The Anaheim Ducks earned their claim to fame from the Mighty Ducks trilogy and Disney has announced that a possible TV reboot is in the works.
A few weeks ago, news that any OG Mighty Ducks fan would appreciate began circulating around the rumor mill. Since then, it has been confirmed that Disney+ is working on a TV reboot of the classic Mighty Ducks trilogy. Now, some of you may be wondering why I have decided to spend time writing about this subject since it doesn’t have much to do with the Anaheim Ducks organization.
Well, here’s why; to me, this has been long overdue. See, most of the TV shows from the 90’s have either gotten a reboot (Full House— Fuller House) or classic Disney movies have been put on the big screen as live-action remakes (Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Jungle Book, Mulan, etc.) I’m glad that some of these shows and movies were made. Most, if not all of them, were classics when they were released.
However, the announcement that the Mighty Ducks was getting its own spotlight was appropriated because, to me, they were like the forgotten child that no one wanted to talk about. The Mighty Ducks were the best sports movie series that Disney ever created (apologies to those who believe it’s Air Bud or Angels in the Outfield.) Because of Disney, us fans get to enjoy the current embodiment that is the Anaheim Ducks, and, this current generation should get to experience what OG fans experienced when we saw the movies.
With that said, there is a looming cloud over this reboot. Many people dislike reboots because it has the potential to ruin the original. After all, when Lion King came out, some people didn’t like it because it wasn’t identical to the original. Other’s appreciated it because Disney tried something new to breathe new life into a classic. That is why I want to give my own suggestions as to how the show could work.
Of course, the people in charge may not look at it, but I don’t care. To me, this is for the fans of the movies we all cherish. I also open it up to you to critique my suggestions or make your own. But, ready or not, here is the list of things that I, as a Mighty Ducks fan, would want in the show.
Remember The Past
Those who will tune into this show should learn the history behind the original series that was the Mighty Ducks movies, which means some episodes should introduce the origin of the story. They don’t have to go play by play, but at least show the main characters that formed the team and what has happened since then. Some cameos from the original cast should be done, mainly by Bombay, Charlie, Fulton, and Julie the Cat, just to name a few. For me, Bombay and Charlie need to make an appearance because they were the main reasons why the Mighty Ducks were successful on the ice.
I also would like the current version of the Ducks to have some episodes where they either wear the original jerseys from the first movie, or the jerseys that were worn in the second/third movies, or a crossover of the old and new logos. The jerseys should, like original, have their own style, but at least have some resemblance of the original jerseys that were worn in the movies.
Finally, if there is one thing, one thing that must be used for this show, it has to be hands down, no doubt about it, the Quack chant. Everyone who watched the movies and became a fan of the movies knows the famous chant the team did before their games, and that is something that can’t be replaced. It should be brought back for nostalgia’s sake. They can incorporate some new chants to mix it up, but for the first game, and if they have an episode in which they make it to the championship, that is when they should break it out.
Every Hero Needs a Villain
Every Mighty Ducks movie had a team that everyone wanted to hate. In the first movie, it was the Hawks. They were a team that dominated the pee-wee hockey league. The storyline with the Hawks also introduced Gordon Bombay, the lawyer who became the coach of the Ducks. He was, however, originally known as the one who missed the penalty shot for the Hawks one year and the coach who wouldn’t let him forget about it. Eventually, the Ducks met the Hawks in the title game and were able to knock them out when Charlie made the penalty shot.
The best hockey villains for the Ducks were the Warriors in the third and final movie of the Mighty Ducks trilogy. Mainly because, like the Hawks from the original movie, the Warriors had guys that you just wanted to hate, whether it was Riley, the Warrior captain, Cole, the Warriors enforcer, the Warriors had guys that you just wanted someone from the Ducks to put them down. The slight difference between the Warriors and Hawks was that the Warriors forced the Mighty Ducks to play a real-life style of hockey that worked, which was the main tiebreaker for me.
