last year noted how the “vast storytelling from the original comic books” provides fertile ground for the development of an adventure show fit for the whole family, with a little girl as the hero. The same vast storytelling is also the catalyst for a separate “Rocketeer” production that is supposedly a film sequel to the 1991 movie. Scant information reveals that the planned follow-up takes place in the latter days of World War II, with a new Rocketeer using another jetpack following the disappearance of Cliff fighting Nazis. Meanwhile, the Disney Junior “Rocketeer” animated series can be expected to start on November 8.
Image from Disney Junior YouTube