It's a moment that will no doubt shock old-school "DuckTales"
fans. Donald Duck's nephews first climb up on Uncle Scrooge's desk. And then
they pelt this beleaguered bajillionaire with a series of quick, cutting,
"Are you really our uncle?," asks Huey.
"How old are you?," queries Dewey.
But perhaps the most painful question comes from Louie. Who
straight-out says to Scrooge "You used to be a big deal. What happened to you?"
That's the question that hovers over the "DuckTales" first
look which Disney XD released earlier today. Those who look closely at this 90
second-long preview will notice some clues that not only suggest that Scrooge
is having a crisis-in-confidence (i.e., That copy of the "Duckburg Daily" on
the floor of his office with a headline which reads "McDuck hangs up his spats
after ..." "After" what? Sadly, the crucial corner of this newspaper has been
torn away) but it also appears that the world's richest duck may be dealing
with some sort of serious financial crisis (There's a quick tilting camera move
in this first look which shows that the amount of money that's currently stored
in McDuck's fabled money bin is far below its usual 90 - 95-foot depth).
Not to worry, though. As the rest of this preview of Disney
XD's "DuckTales" reboot unspools, Scrooge soon shakes off whatever is troubling
him and returns to form. With David Tennant (sounding nothing like he did when
Tennant portrayed the 10th Doctor on that British television series,
"Doctor Who") providing vocals for this much-beloved pop culture character,
McDuck - as he's seen Indiana-Jones-ing his way through a series of booby traps
- is heard to proclaim that " ... "I'm Scrooge McDuck. I made my name being
tougher than the toughies and smarter than the smarties."
David Tennant gets ready to record Scrooge McDuck's dialogue for Disney XD's"DuckTales" reboot. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Now what's particularly cool about that line being used in
this new Disney Television Animation production (which will premiere on Disney
XD later this Summer) is that it's a direct lift from "Only a Poor Old Man."
Which is a story that Disney Legend Carl Barks wrote for "Uncle Scrooge # 1,"
the comic book which Western Publishing originally published 65 years ago this
month back in March 1952.
It's clear that - as you freeze frame your way through this
first look - that Matt Youngberg (i.e., the Annie Award nominee who's executive
producing this "DuckTales" reboot) and Francisco Angones (i.e., the co-producer
& story editor of this new Disney XD series) are big Barks fans. Otherwise
why would these two have opted to have Carl's 1974 painting, ""Always Another
Rainbow" (which shows the young Scrooge back when he was still founding his
fortune by working in the gold fields of the Klondike) so prominently displayed
at McDuck Manor?
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
But it's not just fans of the "Scrooge McDuck" comic book
who will have fun freeze-framing their way through this first look. People who
loved the original "DuckTales" television series (Which Buena Vista Television
began syndicated back in September of 1987) will - if they look closely - catch
brief glimpses of Huey, Dewey & Louie's nanny, Mrs. Beakley. They'll also
spy Scrooge's longtime nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold (i.e., the second richest
duck in the world).
But along with these blink-and-you'll-miss-them looks at
"DuckTales" old favorites, this Disney XD first look also features some
right-in-the-front-window views at characters like Webbigail Vanderquack (who -
now that she's voiced by Kate Micucci - isn't afraid to ask Donald's nephews
"Who's the evil triplet?" Huey & Dewey's response to this question is to
immediately point at Louie. Whose response to this should-be-painful reveal is
a nonchalant "Eh" and a shoulder shrug) and Launchpad McQuack (who - even
though he's now being voiced by "Saturday Night" 's Beck Bennett - still has
trouble keeping planes in the air. There's a wonderfully funny bit in this
video where Launchpad interrupts his heartfelt tribute to the extended McDuck
clan ["Family truly is the greatest adventure of all"] to try and stop a sudden
nosedive ["Oh no! The ground!"]).
Of course, it's hard to judge an entire TV series based on a
single 90 second-long preview. But given the wonderful quirky quality to the writing
that this Disney XD first look showcases (EX: When Donald Duck reveals that
he's taking his nephews to meet Scrooge, Louie's deadpan response is "You're
finally going to sell us"), this "DuckTales" reboot looks to be the sort of
show that will not only entertain today's kids but will also win over fans of
the original animated series.
All I know is that - after repeatedly viewings of this first
look - I'll definitely be watching Disney XD this summer. If only to learn how
- in this version of the "DuckTales" universe - Donald Duck (according to
Webby, anyway) has now somehow become " ... one of the most daring adventurers of
And just so you know: Mouse House managers seem to already
know that this "DuckTales" reboot is something special. Which is why - before a
single episode of Disney Television Animation-produced show has aired - they've
decided to renew it for a second season.
This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Thursday, March 2, 2017