While Disney is the king of the movie franchise, there was a time, back in the 1980s, where the studio was much more hit-or-miss when it came to theatrical endeavors. Some of them would be successful, others would not. Certain projects would become cult hits, while others would be forgotten. But no movie idea is so dead that it might not live again, and such is apparently the case with 1986's Flight of the Navigator. The family friendly sci-fi road trip movie is apparently set to get the reboot treatment on Disney+ and Bryce Dallas Howard is set to direct it.
Flight of the Navigator was a modest hit for Disney in 1986, both at the box office and with critics, but the movie likely found even more success in the days of VHS home video as well as regular broadcast on The Disney Channel. There was an attempt to reboot the movie several years ago that wasn't able to get lift off, but now it looks like the project is moving forward. Not much is known about the new Flight of the Navigator at this point but the original movie focused on a 12-year-old boy and THR reports that the main character will be female this time.
The original Flight of the Navigator followed a boy named David Freeman (played by Joey Cramer) in 1978, who is abducted by an alien spacecraft. He returns home 8-years-later with no memory of having been taken, and not having aged at all. David is then studied by NASA where he discovers that at the time of his reappearance an alien spacecraft had been recovered by the space agency. He's lured on board the ship where he meets its robotic commander, and the two go on the run, looking for a way to get them both to safety. Paul Reubens voiced the alien robot Maxx, and the film also included an early role Sarah Jessica Parker as a nurse helping to care for young David.
One assumes that in addition to changing the gender of the main character the new movie will shift the time period to something more modern. As such, this could be one of those reboots that also acts as a semi-sequel, with the events of the original movie having taken place 35 years previously.
Bryce Dallas Howard has previously directed a pair of episodes of The Mandalorian for Disney and she handled an episode of the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett as well. Flight of the Navigator would be her feature film directorial debut, assuming that it moves forward and nothing jumps ahead of it in the queue. The original film was directed by Randal Kleiser, who also directed Grease as well other movies for Disney, including White Fang and Honey, I Blew up the Kid.
Disney clearly sees its streaming service as way to potentially launch new franchises from older projects that aren't quite of the caliber of a Marvel or Star Wars. The news of this new Flight of the Navigator follows on the news that The Rocketeer is also getting a Disney+ reboot. If there's a decades old Disney movie that you loved, it may not be long before it finds new life on Disney+.