Just over a year ago, when I wrote for Creators.co, I made a list of the ten characters I wanted to see brought back to life in the new DuckTales show. Well, a few things happened. One, the website shut down, and what articles I couldn’t salvage in print were lost to the scattering four winds, including that one. Two, I wrote that list before the August 2017 premiere, so I had no idea what the show had prepared aside from a few clips, some production stills, and the occasional quote from a person involved. Now, it’s already started its second season, and I am floored by just how great the series is. It actually went above and beyond the original show! Yeah, I said it! Come at me, bro!
There’s nothing wrong with the 1987 series. It was simply a product of the late eighties. But now the stakes are upped: the nephews are separate in identity, not just color. Webby is a nerdy adventurer instead of a girly tagalong. Mrs. Beakley can hold her own in battle. The returning characters have a new zest in them, the new ones mesh seamlessly into the fold. And best of all, real, emotional drama and genuine mystery has been infused into the show, asking one age-old question, where is Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s mother?
Now, the previous list is showing its age. At least, it would be if it still existed. But there’s something be said when I hoped to see Ludwig Von Drake, Darkwing Duck, and the Three Caballeros, and lo and behold, they did! (José and Panchito will show up sometime this season). But I wanted to see if lightning could strike twice, and see if I could update the list, now knowing what the show is capable of. So let’s get to it!
Pete is one of those perennial multipurpose Disney characters that pops up just about anytime Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, or even Chip and Dale need something to fight against. He’s been, among other things, an oafish criminal (Officer Duck), a dim witted minion (Kingdom Hearts) a snarky neighbor (Goof Troop), an overbearing sergeant (Donald’s WWII cartoons), an aggressive sheriff (Moving Day), a town bully (The current Mickey Mouse shorts), even a monster (Runaway Brain). Whenever you need a loud, conniving, duplicitous blowhard, Pete’s your cat. Peg leg optional.
The only issue is that Pete’s role has more or less been supplanted by Duckburg’s Beagle Boys. However, Jim Cummings has always brought such a comedic life and flair to it that he’s always welcome to torment our heroes and do it with panache. But most significantly, Donald and Pete do have a history. Most pointedly, when Donald enlisted to join the army, he fell under Pete’s cross gaze. Their tumultuous relationship resulted in numerous great cartoons during WWII.
Of course, in the current canon, Donald can’t have served in WWII, and he seemed too busy globetrotting with Scrooge and Della to enlist. Perhaps Huey and Dewey might join some kind of boot camp, with Huey looking forward to the strict rules and Dewey looking forward to the action. Naturally, the boys tire quickly, what with Huey’s lack of physical prowess and Dewey’s issues with authority. That alone could make for a fun episode.
9. Bubba and Tootsie
In the pilot “Woo-oo!”, when the kids are digging through Scrooge’s “Wing of Secrets”, we caught a glimpse of a cave duck skeleton and a triceratops fossil nearby. It’s too obvious to not be a cute nod to the original series’ characters, Bubba and Tootsie.
While never very popular, Bubba was still an endearing character. He was a young, sweet kid who owed Scrooge his life after he accidentally saved him from being T-Rex chow. When he hitched a ride back to the present, his inhuman strength and naïve nature made for cute “fish-out-of-water” stories. I’m not sure if Bubba and his pet would make for good multi-episode arcs, but there might be a place to squeeze him in somewhere.
8. Daisy Duck
Daisy has always been a central figure in Donald’s life. Unlike Mickey’s relationship with Minnie, Donald and Daisy have often skirted the cusp of breaking up permanently frequently. Donald can be stubborn, pig-headed, temperamental and self-involved, but Daisy can have just as much a temper as her beau.
I can see now that Donald’s settling in a little bit easier in Scrooge’s manor, he may have less to stress over with the nephews, and might try to get back in the dating game again. However, Daisy probably is not a fan of Scrooge’s recklessness, and that goes double for the kids involved. I imagine Daisy’s controlling tendencies creating a rift between Donald and his family once again, with him struggling to decide whether or not he should try to find someone to settle down with. This alone is a fascinating conflict I’d like to see explored.
7. The Rescue Rangers
When the series was getting close to the premiere, there were rumors and gossip that supposedly we were going to see the Terror that Flaps in the Night appearing. After all, Darkwing Duck was a spin-off of the original 1987 series, and there seemed to be no reason why there shouldn’t be at least something to homage the show. So not only did we get to see D.W. featured heavily in the episode “Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!”, but the pilot episode acknowledged towns of Spoonerville (Goofy’s hometown in Goof Troop), Cape Suzette (TaleSpin‘s primary setting), and in the episode “From the Confidential Case Files of Agent 22!”, we are treated to a nod to The Adventures of the Gummi Bears. Much like Marvel, the Disney Afternoon is finding itself in an interconnected universe that is blowing our avocado-toast-loving millennial minds.
