DuckTales 2017 news updates: 
Song + First-look, 
RIP Alan Young & Chris Barat,
McDuck’s at DisneySea

As some of you may already know, Disney is rebooting DuckTales with a brand new show coming later in 2017. The announcement was devoid of any details, but they have since released a teaser of the new voice cast singing the DuckTales theme song, and finally a proper first look video.

But before I get into that, there were two sad events I want to mention.


Alan Young (RIP)
(1919-2016)

Alan Young, the voice of Scrooge McDuck, passed away in May 2016. (Sorry I didn’t write anything earlier, but this was just after my friend Carlos Icaza died and I really couldn’t deal with this.) Alan Young was age 96, and had a terrific life. But the most frustrating thing in my opinion is that his talents could have been utilized one last time for this new DuckTales series (and coast for another 30 years), but Disney squandered the opportunity.

Alan Young / Scrooge McDuck / Mr. Ed

Alan Young was the voice of Scrooge for over 30 years (starting with Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983) and he became the definitive voice. (There was one instance in 1987 where Disney tried another voice in Sport Goofy In Soccermania, but even with the only one prior performance by Alan Young, it was an impossible act to follow.) Disney likes to pat themselves on their back for voice actor continuity, such as how the voices of Donald Duck and Goofy were passed among actors with actual training. But they completely dropped the ball here. And worse, if they had planned a little earlier, they could have used Alan Young himself. (He reprised the role in the recent DuckTales Remastered afterall.)




Dr. Chris Barat (RIP)
(1962-2015) 

After the DuckTales teasers were released, I thought to myself, “I wonder what Chris Barat thinks.”

So I headed over to his web site, only to read the terrible news that he passed away after complications from a kidney transplant.

Chris & Nicky Barat

For those who don’t know, Chris Barat co-wrote (with his friend Joe Torcivia) the quintessential DuckTales resource guide, The Duckburg Times #24/#25. It contains critical analysis of all the first season episodes drawing upon deep knowledge of the original comics and authors of Uncle Scrooge. In addition, it contained inside production information about the show itself. There is no other resource that can hold a candle to this. To this day, I still cherish my copy of the issue.


The Duckburg Times: Special DuckTales issue

I did not know Chris Barat, but he offered great praises, entitled Wing Doesn't Need a Prayer, for my DuckTales 25th Anniversary Retrospective. Since I consider him to be among the great Duck historians, I was honored and consider it the highest praise.


He has a wealth of deep knowledge on a vast number of comics beyond Uncle Scrooge and DuckTales. I recommend you read through his site before it is lost to time. 


I was so looking forward to his future comments about the new DuckTales series (and maybe a new Duckburg Times special with Joe T.) when it finally came to air. Sadly, we will not be graced with his insights.


My condolences go out to his family and friends.




New DuckTales Voice Cast


Since they weren’t showing the cartoon itself in this video, I can’t really critique the voices. But these are my impressions.

So I’m (still) upset that they didn’t utilize Alan Young while he was alive. What a squandered opportunity…


David Tennant

To his credit, he has a real Scottish accent in real life so it will be credible. Though Alan Young grew up on the Scotland border so his accent was authentic too. And Alan Young was already in his 60's when he started Scrooge, whereas Tennant is still pretty young. I think my bigger problem will be that I’ve seen too much of Tennant’s Doctor Who so I’ll keep hearing that.

I know I’m not the only one. Check out this video, Doctor Who-oo!.


(If you haven’t seen the Axis of Awesome before, their 4 Chord Song is a must see.)




Separate Huey/Dewey/Louie voice actors is interesting…before it was one woman, Russi Taylor (who’s still alive and was also in DuckTales Remastered). I think different personalities and voices could be interesting for the boys, however, I’m terrified they are going to do the same crap they pulled with Quack Pack. I would feel a little better with 3 women doing younger boys than the idea of teenage boys. That all said, I don’t really want Huey, Dewey, Louie stories...Scrooge should be the focus.


I’ve seen Kate Mucucci in a few other random things before. She was pretty good and funny in those things. She’s kind of weird in an endearing way, and plays a ukulele. She could actually make Webby an interesting character. However, I don’t know any DuckTales fan that ever said, “You know what, we need more Webby episodes”. But who knows, maybe the new Webby could become our next Gosalyn Mallard, who was Darkwing Duck’s surprise breakout character.

