Disney Studios are continuing their run of “reimagined” old movies by developing a new take on the 1986 movie Flight of the Navigator. The project, which will swap the young male lead of the 80s for a female one, will be directed by Jurassic World star and The Mandalorian episode director Bryce Dallas Howard, who will also be producing the new movie along with John Swartz and Justin Springer. As with many new sequels and reboots being handled by Disney, the movie will head to Disney+ for its release.
The Flight of the Navigator remake has yet to make any kind of casting announcements, and it sounds like it will be a couple of years before we see the end result, but the venture will see Howard taking on her first movie directing role for Disney+ after already having cut her teeth on two episodes of Star Wars: The Mandalorian and an episode of the upcoming The Book of Boba Fett. There will likely be more news on who will be joining her from both a cast and crew perspective as the movie development picks up pace in a few months.
Flight of the Navigator is one of those jolly, quintessentially 80s movies that falls in alongside the likes of Cocoon, Mac & Me and Short Circuit as one that every child of the decade remembers well. The story saw Joey Cramer playing 12 year old David Freeman, who travels into the future from 1978 to 1986, which certainly avoided any outrageous future predictions that the likes of Back To The Future had to concoct for its sequel. His future expedition begins when he takes a walk through the woods to pick up his young brother, but after falling into a ravine he is found unconscious in 1986, with everyone other than him having aged.
After NASA become involved and discover that the boy’s mind is full of alien technology manuals and star charts beyond even what NASA have on record. It transpires that such an alien spaceship is already in NASA’s possession after it crash landed into some power lines. When David is reunited with the spaceship, he discovered it is run by a robotic commander which he calls Max. Max requires the information in David’s head to be able to return home before he can be recaptured by NASA, which of course all pans out as you would expect in almost E.T. fashion.
The film starred Paul Reubens as the voice of Max, and also featured one of the first screen appearances by a young Sarah Jessica Parker as a key character who befriends David when he needs someone most. Over all, the movie performed well, doubling its $9 million budget at the box office, and was notably one of the first movies in Hollywood to use a lot of CGI effects and an entirely electronically produced score.
The first mention that Disney were planning to remake the movie came back in 2017, when it was announced that early development had begun on a new iteration of the movie, which will obviously look to massively update the special effects while keeping some of the heart of the original movie. This news comes from Deadline.