The villains in this show should have guys that you want to hate, whether because of social status, or any other reason. The villains should be so hated that a rivalry is formed, maybe not like an NHL rivalry where fights occur, but at least it should be realistic to where the rivals dominate the underdog for a while before they lose when it counts. As the rivalry gets formed, the show will get better. I would also suggest a back story to the main characters on the rival team that will explain away how it got started as well.
The Young Learn from the Old
In the movies, the Ducks had a mentor named Hans who was a grandfather figure to Gordon and Charlie. Unfortunately, Hans died later in the third movie before the Ducks dethroned the Warriors. What made Hans an integral part of the team was the wisdom that he imparted, first to Gordon, to help him face his fears and the past, and to Charlie in the third movie, to help him grow up into the leader he was supposed to be. It was sad when his death was told by Casey, Charlie’s mother, to Charlie himself and when the Ducks took the ice before the game, they paid homage to their mentor before the game started.
That said, the show should have a mentor like him, someone wiser and older like Hans, to be a sage for the team to go to on and off the ice. He should share similar characteristics that Hans had, warm, easily approachable, and kind-hearted. It would be good because the team will be going through some growing pains starting out, and someone that can be that guy to cheer them up when necessary is always something that should not be unappreciated. I would personally say it should be Bombay himself because he was the coach and he could fill in the role that Hans left, but if he’s not available, it could be a parent or teacher that the kids on the team can go to.
Not How You Start, But How You Finish
The show should be predictable, but not predictable. I know, it sounds like I’m not making sense, but let me explain. The show shouldn’t have the team be like the New York Yankees winning every game and blazing through the regular season, playoffs before they win it all. The team should start off with some growing pains, on and off the ice. It should be relatable for all of us because we all had our moments when we were down and out and with the help of some friends and mentors, we pulled through. The Ducks should go through the same thing, struggle at first before they eventually find their way and win some games.
I also think the show should have a place where the Ducks get a bit cocky and then get beat as a humbling experience to get them back on track. It happens in real life sports, so why not bring it here? The team has to learn how to handle everything thrown their way and learn that by standing together, they will find their way to where they want to be. In order to achieve this, the directors should key in on character development, not letting the characters get stale, but have them grow up along the way.
Another way that they can accomplish this is through tragedy. While it’s always sad to lose someone close to the team, there have been multiple occurrences of teams rallying around one another and finding ways to honor the fallen. For example, New Orleans Saints did it in ’09 with their super bowl run, the Houston Astros did it in the World Series, the Boston Red Sox did it after the Boston Marathon, etc. Tragic situations can sometimes push the characters to the point where they realize that they can’t do things on their own but rally around one another and band together as one if they want to come out on the other side victorious.
Always Know Your Role
The characters from the original movie series always knew what their role was: Fulton and Portman were the enforcers, Averman was the funny guy, Adam Banks was the star on the team, and Charlie Conway was the heart, soul, and leader of the team. The team grew up as the movies went along, leaving them in a good place, dethroning the Warriors in the win or go home game. What I liked about the cast was that while they had to grow up on the ice, they kept their personalities the same, they didn’t change who they were around one another.
That is how the team should be constructed. There should be some growing pains and growing successes for each person. For every funny guy on the team, you need a level-headed person; for every soft-spoken guy/girl on the team, there needs to be a vocal guy/girl on the team. There needs to be a balance on the team, that way everyone feels like they belong, and they feel a part of the team. It also shouldn’t be the same guy or girl always coming up with the right words to say, but it should be spread amongst the group, that’s how the best teams are formed.
Everyone on the team will go through some growing pains, but in the end, they should be allowed to embrace what makes them special, whether they are vocal, or soft-spoken, whether they are the best on the team or they are role players who can provide a spark. Personally, the team should have some big guys on the team as the “Big brother” to make sure the rest of the team feels safe. Number 1, I’m a big guy myself, so I always want to give the fellow big guys some love. Number 2, the big guys do the most important thing in order to have their teammates’ back: scare the living daylights in their opponents by laying the wood (being physical.)
