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Mighty Ducks Disney+ Series Release Date, Cast And Plot

Nearly 30 years after The Mighty Ducks scored with a whole generation of '90s kids, the Disney film about a ragtag Minnesota youth hockey team and their scrooge-ish coach is getting a revival. The original film starred Emilio Estevez (The Breakfast Club, The Public) as the reckless and arrogant lawyer-turned-team leader Gordon Bombay. After being arrested for drunk driving, Bombay must coach the local "District 5" Pee-Wee hockey as part of his 500 hours of community service. Despite having no practice facility, equipment, or even much ability, the young players and coach eventually prove winning a championship requires just as much heart as skill. 

The 1992 sports dramedy was created and written by frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds, The Do-Over) and directed by Stephen Herek, the man behind Disney's Glenn Close-led 101 Dalmatians remake, as well as '80s cult classics like Critters and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Beyond scoring two sequels and an animated spin-off, not to mention launching the careers of stars like Fringe's Joshua Jackson and Daredevil's Elden Henson, The Mighty Ducks also inspired the "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim," a very real NHL team that Disney founded a year after the film's release. 

Brill is expected to return for the Disney+ TV spin-off as co-creator, while Variety reports that executive producer Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa are also co-creators and are set to serve as co-showrunners. James Griffiths (Stumptown) will serve as an executive producer and series director for the show, which Agnes Chu, senior vice president of content at Disney Plus, said in a statement was "an easy decision to bring back... with a modern and fresh twist."  

It's still too early to know whether the Disney+ series will score the same level of cultural resonance as its predecessor, but here's what we can tell you about the upcoming series. 

When will the Mighty Ducks reboot premiere on Disney+?

Rumors about a return of the quack attack had been circling for some time, but they were reignited after Disney+ dropped the long list of shows that would be coming to the streaming platform in 2020. Currently, The Mighty Ducks trilogy is locked into a streaming contract with HBO, but the original 1992 film will land on Disney+ July 1, 2020, followed by D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3 six months later on January 1, 2021. The early 2021 arrival of The Mighty Ducks sequels, coupled with all of the Disney+ shows currently in production or slated to debut in the near future, raised the possibility that fans looking forward to the spin-off might expect a release date somewhere in early 2021.

The Hollywood Reporter's earliest report of plans for a new Mighty Ducks series noted that the show was still very much in its early stages, with sources declining to confirm any official release date. But a listing on What's Filming helped clear up some of the fans' early speculation. The site reported that the show would be filming in Vancouver, the same city as the original Ducks movie, with production on the spin-off beginning in February and a projected end date of June 11. Disney still has yet to confirm a specific debut date for the TV spin-off, but this information alongside another report from THR suggests the series is now expected to premiere sometime in the fall of 2020. 

Who's in the cast of the Might Ducks reboot?

Undoubtedly, Mighty Ducks fans would love to see several original cast members return, but as of now, there has only been one face from the trilogy confirmed to hit the ice, and that's Emilio Estevez. The man behind Coach Gordon Bombay celebrated his return to the world of Minessota pee-wee hockey 25 years after his D3 cameo in a statement that began, "Once a Duck, always a Duck!" 

"I am delighted to lace up my skates, put on Coach Bombay's jacket and return to play the iconic character for this new chapter in The Mighty Ducks franchise," Estevez said, per Variety. "Likewise, I am thrilled to return to my old stomping grounds with my friends at Disney and Steve Brill."

The reports of Estevez officially signing on to revive his role and serve as an executive producer on the Disney+ series came just a day after the actors slated to lead the sequel were announced. Deadline reported that Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham had been cast as Alex, a mom who starts another underdog team after her son is kicked off his old one. Graham will also serve as an executive producer alongside Estevez. Boardwalk Empire and Good Boys star Brady Noon will play her son Evan, who works with his mom to build their own hockey team of misfits.

Alongside news of their casting came the confirmation of several other ensemble members. Among them are Passengers star Julee Cerda, as well as young talent Swayam Bhatia (Succession), De'Jon Watts (Black Panther), Bella Higginbotham (Troop Zero), Kiefer O'Reilly (Legends of Tomorrow), Taegen Burns (The Right Stuff), Luke Islam (America's Got Talent), and Maxwell Simkins (Bizaardvark). 

What's the plot of the Mighty Ducks Disney+ series?

30 years is a long time to wait before returning to a story about a bunch of young pee-wee hockey underdogs who win a state championship, so it makes sense that for the upcoming revival, Disney might go in a slightly different direction. Yet a synopsis released alongside the news of Estevez's return reveals that while some things will be changing, much of the story fans love will remain the same. 

News of Graham and Noon's characters already confirmed that the series would be focusing on a new generation of ice rink misfits. But Disney eventually revealed more, establishing that the series will take place in present-day Minnesota. There, 12-year-old Evan (Noon) and his mother Alex (Graham) will work to leave their mark in the world of pee-wee hockey with their own ragtag team. They'll be joined Estevez's Gordon Bombay, who will help them challenge the cutthroat culture of competitive youth sports and ultimately find the joy in playing for the love of the game, above all else. 

Up to this point, it all sounds pretty familiar, but there's one key twist Mighty Ducks fans might find interesting. In this sequel, Gordon's former team of scrappy pee-wee players are no longer the underdogs. Instead, they're the "ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team" from which Evan has been booted. While details around the specifics of the misfit team members are still mostly unknown, the Disney Insider fansite was the first to report four character breakdowns, offering a glimpse of the new Ducks. Among them is Koob, a shy video-game player; Nick, who pretends he has an imaginary TV show; a girl popular on and off the ice named Mary; and Lauren, an unpopular girl who pretends she's a fairy-magician and is ignored by Mary.

Despite being a whole new class, the story and stars of this Disney+ Mighty Ducks sequel series will surely give fans of the original something to quack about.