Here at Nerd Lowdown, we’re massive fans of The Mighty Ducks! After a rewatch of the original trilogy, we started dreaming of a reboot!
The original Mighty Ducks movie was first released by Disney in October 1992. It went on to spawn two sequels and a cartoon series on the Disney Channel that featured anthropomorphic space ducks. It also inspired the formation of the Anaheim Ducks NHL franchise, which was set up by the Walt Disney Company in 1993 and went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 (although Disney sold the team in 2005)!
The original trilogy followed many of the same tropes. The Mighty Ducks was the typical underdogs coming of age sports story with elements of the pressure that is put on children by coaches/parents to excel in their chosen sporting discipline. Critically, the Mighty Ducks movies were viewed as pretty mediocre but they have attracted a dedicated cult following of sorts. As TIME Magazine stated in their oral history of the movie – “Few would declare it the greatest trilogy in movie history. Many more would call it their favorite.”
How We Would Do It
Set in the present day, Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson) went on to captain the Mighty Ducks to a Stanley Cup after they relocated to Anaheim and became a pro-team. Alas, not all careers last forever, and Conway was forced to retire due to a knee injury and the NHL MVP winner has been left with a big gap in his life. After attending the funeral of his old coach Gordon Bombay (assuming Estevez wouldn’t return), and reading a eulogy that details Bombay’s efforts with the Ducks, Conway is inspired to give something back to hockey as Bombay once gave to the Mighty Ducks.
Conway returns to the Mighty Ducks youth setup and attempts to put together a team to win the NHL Youth Cup (a real thing!). Conway’s efforts are scoffed at by his old pal and now rival Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso, if he would return) who is in charge of the Los Angeles King’s junior team – the Anaheim Duck’s local rivals. Banks believes that Ice Hockey has come on too far since the days of the Mighty Ducks and there is no way Conway could take a bunch of kids off the street and win a prestigious trophy when his own team is made up of Stanley Cup destined youth athletes. Adopting his old coach’s ethos (both the good and the bad) and his old team’s logo, Conway sets out to prove Banks wrong and show that Coach Bombay’s ways can still work in the ultra-modern game.
What we would get, although just like the old movies would be quite cut & paste (but that’s the charm) is a journey of self-discovery and learning for the characters of Conway & Banks. While both characters are set in their ways, they would go on to discover that there is not one sole way to play/coach/make it in Ice Hockey and perhaps at the end of it all it would mend the riff between them. We would also see the kids learn a few lessons along the way in team work, and how there’s more than one way to skin a cat to get where you want to be (in this case, that’s the NHL). We’re earmarking Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things, Alex R. Hibbert of Moonlight, Ty Simpkins of Jurassic World & Jacob Tremblay of Room for possible roles! We’d also see scope for some cameos or roles for some of the original cast. Elden Henson for example, who played Fulton Reed in the original trilogy, has found a bit of fame as Foggy Nelson in Marvel’s Daredevil.
While the nostalgia kick of a Mighty Ducks reboot alone would spark much hype among certain demographics, there is also franchise potential there if Disney wanted to go on and make a sequel. There’s also the chance to earn major merchandising dollar that neither Disney nor the Anaheim Ducks themselves would likely turn down. While much of this merchandise would already exist given the firm establishment of the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL, a new movie would help the game & team reach new shores & audiences. Ice Hockey is a great sport to watch, but perhaps is not as big as it could in Ireland, the UK & some parts of Europe compared to its colleagues in American Football & Basketball.
The biggest issue here we imagine would be around the rights of the Mighty Ducks franchise itself. As Disney created the Ducks and the original trilogy, they may still hold some legacy rights – whether that extends to being able to make a new movie or just distribution of DVDs/Blu-Rays for example, is a different story. However it’s entirely possible that everything went when they sold the NHL team. The Anaheim Ducks will still occasionally use and still sell merchandise with the classic Wildwing logo on it. It is possible that the Mighty Ducks movie rights also went with the sale of the team. This could well be the reason why Disney haven’t tried to revive the Ducks already.
Then, the original actors may not want to return if something akin our proposal was followed. While recasting wouldn’t necessarily be impossible, you would like to see a new movie (or set of movies) follow at least Charlie Conway in the present day and it would be nice if original actors returned. Demand, is another issue, perhaps it is just us who would like to see another Mighty Ducks instalment. Although series like Friday Night Lights saw reasonable success, and admittedly the Mighty Ducks is tonally much different, it is fair to say that market demand may not be enough to satisfy another go – but hopefully there are others out there who would like to see a sequel/reboot/revival and someday we might just get it, wings crossed. GO DUCKS!