Fun Times At The D23 Ducktales Panel!

Yesterday at D23 Expo 2017, I had the immense good fortune to see the panel for the new Ducktales series coming to Disney XD this fall. Growing up, my weekday afternoons were spent sitting my bum in front the television watching the Disney Afternoon. Rescue Rangers, Aladdin, Darkwing Duck, and Ducktales were just a few of the amazing shows on the Disney Afternoon line up that shaped my childhood. Each great show had their own infectious theme song that would get stuck in your head for days, months, years, and now even decades. Yes…..DECADES! To this day all I need to hear is “Life is like a hurricane…” and I have to finish the rest of the song. It is just like the scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when The Judge is tapping his cane to the beat of “Shave and a Haircut” and Roger bursts out scream/singing “TWO BITS!”

At the panel this past weekend were Francisco Angones (Co-Producer and story editor), Beck Bennet (Launchpad McQuack), Kate Micucci (Webbigail Vanderquack), Toks Olagundoye (Mrs. Betina Beakley), Ben Schwartz (Dewey Duck), and Executive Producers Matt Youngberg and Rob Renzetti. During the Q & A, each member of the panel discussed their fond memories for the characters’ many iterations. While Producers Angones, Youngberg and Renzetti reminisced fondly on the comics of Carl Barks on which the characters for the original animated series were based, the younger cast, in particular Ben Schwartz, remembered watching the cartoon and playing the popular video game.

Not in attendance was voice of Scrooge McDuck, David Tennant. The former Doctor Who star did send a video for the fans explaining that he was busy working and wished he could attend but was very proud of the show and is very excited to see fan’s reactions.

Also not in attendance was the voice of Fenton Crackshell/Gizmo Duck who will be played by big star Lin Manuel Miranda (creator of the Broadway hit Hamilton). Producer Francisco Angones had something important he wanted to say in regards to the casting of Lin Manuel as the superhero Gizmo Duck. As a Cuban-American, Francisco did not have the same accessible affiliation with superheroes that most children had. Captain America and Superman were white, Black Panther is black, but short of the little known DC character Vibe, he had no cultural connection to any other superheroes.

For this reason Francisco felt that it was important to cast a Latino American actor as the voice of Gizmo Duck and Lin Manuel Miranda was his first choice. While he made sure the character of Fenton Crackshell/Gizmo Duck was written in the voice and feel of Lin Manuel, he did assume that it was a pipedream to be able to nab the iconic Broadway star. Fortunately, this is Disney. And the stars of our generation grew up being raised by Disney. Lin Manuel Miranda was no exception.

While at the panel, they unveiled a scene from one of the first episodes. In the scene the boys Huey, Louie, and Dewey are running around Scrooge McDuck’s mansion playing a game with nerf-like guns. While the boys seem to be very similar in attitude to their original concepts, Webbigail (Mrs. Beakley’s granddaughter) has been given a modern update. Decked out with night vision goggles and sporting 2 nerf-like guns (one in each hand) she is hanging from a chandelier waiting to strike. When she does attack she explains that she is seeking vengeance for her fallen comrades in the jungle. The boys are completely caught off guard and when they ask what she is going on about, she explains that its part of her backstory and is surprised that they didn’t do one for their characters. This kind of humor and take on the classic characters has me very excited.

The one hour pilot introducing the show will air August 12th, 2017 on Disney XD with the regular series beginning September 23, 2017.