Over the years I have talked a lot, and I do mean a lot about reboots and revivals. From series, I not so secretly hoped would come to pass, announcements and even going ahead and reviewing new chapters of believed tales. Sometimes these instances are met with clear and total delight, other times I spend a duration of time trying to understand narrative choices.
Reboots now a staple of any and all mediums and naturally each person’s mileage might vary. And now in a time where so many of us are clinging to characters we love and find comfort in that have never left our side, or ones we forgot about and only recently reintroduced ourselves with. We need that feeling I can only think to convey as heart-pounding nostalgia that made us feel whole and childlike again even if it is only for twenty-some minutes.
If anyone knows me, has read my articles here or even seen my social media accounts know that without a question I love the Disney Afternoon – more specifically DuckTales and Darkwing Duck.
Time and time again I have raved and absolutely applauded DuckTales 2017 for just how ridiculously marvelous it is. I could basically gush and completely fangirl over the series and spend hours on end digging into the series and explaining just why I have such a love for it, because I have done just that. It is the incredibly rare case where a series has hit every note without missing a beat, raising the bar and going beyond what anyone could hope for.
There is something to be said about walking into a new episode, no matter how long since the previous one aired, and just feeling like you are walking home and greeted by faces you know well.
DuckTales 2017 has done more than anyone could have ever imagined back when the reboot was announced. What started as a story of a family coming back together has exploded into action and character driven adventures in this amazing and ever expanding universe. And this season has proved just how much danger awaits.
Back at DragonCon 2017, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting the Stan Lee of the Disney Afternoon Tad Stones (or, as I have recently been informed his full title is Tad Stones The Great!). During our conversation we had talked about the new DuckTales series and notably of a might mask mallard existence. Tad had remarked about how I may end up disappointed with how Darkwing was introduced in this new world. My response, ‘there’s no way I could be disappointed’.
In hindsight, that might have been a bold statement, yet three years later I do fully stand by that declaration. Not only in regards to the series as a whole, but for Darkwing as he is in this universe.
Since the season one episode ‘Beware the B.U.D.D.Y System’, we have seen DW exist as Launchpad’s fandom- perhaps a swansong to Frank Angones’ own love of the original series- transform into a new legend of a scrappy actor longing to return the feelings something that impacted him as a child. This leads to Drake to donning the cape and taking the name of the duck knight, and most recently proving how much heart it takes to get dangerous.
Last month the world of DuckTales 2017 brought us to Saint Canard and brought together the family of a father, daughter and a Launchpad- as well a new beginning.
Even before the one-hour special aired fan called out on social media the desire for a full-fledged Darkwing series. Nearly 30 years after it’s introduction Darkwing holds a magical and special place in the hearts of fans- a fire that DuckTales has set ablaze.
‘Let’s Get Dangerous’ took everyone’s expectations and surpassed them and set social media on fire, only furthering fan’s cries to let DW have his own stories. The response to the episode was unanimously and utterly positive as fans, including myself, citing that there was no question that this special episode was likely a backdoor pilot. Something that felt confirmed by Disney releasing the episode for all to view -no television subscription – via the DisneyNow app and shortly thereafter on YouTube. As I write this the YouTube posting of the episode from three weeks ago sits at 604K views.
In a way, fans knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before Disney officially made the call that Darkwing would take the spotlight again. And yesterday we got that-kind of? Maybe?
News sites Variety and Deadline published articles yesterday (Friday, November 13th) stating that a new Darkwing Duck reboot was in the works for Disney+. But the thing is the creative team attached is not the DuckTales tag team of Frank Angones and Matt Youngberg. Rather than being done with Disney TVA, this new project is linked to Grey Point Pictures with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver and Alex McAtee being attached as executive producers. No other details were available nor comments from Disney themselves or this Grey Point Pictures.
I love Darkwing and like so many others have wanted this in a way I might not be able to describe constantly. The big fangirl crying screaming response I had when I saw the press release for the Ducktales reboot did not happen. Instead was a deadpan, blank ‘did I read that right?’ response came accompanied by a feeling that can only be called betrayal. Dramatic as it sounds.
Yes, fans basically knew a new Darkwing series was almost a sure thing. But this was not by any means what anyone was thinking. And fan reaction makes it clear that this is not quite what was expected, or wanted. DuckTalks- a trio of DuckTales fans with a weekly podcast released an article on their site following the news release. Notably they state that they had been aware of a new Darkwing series being on the table for a while now. Yet they remain as confused and conflicted as myself and others.
I will always say never, never lash out or chastise any creative talent if you dislike or even hate a project. They are doing their jobs, if you feel strongly enough complain to the company. But this felt kind of like a deep cut that almost sends me back to a certain company I don’t want to give the publicity of naming.
Over the past three years we have seen, slowly and gradually, a new legend of Darking unfold in DuckTales. In the two episodes focusing on Drake we have started to watch him grow as a person as well a hero. Even after one encounter we care for Gosalyn and want her to get the resolve she longs for following the events of the special. The desire to see Launchpad live out his childhood dream is thrilling. As fans we love this world of Saint Canard, and already have a connection and care for this one of a kind family. We are invested deeply and want more.
So the idea of a metaphorical band-aid being ripped off at the thought of what we know being no longer stings. There is never a reason to discredit someone’s vision or concept for a creative work on the spot. No third party in this has any idea what is going on behind closed doors. For all we know it could be a creative and innovative new take on the series. But it kind of feels like a betrayal, and I am not talking about us, the fans. But to Frank Angones, Matt Youngberg and their team.
Since day one it has been made clear that to them DuckTales is a labor of love and a love-song to the classic series. You can tell how much passion, heart and care has been put into this series. How skillfully they laid the groundwork for things to come, even when they moved forward thinking they might only have one season- one chance to tell this story. Writers have to put part of themselves and their heart into their work to make it resonate deeply. And in each episode of the series you feel that heart.
Perhaps it’s the earnestness of Love Live’s influence speaking; but I do not want to see anyone’s efforts discarded in vain. I want to see the Darkwing Frank and Matt have crafted more. To get dangerous with the Drake, Gosalyn and Launchpad we now love.