So far, the Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers are among the few shows from that programming block’s early years yet to be acknowledged (I don’t know anyone clamoring for Shnookums and Meat, Mighty Ducks, or Quack Pack). And there are a few reasons why they’re a natural fit. For one, Donald and the chipmunks have had a long…
…history together. However, this was a long time ago, before the two wore clothes, spoke coherently, and formed their detective agency. So there’d have to be at least one scene with the duck giving chase to the pair. For nostalgia’s sake.
My pitch for an episode would center around Webby. The girl has often been uncomfortable in social situations after being alone for so long. Even after making friends with the boys and Lena, it’s not hard to imagine Webby capturing Dale, Gadget, or Zipper and forming a fast friendship. In fact, given the investigatory prowess of the Rangers, it’s not hard to imagine Webby going all in and helping them out in a mystery, possibly one that might intersect with one of the McDuck mysteries. This could even be much more than a one-shot guest appearance. I can totally see Webby and Gadget bonding as they construct a McGyver-esque machine to battle Professor Nimnul or Fat Cat, can’t you?
6. Howard the Duck
Yeah, you probably saw this coming. I think it’s pretty obvious that despite being a Marvel comic book character who appeared in LucasFilm movie before revitalized into both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, a character completely owned by Disney, he is not an appropriate character to appear alongside Donald and Scrooge. His whole existence is purely satirical, edgy, even. Even in Guardians, we’ve seen him drink alcohol.
But there is the idea that he is an anthropomorphic duck. One who transcended space and time and found himself in a world populated by humans. And he is a Marvel character.
You know, Marvel? That one studio whose net worth makes Scrooge’s money bin look like a piggy bank? This means through this character alone, it’s entirely possible to have literally anyone from the Marvel universe appear! And maybe they’d make GizmoDuck and Darkwing honorary avengers?
Hey, I can dream, can’t I?
5. Mickey Mouse and Goofy
Donald is more than just a cranky bankable cartoon character who promotes orange juice. He’s one of the earlier Disney characters whose popularity made the company a household name. And he wasn’t alone.
A Watchmojo list called “Top Ten DuckTales Reboot Facts” has specified that neither Howard nor Mickey Mouse will appear in the series. With Mickey, he’s kind of got his plate full, what with his current shorts. (Although Donald also appears in them, as well as the The Legend of the Three Caballeros show, which premiered back in June earlier this year, but I’ll get to that shortly.). But in all likelihood, Mickey’s appearance might be just enough deemed too distracting for a show that’s supposed to be focused on Scrooge, Donald, and the nephews.
However, there is precedence set for Goofy. First, the show has already made references to Spoonerville, the primary setting of Goof Troop. Back when Goofy wasn’t just some hick, but a suburban homeowner and father. Second, it wouldn’t be the first time Goofy met Scrooge or the boys…
I already reviewed Sport Goofy in Soccermania, a special that took place in Duckburg and had Goofy work for Scrooge McDuck. But even if you stripped away the athletic aspect of Goofy’s character, I’d like to see Donald have a night out with Mickey and Goofy, only for it to go horribly, horribly wrong, and the nephews forced to go rescue them.
I already gushed about the Disney Afternoon and their appearances on the show so far, and there is a thread of sense to each one. But one of the best beloved series that was the most un-Disney thing to ever hit the airwaves made by them was Gargoyles.
For those who don’t remember, Gargoyles (1994-1997) was a gothic, dramatic show about a Scottish clan of grotesque statues that became flesh and blood at night, but resume guarding the castle by day as stone. The remaining six of a butchered clan were cursed to lie dormant for a millennium, only to awaken in 1994 New York City. The gargoyles – Goliath, Hudson, Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway, and Bronx – find themselves in constant battle between a vindictive former love, an amoral billionaire, and more as they fight to protect the city. It was dark. It was gritty. It was mature. And it was awesome.
If it sounds too edgy to be a part of DuckTales lore, you are both right and wrong. The original series was definitely too kid-friendly for something like Gargoyles. But the new series is definitely able to handle it. For one, dark mystery and mythology is DuckTales‘ bread and butter. And with the tie-in to Scotland, it’s a shoe-in for Scrooge to investigate. Especially if a guy who runs a “trillion-dollar business” has to butt heads with a prick like David Xanatos.
Fans have been clamoring for a reboot of the show for years, and Oscar-winning writer Jordan Peele has even stated his desire to write a Gargoyles movie. Disney, make this happen! Get Keith David and Greg Weisman in the phone yesterday!
3. April, May, and June
We all know about Donald’s nephews. Mickey has Morty and Ferdy. Minnie has Millie and Melody. Goofy’s got his son, Max. But did you know Daisy has three nieces, April, May, and June?
