Disclaimer: Disney invited me to California on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for my coverage of events, which included D23 Expo, a screening of the all new DuckTales on DisneyXD, and an exclusive DuckTales interview with producers. As always, all opinions are my own.
A Duck-Worthy Interview
As I arrived at the famed D23 Expo just weeks ago, one Q&A was on the itinerary. We would be interviewing Matt Youngberg (executive producer) and Francisco Angones (co-producer and story editor) of DuckTales!
Everyone join me…DuckTales Woo-ooo!
With DuckTales on the schedule, the day had to be incredible, right? In fact, if you haven’t read how much fun I had jumping into the Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin, head on over to my first DuckTales post now! There might be video too! 🙂
I walked upstairs in the Anaheim Convention Center, just beyond the press signs, and into the interview room (with Mickey ears on of course)…yes, that’s a photo of me from behind! “Disney Mom” all the way!
Who wouldn’t be excited? An entire new generation of kids, including my 10-year old daughter, will learn all about the Duck family…while many of us “older kids” will fall in love with the characters all over again.
I was itching to learn all I could about the new series.
The New DuckTales
With a comic book newspaper-ish type animation (that’s a mouthful, but so perfect a description), the new DuckTales has a hand drawn feel to it. In fact, if you look very closely, everything has alayer of actual newspaper pulp underneath it.
Animation geeks will love that little nugget, one of many producers provided us after watching the first half of the new DuckTales two-part premiere pilot event.
Yes we watched it and I smiled throughout!
The premise of the premiere…
Uncle Scrooge has met the kids and brought them into the “adventuring hold”.
The second part of that premiere is one I can’t wait to see…
It’s a big long 18-hour road trip in a submarine to the Lost City of Atlantis. As the kids go on their first actual adventure with Scrooge McDuck, and Scrooge realizes that maybe family is a little bit more dangerous than the temple.
2 Guys With a Dream Job
It’s always something special when you meet people who have an absolute passion for their job. That’s exactly how I would describe Matt Youngberg and Francisco Angones. Two guys living the dream. Excited. Driven. Respectful. And fun!
As we sat down with them, it was clear that this is what they were meant to do.
One Adventure After Another
DuckTales has been described as a globetrotting adventure show. As someone who loves to travel the world, I adore this aspect of DuckTales.
Francisco Angones said, “One of the things that we wanted to try to set up – every time we go to a different location. We always want to try to be authentic. So, we would genuinely try to find voice actors. If we go to Egypt, we try to find Egyptian voice actors. If we go to China, we’re gonna try to find Chinese voice actors to bring that extra level of interesting diversity and authenticity, and present a world that kids actually see around them every day”.
Fun Fact: Scrooge has a full gold flip phone, because he hasn’t upgraded in 30 years.
The Cast (David Tennant…)
The cast is simply incredible. From David Tennant to Lin-Manuel Miranda, this is one project celebrities didn’t want to turn down!
Matt Youngberg shared, “David Tennant seemed to be the natural choice for this. We really wanted to find somebody who was legitimately Scottish. We thought that was really important in this iteration, someone who had the character to bring this icon alive. And David is an amazing actor. He’s morphed into this role in an incredible way”.
When you think David Tennant, you think young and vibrant and all of these things, and Scrooge you think of as old and miserly. But, as you can see in our, in our version, he is miserly and old, but he has a youthful energy to him. Adventuring has kept him young.
Scrooge McDuck is really the “Willy Wonka of adventure”.
The Boys…Huey, Dewey and Louie
But do children these days know Uncle Scrooge?
Francisco Angones mentioned that concern and told us that’s why they set up the premiere episode the way they did, where the “kids” (aka 3 nephews) kinda know who Scrooge is, but they don’t know that he’s related to them. They certainly don’t know about the specifics of his adventures. So, Webby kinda serves as like the DuckTales fanboy, Huey, Dewey and Louie, saying, “You don’t know about Scrooge McDuck?”
