The Rocketeer was Joe Johnston's sophomore directing effort. Johnston, a special effects veteran who had cut his teeth with George Lucas on the original Star Wars films, was fresh with success from directing Disney's own Honey I Shrunk the Kids when he was enlisted to helm The Rocketeer. His special effects background served him well on the assignment and the film's pre-digital-era craftsmanship remains impressive to this day. Johnston recently directed the excellent The Wolfman remake and is currently wrapping up work on the World Wat II-based Captain America: The First Avenger, set to arrive in theaters this summer.
One of the film's most notable components is the perfectly matched score by composer James Horner. It was an Oscar-worthy effort that went almost entirely unrecognized at the time.
Disney had intended The Rocketeer to be a trilogy of films, but the lackluster (but not entirely disastrous) box office returns quickly quashed further productions. The film's troubled production history (screenwriters Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo were fired and rehired several times during the movie's five years of development) and aforementioned box office did not endear it to studio execs, and it has subsequently faded from view.