In June of 2018, Disney fans were downright appalled when it was leaked a brand-new show called The Legend of the Three Caballeros apparently existed. It was based off the 1945 movie and featured the three birds going off on some incredible magic adventures to stop an all-powerful sorcerer from taking over the universe. We Disney fans were angry because it was only released on the Philippines’ DisneyLife app, despite the series was in English, and voiced by notable voice over actors Grey Griffin, Kevin Michael Richardson, Wayne Knight, Dee Bradley Baker, and Jim Cummings. But aside from seeing Panchito, José, the Aracuan bird, and even Humphrey Bear, arguably the biggest surprise was seeing April, May, and June, in their very first animated appearance where they actually spoke (their mute cameo in House of Mouse doesn’t count).
Now, April, May, and June aren’t unlike the Chipettes to Donald’s Chipmunks. In the comics, the girls had little to no discernible differences between them, and that trait sadly carries over in Three Caballeros, right down to being all voiced by Jessica DiCicco. But…if I may?
I’d like to see what these girls could do if they really let loose and gave these girls an action-oriented shtick, like if they were ghost hunters or some kind of celebrity thrill junkies. And I personally recommend Tara Strong, E.G. Daily, and Cathy Cavadini voice them. Who are they? Who else but the original Powerpuff Girls!
While PPG was never a Disney property, fans of the original 90’s series and the actresses themselves were vocal in their displeasure when they were not reutilized in the rebooted 2016 show. So, DuckTales, why not swoop in, drum up some cool press by reuniting this great team of amazing actresses, and just go nuts?
DuckTales 1987 was so popular that they were approved to be the subject of cinematic release in 1990, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. While the movie floundered at the box office, it has a minor cult following as a unique piece of history attached to the great show. The movie is mostly just kind of okay, and you can read my review of it here: https://tapg1946.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/ducktales-the-movie-treasure-of-the-lost-lamp/
But arguably the best part was the villain Merlock. A towering, temperamental sorcerer who pursues the lost lamp of Collie Baba. He already has a talisman that allows him to turn into any animal at will, and fusing it with the lamp will grant him unlimited wishes. Oh, and did I mention he’s voiced by Christopher Lloyd?
Even though there’s little to Merlock beyond the voice acting and his animal-transforming gimmick, Lloyd nails it in every way. He’s menacing, powerful, and intense. Plus, I’m sure the guy who said yes to Oogieloves has time between Doc Brown cameos to reprise this role.
But if you saw the past season of DuckTales, you know just how magic and sorcery plays a part in their universe, up to and including the series’ finale, where Magica DeSpell came close to taking down Scrooge and the family. Sure, Magica is a force to be reckoned with, but how will she react to the ancient Arabian mage who equally hates Scrooge just as much?
My only caveat is Dijon not be included. The character was a thinly-veiled racist caricature that has not aged well. And Genie? Maybe, if they wrote him better. But if anyone can, it’s the writers of DuckTales.
1. Baloo and Shere Khan
We’ve seen Cape Suzette referenced. And the episode “Sky Pirates…in the Sky!” starred the most cunning, debonair air pirate of all time, Don Karnage. Clearly the foundation of TaleSpin is being laid for one interesting crossover. And I want these two to appear in DuckTales more than anyone else.
First, there’s Baloo. Baloo and Launchpad McQuack are among the very few Disney pilots out there (Okay, count Cliff Secord of The Rocketeer if you want, too.), and both existed on the Disney Afternoon. Yet despite the oh-so-obvious potential we never, ever saw the two either collaborate or compete in any sort of aeronautical conflict. Launchpad in the new series is a courageous, yet impulsive pilot who gets easily distracted who can barely perform the most basic maneuvers, but whose luck makes him a legend. Baloo is a stubborn, lackadaisical pilot whose prowess in the cockpit of the Sea Duck is second to none. What would happen if these two were to compete in an air race? Or better yet, what if Launchpad had no choice but to co-pilot the Sea Duck with Baloo, a bear who is super-overprotective of his plane? These two are fun and entertaining on their own, but if forced to face each other? Holy smokes! Let’s see those fireworks go, go, go!
Then there’s Shere Khan, CEO of Khan Industries. Much like Gargoyles‘ Xanatos, Khan is sometimes a good guy and sometimes a bad guy. He is an arrogant, collected tycoon whose power radiates from his tempered delivery. And I want to see him square off against the witty Scrooge, the con artist Flintheart Glomgold, and the newly established, flippant Mark Beaks. In fact, if there were some means to get Khan, McDuck, Glomgold, Beaks, and Xanatos together, there is some fascinating potential to see these wealthy businessmen play off each other. But with Khan’s mysterious demeanor, it may be quite the challenge for Scrooge to figure out if Khan could be an ally or a friend.
And thus ends my remastered list of DuckTales characters I want to see in the new series. Did I miss anyone? Let me know, because I wanna hear what you think!
…Or, y’know, you just want to see Three Caballeros available in your home country. I’m cool with that, too.