Disney has been quietly attempting to mount a new version of cult 1986 sci-fi adventure Flight Of The Navigator for a few years now, presumably hoping to make it work without triggering our Remake Alert. Yet the effort is about to get a whole lot less surreptitious – and take a jump forward, as Bryce Dallas Howard is now attached to direct and produce a re-imagining.

The original, directed by Randal Kleiser, saw Joey Cramer starring as David Freeman, a 12-year-old who, in 1978 is abducted by a UFO and reappears eight years later at the exact same age and with no memories of what happened. When NASA officials spot a connection between the boy and a recovered UFO and try to ensnare him, the kid attempts to unravel the intergalactic mystery while trying to reunite with his family. The inhabitants of the ship included various alien critters and the controlling computer, who David nicknames Max (and is voiced by Paul Reubens).

Though Disney didn’t produce the original (it distributed), the company got the rights and has tried a couple of times to get a reboot off the ground – Colin Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly worked on a script – then lost the film rights to Lionsgate, which looked to have Lucifer‘s Joe Henderson crack the story.

Now it’s firmly back in Disney’s grip, with Howard on to make the movie for Disney+ and switch up the lead for a female character. She’s been building her directing career slowly but surely, making episodes of The Mandalorian and, most recently, an instalment of incoming spin-off The Book Of Boba Fett. She’s also shot a documentary called Dads, but Navigator would mark her fictional film directed debut.

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