Sunday, March 15, 2015

Heading Back To Duckburg...

New episodes of Ducktales will premiere on DisneyXD in 2017...and that's all we know, but it's enough. Lots of people, myself included, LOVE THAT SHOW. Without using a calculator, I would say the show will have had a 27-year "hiatus" before the series returns to television...on expanded cable. The only other show that's had this kind of belated renewal was The Jetsons, which had 51 new episodes premiere in 1985 - almost 25 years since the original series debuted in 1962 and abruptly ended in 1963 after just 24 (!) episodes. And 2017 will mark the 30th Anniversary of Ducktales' debut.

The press release announcing the return suggested that Donald Duck might be joining the cast of characters in a regular supprting role; fans of the series are aware that he was only a recurring character in the first two seasons, appearing in a handful of memorable episodes. If he DOES return as a regular, then we might see more episodes inspired by the Carl Barks comic books that inspired the series, plus we'll see some more byplay between Scrooge, Donald & Launchpad McQuack, who is also coming back. I'm also curious about whether the production team behind the new series will incorporate other elements from the Disney Comics Universe, whether they be design elements  (Donald's black shirt, which is my shorthand indicator that we're watching Carl Bark's Donald, who is a more interesting incarnation of the duck than in the old Disney cartoons), storylines (Don Rosa & William Van Horn's duck-tales), or characters  (Brigitta MacBridge, Rumpus McFowl, Fethry Duck), or whole status quos ( Donald's Paperinik incarnation, aka, Duck Avenger or P.K., which is a whole phenomenon in Europe and South American Disney Comics, and has occasionally seen print in the United States - I'll know for sure if I can spot Ducklair Tower incorporated in the new designs for the city of Duckburg). There is some debate across the web about what the new episodes will look like, since most revivals of older cartoons tend to adopt new influences in animation and design - the only exception being Family Guy, which it's creator, Seth MacFarlane, sought to have the series return be seemless, as if there had been no "break" between the 3rd and 4th seasons.

Also notably absent in the list of characters returning to the series are late-series additions Fenton Crackshell/Gizmoduck and Bubba Duck...I suppose with Donald back, you don't really need Fenton or Gizmoduck - especially if they adapt Donald's superhero incarnation...and Bubba didn't have much to do after his initial introduction, so I wouldn't be surprised if they were recurring guest-stars instead. Speaking of guest-stars, what about Darkwing Duck? Do I need to explain why? What about Darkwing Duck?

I'm not sure what the new series will look like, but if Disney is looking for new hands, I wouldn't mind seeing Dave Alvarez contribute - he's been trying his hand at sketching Disney characters and posting the effort on his Facebook page after becoming better known for his work drawing the Looney Tunes gang, and I am impressed with the results, particularly the gag with Donald's shirt and the brawl in Scrooge's money bin. I also recommend James Silvani - his work on the Darkwing Duck comics has been stellar, plus his Facebook page has a phenomenal gallery of sketches.

I'm also curious if Disney will promote the series with a new freemium game. I wasn't impressed with Scrooge's Loot, but I liked briefly having an app icon with Scrooge's face on my mobile phone. I would prefer a city-building game similar to Simpsons Tapped Out, which would have the player build their own version of Duckburg using familiar buildings and characters.

2017 seems too far away to me...maybe in the interim, Disney will finally release the remaining episodes of the series on DVD? At least the comic books are coming back...and viral marketing campaigns - I saw an episode of "Fresh Off The Boat" that featured a brief clip of Scrooge swimming in his money bin, most likely culled from the Ducktales title sequence, just one week after the big announcement was made. My response? "More viral marketing promoting my favorite childhood TV cartoon, please." :)


  1. I sure wish we knew more about what they’re going to do.

    Donald as a regular is a GREAT idea, and would move the series back closer to the Carl Barks comic books from whence it came. I feel the later episodes strayed a bit too far from the comics. No Bubba, please! Keep Launchpad as a regular as well, as we’ve seen that he can work and fit well with Donald. Even Webby is welcome, as she adds something necessary that was lacking in Barks’ generally 1950s world.

    One thing I’d wished the classic series (and, I guess now we’ll have to refer to it as “Classic DuckTales” – or “DuckTales TOS” had done was adapt one of my most favorite Barks stories, “The Twenty-Four Carat Moon”! (See my Icon!)

    Of course, now the Golden Moon would have to be further out in space, and not in fixed position behind the dark side of the moon – and Flintheart Glomgold would have to lead the DuckTales Beagle Boys. Barks’ other fortune-seekers could translate into the existing DT characters of J.R. Mooing and The Grand Kishki.