It allows new kids coming into the show to get sucked into that, and learn about that crazy huge history that our version of Scrooge also has.
They wanted to push the boys’ relationships a bit further, including their characteristics.
So, one of the things that we said was, all right, well everyone says Huey, Dewey and Louie, so let’s just make them oldest, middle, youngest. Hewey is the oldest, he’s kinda the nerdy responsible one. Dewey is the middle child eager to stand out. Louie is the youngest who likes sliding under the radar, ‘cause he can get away with more stuff.
A Modern Family
I love that the concept of DuckTales is one about family, though not the traditional kind. While certain characters are definitely related (Donald, Scrooge, and the boys), characters from Webby to Launchpad to Beakley aren’t just side characters. They are also incorporated into the family, because that’s what a modern family is.
We are going to be learning more about the Duck family tree, but to them that includes everyone from the uncle to the housekeeper…it’s family!
A Girl Thing
Matt Youngberg shared that as both of them were fathers to daughters, “It was really important to be able to present a female character that they would gravitate towards, and not be a character who was written off as someone who needs to be rescued, who is like, “Ew, a girl.”
He mentioned that Webby, the granddaughter to Uncle Scrooge’s housekeeper, can go toe to toe with the boys, and also with Scrooge. And her grandmother, the housekeeper? Well, “Uncle Scrooge is not just gonna have a housekeeper. He’s gonna have a housekeeper slash bodyguard, because people are constantly trying to break into his mansion to steal his money and his riches, and do him harm, because he has a very long list of sworn enemies.”
When we talk about Hewey, Dewey, Louie and Webby, we never refer to the leads of the shows as the boys or the nephews. We always say it’s the kids, ‘cause the four of them are a unit. She becomes this sister to them. And just exploring how that happens, opened up a lot of opportunities for storytelling as the season went on.
Diversity and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Francisco Angones shared how when he was growing up, as a comic book nerd, there was only one Latino superhero. His name was Vibe. He had breakdance superpowers. There wasn’t much in the way of Latino representation, especially with superheroes. He wanted to give his kids a Latino superhero.
So he dreamed.
Now…Lin-Manuel Miranda is playing Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera slash Gizmoduck in our show. They had looked at the original traits of the character…fast talking, putting together schemes. They said THIS is Lin-Manuel Miranda but knew they could never get him. After all, this is the busiest guy in show-biz right now…Hamilton, Moana and Mary Poppins Returns just to name a few.
Little did they know that the DuckTales videogame used to be his ringtone.
The dream came true.
Funny Fact: Lin-Manuel Miranda started to freak out during a recording session when he first heard Scrooge McDuck!
Easter Egg: Watch the first episode and you’ll see Scrooge has certain business holdings. They were not put there by accident!
Season 1 Teaser
One of the main mysteries over the course of the first season is why did that happen? Looks like they’ll be delving into questions like, Why did the boys never talk to their great uncle? Why, if they were an adventuring team, did that fall apart?
How about a sneak peek from the premiere series event “DuckTales: Woo-oo!” where Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby embark on their very first adventure with the legendary Scrooge McDuck?
Premiere of DuckTales
- Saturday, August 12th – One-hour television movie to be presented for 24 consecutive hours (beginning at midnight, EDT/PDT) on Disney XD.
- Saturday, September 23rd – (7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m., EDT/PDT). – Premiere of 2 new episodes.
- Each will also be available on the Disney XD app and Disney XD VOD on these same dates.
Now, won’t you sing along…because you know this one. They knew they couldn’t fundamentally change it!
Let’s Get Social:
More from D23 Expo Blogger Trip:
- New Disney movies – Animation Update for Disney, Pixar, Disneytoon update
- Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm Live Action film update – so many surprises
- Disney Parks and Resorts Big News – Announcements
AND if you didn’t see how much of a Disney fanatic I am, be sure to check out my full costume in my I’m Going to D23 Expo post! Yes, I said costume! 🙂
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