The Disney Afternoon celebrates its 25th anniversary this September; it was, for many children of the 1990s, a beloved two-hour block of animated TV shows that included such adventure cartoon series as Ducktales, Tailspin, Darkwing Duck, and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers as part of its programming. Walt Disney Pictures (unsurprisingly) has started to mine that nostalgic well in the present, as last year reports emerged about a live-action/CGI hybrid movie adaptation of Rescue Rangers being in the pipeline.
Today, however, brings related (but unexpected) news that Disney XD is developing a reboot of the Ducktales ‘toon. The TV show, for those unaware, was inspired by the “Uncle Scrooge” and related Disney comic books (dating back to the 1950s). It follows the adventures of ultra-rich Scrooge McDuck and his three identical nephews (save for the color of their hats/clothing) Huey, Dewey, and Louie; along with an ensemble of eccentric side players, like Scrooge’s not-so-competent pilot Launchpad McQuack (who also starred on Darkwing Duck) or brilliant, though aloof, inventor Gyro Gearloose.
The original award-winning Ducktales series ran for 100 episodes and even gave rise to a theatrically-released movie spinoff in 1990, titled Ducktales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Disney Television Animation will produce the reboot series, which is slated to premiere on Disney XD in 2017. Here is the official statement on the matter, from Disney XD’s Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Marc Buhaj:
“DuckTales’ has a special place in Disney’s TV animation history, it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks’ comic books and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation.”
Ducktales is but the latest nostalgic kid-friendly TV property announced for a reboot in the 2010s. Similar programs that will be making a comeback over the next few years include The Powerpuff Girls and Thunderbirds are Go!, while even Netflix is going to relaunch The Magic School Bus for a new generation of viewers. That’s to mention nothing of continuing animated series revivals from the past few years, such as Sailor Moon.
Most of these returning animated IPs will be making the jump to computer-animation for their newest iterations – and, presumably, Ducktales will too. However, ongoing TV shows like Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels – or even upcoming 3D animated movie reboots of traditionally 2D brands such as Peanuts – have shown that animators are growing more and more adapt at carrying over the impressionist techniques used for 2D ‘toons into CGI form. That bodes well for these upcoming TV show reboots, like Ducktales; if the latter does wind up returning in 2D form, instead, then more power to it.
Ducktales, in its original form, was a series that blended episodic one-offs with more complex over-arching storytelling as well as multi-episode narratives – an approach that, even today, is not so common for television aimed primarily at children. Similarly, its combination of pop cultural influences – ranging from Indiana Jones-esque globe-trotting adventures to ancient mythology and other popular film genres (spy thrillers, disaster features, and so on) – remains a rather inventive (and memorable) one today.
For those reasons, Ducktales is a property that is not just deserving of a revival, but could easily resonate as much with the younger members of Generation Z today as it did back in the late 1980s and early ’90s – assuming the rebooted version isn’t just a shinier but hollow makeover of its predecessor. That being said, it’s going to be hard for the Ducktales reboot to match (much less top) the original TV show’s catchy theme song (assuming it doesn’t just remix that tune or something along those lines)…
Ducktales will premiere on Disney XD in 2017.
Source: Disney XD