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Elton John's Rocketman sequel documentary could be heading to Netflix

Rocketman press image
(Image credit: Paramount)

Sir Elton John is in talks with Netflix over a feature-length documentary sequel to 2019’s Rocketman.

Sources suggest the follow-up will include behind-the-scenes footage that didn’t make it into the star’s original biopic and detail his tours across the 1970s, featuring never-before-seen footage of the singer and John Lennon when they partnered for a Madison Square Garden concert in 1974.

The documentary is reportedly titled The Pillars of Hercules – taken from John’s middle name – and is the enduring project of his long-time guitarist, Davey Johnstone, who has been working to produce the film for years and is now in talks with Netflix. 

Discussing the project on the Greatest Music Of All Time podcast, Johnstone was quick to clarify that he had received the seal of approval from both John and his husband, David Furnish, to produce the documentary. 

“Quite honestly,” he said, “I would never do anything, especially of a documentary nature, about anything we did without them being OK with it. So with this documentary we are in the throes right now of putting together all the last things we need.”

Johnstone also suggested that the sequel would be a grittier, more realistic showcase of John’s career, and a contrast to the more upbeat nature of Rocketman: “Where that was cautious, reverent and chaste, this is fearless, honest and sexy (yes, it’s a film about a famous gay man with scenes of actual gay sex). It’s much closer in mood to Fletcher’s wonderful but little-seen Proclaimers musical Sunshine On Leith, a film that was bursting with the joy of existing.”

Recording for the documentary is expected to conclude in January – “there are two more interviews we are looking to get”, Johnstone says – meaning a likely release date of Easter following the post-production process. 

Documentary fever

The news comes amid a renaissance for documentary filmmaking, as viewers flock to real-life stories en masse in the hope of uncovering the private lives of celebrities, the hidden mysteries of murder cases and the wonders of the natural world.

Netflix, in particular, has found great success in its recent documentary ventures – Tiger King and The Last Dance, for example, were the talk of the internet for many months in 2020. 

The streaming behemoth has also signed a £112m documentary deal with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, while the Beckhams, too, have penned a £16m contract for the platform to share unseen footage of their private lives.

If The Pillars of Hercules is as revealing and authentic as Johnstone suggests, viewers can expect a captivating insight into the heyday of one of Rock and Roll’s most famous figures.

Axel Metz

Axel is a London-based Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from Elon Musk to robot butlers as part of the site's daily news output. He also has a degree in English Literature, meaning he can occasionally be spotted slipping Hemingway quotes into stories about electric sports cars.