Bryce Dallas Howard is set to direct a remake of the 1986 sci-fi adventure film Flight of the Navigator for Disney+. Flight of the Navigator was released by Disney theatrically and told the tale of a boy who is kidnapped by a UFO and travels eight years into the future, where he goes on an adventure inside an alien ship to get back to his own time. The film starred Joey Cramer as the boy and co-starred a number of familiar faces, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Cliff de Young and Veronica Cartwright with Grease director Randal Kleiser at the director’s helm. One of the more interesting and fun additions to the cast was Pee-Wee Herman’s Paul Ruebens, who provided the voice for the alien spacecraft, known as Max.
Howard began her career as an actress, starring in a number of high-profile films, including The Village for M. Night Shyamalan, The Help with Viola Davis, as well as playing Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 and Claire Dearing in the Jurassic World films. The actress continues to act, but has recently taken up directing, a craft her father, Ron Howard, has perfected over a long career that’s still going strong. Howard cut her teeth on the Apple documentary Dads, as well as the Disney+ Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, directing two episodes of the series, as well as an episode of the upcoming spinoff show, The Book of Boba Fett.
After a number of failed attempts to remake Flight of the Navigator, THR reports that Bryce Dallas Howard is taking the director’s seat, which will be specifically for Disney+. The story will be reimagined with a female lead, presumably with the same premise as the 1986 film. This will be Howard’s first feature film project, which is a major step in her directing career. Interestingly, Howard’s Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was one of the original filmmakers to attempt to remake Flight of the Navigator back in 2009, but eventually lost the rights. Now, in an interesting turn of events, the project is in Howard’s hands.
While Howard pursues following in her father’s footsteps, she hasn’t given up acting by a longshot. She returns to the Jurassic World franchise next year with Jurassic World: Dominion, a role she’s portrayed in the Jurassic World: Evolution videogame series as well. She also has a role in Matthew Vaughn’s spy franchise Argylle with Henry Cavill and John Cena, which is currently filming. Howard’s last big-screen performance was as Elton John’s mother in Rocketman, playing opposite Taron Egerton.
Flight of the Navigator is a cult favorite for many who grew up in the era it was released and was always an appealing concept that was ripe for exploration. Had it been a bigger hit, there surely would’ve been a sequel or two, but the popularity was no less influential given the number of attempts made to remake it ever since. Howard has proven her directing ability in bigger-budget sci-fi arena thus far, so she certainly has the skill set to tackle this project, but much of it will depend on how fresh it still feels after all these years and what kind of spin they put on it. Recasting with a female lead is a fair change that could work out well with the right casting, but the biggest selling point will be who they get to play Max, who steals the show in the ’86 film. No doubt Paul Reubens would consider returning, which would definitely be a welcome return if he were into it. Either way, it appears this remake is finally taking flight.