San Diego Comic Con 2019 continues to produce fun stuff for us geeks, and this past Saturday at Disney Junior’s Rocketeer panel this new trailer was unveiled.
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It’s a new animated adventure series loosely based on the original hit film, The Rocketeer. The new cartoon focuses on Kit, a young girl who, like Princess Shuri of Wakanda, is meant to be a role model for girls interested in STEM. The show will premiere on Disney Junior this fall, and is aimed at a much younger audience (and will therefore have a large educational component), serving ages 2-7.
The Rocketeer is based on the 1991 movie written by Danny Bilson and the late Paul De Meo. The movie was based on the comic books by the late Dave Stevens.
Kit receives a surprise package on her birthday, revealing that she’s next in line to become the Rocketeer, a legendary superhero who has the ability to fly with the help of a rocket-powered jet pack. Armed with her cool new gear and secret identity, Kit is ready to take flight and save the day with her gadget-minded best friend, Tesh, and airplane-mechanic uncle, Ambrose, who join her on epic adventures.
There were rumors in 2016 of a sequel/reboot to The Rocketeer movie, which would have passed the hero’s mantle and jet pack to an African-American woman. She would have been a pilot whose adventures took place during the Cold War. Some of the ideas from this proposed sequel may be showing up in the new animated show. However, the animated The Rocketeer series on Disney Junior is set in modern times.
“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,” said Joe D’Ambrosia, Disney Junior’s Senior VP of Original Programming.
Each episode of The Rocketeer will have two eleven-minute stories and an original song. It’s unclear whether the song will be between the two stories, as with Veggie Tales and Thomas the Tank Engine, or in the episodes, as with Phineas and Ferb.
Former child actress Nicole Dubuc will be the executive producer for The Rocketeer. She was one of the three daughters on Major Dad.
Original Rocketeer (from the 1991 film) Billy Campbell will appear in The Rocketeer animated series as Dave Secord, Kit’s father.
“This is my first voice-acting job ever and I’m thrilled that it’s for The Rocketeer,” Campbell said in a statement. “This has been a really nice full-circle moment for me and I’m looking forward to introducing a new generation of kids, including my own, to the Rocketeer’s stories.”
Also joining the cast is Kitana Turnbull (A Series of Unfortunate Events) as Kit. The rest of the voice cast is made up of Frank Welker (Scooby-Doo) as Grandpa Ambrose and Butch the bulldog, Callan Farris (Disney Channel’s upcoming Gabby Duran & The Unsittables) as Kit’s best friend, Tesh, and Navia Robinson (Disney Channel’s Raven’s Home) as Kit’s flight school classmate, Valerie Valkyrie. Voicing the recurring comedic villains in the series are Maria Bamford (Arrested Development) and Kari Wahlgren (DC Superhero Girls) as sister team, Laura and Harley, Maurice LaMarche (Futurama) as Sylvester Slapdash, Charlie Adler (The Transformers franchise) and Parvesh Cheena (Disney Junior’s upcoming Mira, Royal Detective) as The Great Orsino and Deany, respectively; and celebrity chef Ted Allen (Chopped) as Cast-Iron Chef.
A Rocketeer That Might Have Been
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the original film The Rocketeer, animator John Banana and crew released this remarkable 3D animated film, some of the footage of which has been depicted as potentially from the new Disney animated series. Unfortunately this short film has nothing to do with the new production, but one can see the potential for the idea of an animated series based more firmly on the original than the new expressly-for-kids version Disney has in production now.
This version is set in the 1920’s, and holds pretty true to the original character ideas, but with the addition of a young boy whom The Rocketeer saves.
Noteworthy in this production is the contribution of Fabrice Ascione, whose work has appeared on the pages of the Krypton Radio web site numerous times in recent history.