Now, as far as the captain goes, I would want it to go to someone who may not be the star on the team, but someone who resembles what Charlie was on his team, the heart and soul. I want him to learn how to lead, learn how to overcome his own shortcomings and be the captain that the team needs him to be. The synopsis for the show is that the main character gets kicked off from his previous team, if that is the storyline, maybe have it due to his past or something that he did wrong so that it could be a redemption type of story for him. For Charlie, he had the stuff to be the leader but had to adapt in the final movie to really emerge as the leader. To have that type of storyline would be appropriate; it would be reminiscent since Charlie had to go through the same thing in the movies.
And Now, The Finish
Every season ends with two teams playing for the championship. If and when the Ducks get to the championship game, the writers should make the championship game as electric as a championship game should be. To make it even more interesting, it could involve the rival that has beaten them prior to making the championship game.
What makes the championship game special is the back and forth nature in which both teams are in, or when the opposition is up big but the team who is trailing finds the resolve to make a comeback possible and storm all the way back, setting up a climactic finish. The adversity aspect can also be included for the Ducks, maybe one of their stars gets injured by the opposition and finds a way to get back into the game, or one of the players who are in a slump suddenly finds a way to come through when the team needs him or her the most.
The atmosphere of a championship game is also key. The Ducks fans could get dressed up for the occasion, have rally towels, duck whistles, something to show that they are here and ready for battle. The opposition needs to have a fanbase who has the big talkers in the stands, so when the comeback is complete, they’re stunned silent. A special cameo from a former Duck, whether it’s a character from the movie like Charlie or an actual player like Ryan Getzlaf, would be awesome as well, to encourage the team to follow the motto: Never say quit, Never say die, that is how the Mighty Ducks fly.
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To me, the speeches are important: The pregame speech can help the team remember how far they had come and reminded them of where they want to be and what they must do in order to get there. The pregame speech also needs to be organic, it has to come from the heart, otherwise, it’ll sound too stale. As for the halftime speech, sometimes, if the team is down big and needs a rallying cry, or they’re in a dogfight and are needing to be encouraged to keep taking the blows. Sometimes, a pep talk from either a coach, the leader, or someone who no one would expect can sometimes be a spark that gets the team going.
The best pregame speech was from “Miracle”, when Coach Brooks tells the team that it was their time and that the USSR, while the more talented and experienced team, they would be going down in that game. The fiery emotions from coach Brooks made the team believe that they could beat the USSR in the Olympics. The best pep talk that came either in the intermission/halftime from the MD series was D2 when Coach Bombay reminded the team that they had to be themselves no matter what other people said about them and the guys remembered the “Ducks Fly Together” motto. Personally, I want the speeches to come from the heart, let the guys on the team figure out what they want to say, to keep it original.
As for the actual comeback, in hockey, you can go a lot of ways with it. You could go with the Miracle on Katella comeback, use some aspects from the movies, or be original and let the team find their own way to make a comeback. Let it be a mixture of the stars leading the way, then the spark-plugs, the glue guys contribute, and then in the finish, it can go either way. The most important thing is that when everyone contributes, everyone feels like they’re a part of it. The electricity from the team making the comeback would be unstoppable which would set up a high-stakes, breath-taking finish that will bring everyone to their feet or the edge of their seats.
I also would say that the background music should be key to make the comeback even more dramatic. Now why would I bring that up, you may ask, it’s because every sports movie that involves a comeback has always had a score of music that gets everyone’s attention. It may be the last thing that anyone thinks about, but if you choose the right notes, the right tone, it makes all the difference in the world to make everyone continue to watch to see how the game will end.
This article has been a long time coming because this show about the Mighty Ducks has been a long time coming. I know not all of these things will be heard from the higher-ups, but to me, this is important and it will be important to those who grew up watching the movies and have waited a long time to see something like this, or for the newcomer who doesn’t know who the Mighty Ducks are.
The minor details may not matter, but the most important thing about this show’s success, is that they don’t stray from what made the Mighty Ducks special: them being the underdogs, them learning to be good friends off the ice and teammates on the ice, but most importantly, remembering that no matter what happens, they always Fly Together, and if the show’s writer’s keep that nostalgic feeling in the show, that will make people like me feel proud to be a Mighty Ducks fan.
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