Twenty-eight years ago, The Rocketeer soared into the hearts of young moviegoers — though, sadly, not to the top of the box-office charts. Still, the film’s devoted fanbase always hoped they’d see Billy Campbell once again don the high-flying hero’s signature helmet and jet pack. Their wait is finally over... kind of. Campbell reprises his role as 1930s-era pilot, Cliff Secord, in flashback sequences featured in a Rocketeer new animated series, premiering Nov. 8 on the Disney Channel. The actor also provides the present-day voice of Dave Secord, who may or may not be a relation to good ol’ Cliff.
But Dave is definitely related to the newest Rocketeer: his young daughter, Kit (voiced by Kitana Turnbull), who inherits the jet pack as a birthday present and wastes little time putting it to use. “Having been the Rocketeer in the movie, I was thrilled to hear that Disney was kicking the ball around again,” Campbell says in a new behind-the-scenes featurette, adding that his character’s name is an homage to The Rocketeer’s creator, illustrator Dave Stevens, who died in 2008. “I’m very excited for a new generation of kids to be introduced to the Rocketeer, especially my own kids.” (Watch the clip above.)
It’s clear right away that Cliff’s old rocket is in good hands. “Kit is this modern-day superhero,” Turnbull says of her alter ego, and Campbell is similarly enthused about his on-screen daughter’s attitude. “I think Kit has a very positive message for kids, particular for young girls,” he muses. “She’s empowered.” Adds Kathy Najimi, who plays Kit’s mother, Serena: “Kit is a strong-willed and forward-thinking, exciting young female character who believes she can be anything she wants.”
What she wants in the first episode, at least, is to rescue her dad’s plane when it runs into a spot of engine trouble. And she continues to put her own mark on the larger-than-life role she’s inherited by devising her own distinct version of the vintage Rocketeer uniform, complete with a space-age helmet and fresh color scheme. Take it from Campbell: this new kid’s got moves.
The Rocketeer premieres Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. on Disney Channel.
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