    It always seemed a natural – and maybe now it could happen!

    I hope Alan Young is still up to providing the voice of Scrooge! Bad enough we no longer have Hal Smith to do his great version of Glomgold.

    1. Joe, I would LOVE it if Don Rosa's "Cash Flow" was among the first new episodes produced, along with William Van Horn's "Bedeviled Dime" and Carl Barks's "The Many Faces of Magica De Spell". "24 Karat Moon" would also make a great premiere episode..maybe they could do nods to films like "Interstellar" and "Gravity" - although neither of those were scientifically accurate. Besides, the golden moon could easily be described as revolving around Earth's moon in a different orbit, which is actually a real occurrence.

      While Ryan Wynns is campaigning for Billy Connelly, I haven't settled on a "perfect" casting choice for a new Scrooge if necessary: I can imagine actors Rob Paulson, Corey Burton, Dee Bradley Baker, Maurice Lamarche or even John O'Hurley, but Alan surprised a lot of people with his ability to reprise the role in the video games just fine, so I won't count him out at all..nobody's mentioned replacing June Foray with Tress MacNeille for the voices of Magica, Ma Beagle and Mrs. Featherby, so I'm not sure why people are mulling over Alan's age.

  2. Rehab & Joe:

    I have a lot of faith for DuckTales 2017 in that there's likely a lot of fans of DuckTales '87 that will be involved in the production of the new series. Many crew alumni on the original show are still working in the industry, such as music composer Ron Jones, and layout artist Mike Peraza: their involvement is a good possibility, as well as many members of the original voice-over cast.

    There's also a good possibility of Alan Young returning as Scrooge, if that isn't going to be the case, I just left a comment over on Joe's post Not Pony Tales, or HORSES Tales, but DuckTales! as to just who I think would be a different take, but a solid re-casting as the world's richest duck. June Foray may or may not be on board (I understand she's been slowing down in the past year or so) but I believe they intend on utilizing as many of the original cast that they can. Everyone we heard in the "Remastered" video game two years ago certainly sounded right on target.

    As premises for the new series are concerned, Donald appearing in daily episodes would sure make for a nice addition. Had the Studio allowed DuckTales the full use of Donald Duck as a series regular in 1987, I'm certain that would have been a thrill for guys like Jymn Magon and Alan Zaslove. What's promising is that the Studio's perspective has changed a lot since then, they've become far less precious about using their well-known characters. Since DuckTales has become such a well-loved phenomenon, Donald may have a chance to feature in a more prominent role this time around.

    I agree that zeroing in closer to some Barks stories would elevate the 2017 series. As I've mentioned elsewhere, wouldn't it be nice to see some Carl Barks 10-page stories brought to life in animation with Don and the kids, such as "Omelet" or "Terrible Tourist"? "The 24-Karat Moon" surely would make for a feature-length adventure... actually the lavish spending habits of rancher Longhorn Tallgrass sure would work well in the DuckTales universe on a regular basis!

    – Dan

    1. I had also suggested Craig Ferguson at Ryan Wynns blog for the same reasons...great minds think alike! :)

      I can imagine no other replacment for June than Tress, but all this talk of recasting has jogged my memory of Christine Cavanaugh's recent passing..if the "Darkwing Duck" cast guest-starred in "NewDT", then I would suggest Nancy Cartwright could play Gosalyn Mallard.

      The 10-pagers...I wouldn't be too sure about that, because I have a pet theory that this revival might be vaguely inspired by the popularity of Disney's latest hit cartoon series, "Gravity Falls", which mingles adventure, humor and suspense in a way that different, but not far removed from "Ducktales"..and I think that's what they're looking for..also dusting off an older property that they knew was a huge hit for them...Nick has Spongebob..Cartoon Network has Tom & Jerry and Scooby-Doo..

  3. I hope New series had one, least one, negaverse episode (like in darkwing Duck (the life, the negaverse, and everything)) and i REALlY hope New ducktales isn't as sh*tty as i expect is it.

    ~ True Fan Of REAl DuckTales

  4. I just hope they can make Donald take place in the cartoon and make him work in the money bin just like in the comics.

    1. But then again, why huey, Dewey, and Louie would live with scrooge, if Donald never joined the navy?

    2. Donald is frequently broke, plus McDuck Mansion is more accommadating. It's not entirely clear if the new show is a continuation from where it left off, or a re-imagining of the concept..only THIS time a smidge closer to the comic book stories that inspired it...we'll know when we start seeing a Gizmoduck redesign..

  5. Anything's possible...unless somebody gets nerdy about it and decides they exist in two completely different realities or somesuch rubbish..