I can’t say I “grew up” with DuckTales. I was in high school at the time, although I had heard about the Scrooge McDuck comics that inspired it. They followed Scrooge, Donald, and the nephews as they went on exciting adventures. However, the show was widely popular and led to the creation of The Disney Afternoon, a programming block in syndication focused on lighthearted adventure shows in the Disney style; basically Disney Junior for older kids and at least a decade before Disney Junior. Now Disney XD is planning to bring the show back for a new generation. The trailer was recently released online. Let’s take a look at it.
I know Alan Young couldn’t return for the series since he passed away (at least he played him one last time for remade video game that probably led to this series being made), but I’m not sure his replacement measures up. It sounds he’s trying to imitate Young’s Scrooge without the right voice. That or his Scottish isn’t as believable, but considering it’s David Tennant, who actually is Scottish and had to hide it for most of Doctor Who that can’t be it. But I’m sure over time I’ll accept it; I could just be too used to Young, who played Scrooge ever since Mickey’s Christmas Carol. None of the original voice cast appears to have returned, but as Bill Farmer noted at ConnectiCon having the same actor in multiple productions is oddly new. So this is probably the same Donald Duck from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Mickey And The Roadster Racers but I’m not certain of that.
Launchpad is back and so is the theme song with little change from what I can tell. One interesting change is…well, I’m assuming that’s supposed to be Webby. We caught a glimpse of Mrs. Beakley in one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene, although none of the others like Duckworth and Gyro have appeared in any other promotion that I’ve seen. Where Webby was a cute little girl, that goes against today’s “edgy” style. We’re almost lucky that Huey, Dewey, and Louie are even in this but I’m expecting a makeover from them too. Here Webigail appears to be the same age as the nephews and a huge Donald fangirl. (Donald had plenty of adventures in his own comic as well as joining Uncle Scrooge.) I’m sure that pleases somebody but frankly I liked Webby. But “cute” doesn’t work in today’s boring and cynical landscape. Today depresses me.
What’s most interesting is what appears to be Scrooge’s arc. In the original miniseries that led to the series, Scrooge had a character arc of learning the importance of family and friends over money. Here it looks like the story will be about Uncle Scrooge trying to regain his fortune the way he made it the first time, by being “tougher than the toughies and smarter than the smarties”. I will admit that seeing Scrooge acquire his wealth could make for an interesting series but I can see where fans of the original may be put off by it since what he did with his fortune as well as adventures to stay on top were interesting as well. Did Scrooge need a rags-to-riches story? You be the judge.
If I have any disappointments it would be the art style. The original series had a beautiful style, as close to Disney’s signature style as you could get on TV. Nowadays Disney doesn’t seem to have a set style, even for the their classic family. Have you seen a recent Mickey Mouse cartoon not done with computers? It’s like a parody of the oldest Mickey Mouse cartoons and I’m just not into it. The CG stuff feels more like traditional Disney but Disney doesn’t seem to do that anymore, as evidence by how many shows they have from Disney themselves that don’t adhere to it. It’s led to some good shows and I don’t hate the new style, but the original DuckTales was a lot cleaner with sharper colors, and that was the PRE-HD days.
I’m still looking forward to it, and I kind of hope they find a way to bring back Gizmoduck. (I can do without Bubba though.) And maybe guest appearances by Darkwing Duck and Donald’s friends if the show does well enough. I wouldn’t expect them until the second season, to better flesh out this new take though. I just hope it’s good. The new show debuts on Disney XD on