In “The Mighty Ducks,” reluctant youth-hockey coach Gordon Bombay’s (Emilio Estevez) local Minnesota team went from worst to first. By 1994’s “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” the squad was literally the best in the world, winning the Junior Goodwill Games for the good ol’ U.S. of A.
TheWrap asked Estevez and screenwriter Steve Brill if that humongous plot leap, which of course saw the team benefit from a few non-Minnesota ringers, painted the franchise into an impossible corner for future projects.
“We did sort of max out on [‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’], but we just have to keep building these teams up and knocking them down,” Brill told us. “That’s the underdog story.”
Brill also really wanted to reiterate how much the outsiders helped the squad win its international competition. Of course, most of those kids were pretty limited to one skill themselves — and those didn’t all translate to the ice. (And Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine’s Julie “The Cat” Gaffney didn’t even really get to play.)
“There also was the added pressure of Disney starting their own team called The Mighty Ducks, which we all had to sort of embrace and incorporate into the experience of [‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’],” Estevez added.
The NHL’s Mighty Ducks joined the league in 1993, the year between the first and second movies’ releases.
There was a “D3” movie and then some lesser-known “Mighty Ducks” projects that did not get (or deserve) theatrical releases. In 1996’s “D3: The Mighty Ducks,” many of the original Ducks head to a prep school, where as freshmen they set out to challenge the varsity team.
On Friday, March 26, Disney+ is launching new series “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.” Estevez’s Bombay is back in this one, and Brill is an executive producer on the show.
Here’s the “Game Changers” logline: After failing to make the cut to join the now powerhouse Mighty Ducks junior hockey team, 12-year-old Evan’s mother (Lauren Graham) encourages him to form a new team of underdogs with help from Gordon Bombay, the Ducks’ original coach.