(Another sad loss: RIP Christine Cavanaugh 1963-2014)

RIP Christine Cavanaugh



Terry McGovern is still alive, so again, I’m upset they didn’t get him to reprise Launchpad. (He was also in DuckTales Remastered.)


The new Mrs. Beakley, Toks Olagundoye, is clearly the best singer of the group. But please don’t take this as license to do singing episodes. The Bubba Duck song still makes me cringe.


Though the Boogie Beagle Blues in Beaglemania had no business being as shockingly good as it was…




DuckTales First Look 2017

Overall, I’m actually optimistic. It looks like it could be good. It definitely looks like they care. There are some famous Carl Barks paintings in the background which is a really strong sign that the people running the show know their stuff and deeply care.


         Carl Barks: Always Another Rainbow 

Carl Barks: Always Another Rainbow Carl Barks: Uncle Scrooge



















Tennant as Scrooge is going to be an adjustment for me, but I think he did a good job in the scenes they showed.


And the portrayal of Scrooge as an adventurer, definitely keeps with the spirit of the comics and original series. They seem to imply he has been beaten down a bit in this video. That’s okay. Don Rosa did that in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck to great effect.


Huey, Dewey, and Louie still concern me a little. Words like “awesome” make me wince. Disney has a long history of failing miserably trying to be “cool”.  (That whole X-TREME phase in the 90's still makes me sick.) Paradoxically, Disney is coolest when they aren’t trying to be cool, and lamest when they are. That said, this video didn’t come anywhere to close to Quack Pack levels of annoyance. I think if they tone it down a little and let the characters become actual people instead of caricatures, these 3 have the potential to be really great…even far better than the original DuckTales series.


I don’t like that they played Donald Duck up as some famous adventurer (even it is true). Donald Duck is supposed to be a nobody (an every-man). Even when he does accomplish something great, nobody will ever acknowledge him for it, to the detriment of his ego and temper. That’s part of the fun of his character.

Donald is our kicking-boy

(Donald is our whipping-boy.)


I liked the Launchpad scene at the end. I’m glad they kept the bad pilot jokes. (I was always deeply disappointed that in Darkwing Duck, they got lazy with that and the crash landings.) Beck Bennett didn’t sound idential to Terry McGovern, but in his one line, I was happy with his performance. 

But for the character design, I miss Launchpad’s flight goggles. Even for the original series, the goggles were an anachronism. But the original series made it a character development point that Launchpad truly loved to fly, even before he was a pilot, so he always wore his flight goggles everywhere. In this new video, if I didn’t already know who Launchpad was, I would see a terrible pilot wearing a baseball cap, and assume he is just a lazy bum who sees his job as just the normal grind to earn a paycheck. Launchpad’s flight goggles are also a little reminscent of Donald Duck always wearing a sailor outfit, even though he isn’t an actual sailor (until he joined the Navy in the original DuckTales).


(Launchpad & his flight goggles. Think about redesinging Donald without his sailor suit.)

Launchpad wearing a baseball capLaunchpad McQuack and his flight googles











The artwork I’m not so sure about. On one hand, I’m really happy they didn’t use 3D computer graphics. On the other hand, the art style doesn’t sit well with me. Scrooge and Donald look fine to me. The kid designs I am having trouble adjusting to as well as the background art style as seen with the Money Bin and Duckburg.

Disney animation normally has such beautiful artwork and the original DuckTales was amazing because they managed to keep a high Disney standard for a weekday television show. I need to see the new series in action, but it feels like a step down. That said, the animation (frames/motion) quality looked fine in the video, but again, it has nothing that comes close to the pinnacle of the television animation quality we got in the 90’s, like from Walt Disney Animation Japan in Gargoyles.

Duckburg: Old vs. New 
(sorry for the grainy old picture)

duckburgDuckburg-2








Money bin trivia: The money bin first appeared in 1951 in a Barks story (WDCS #135). It sits on Killmotor Hill, where Fort Duckburg used to be. More info here.

Original Carl Barks Money Bin 1951Modern Comic Money Bin (has dome)DuckTales 1987 Money Bin

DuckTales 2017 Money Bin





Bonus: McDuck’s at DisneySea

I recently traveled to Tokyo to give a speech at the try! Swift Tokyo conference. After the conference, I did the geekiest tour of Japan I could design. This needed to include a visit to DisneySea, one of two Disney parks in Tokyo (the other is Disneyland). For those who don’t know, DisneySea is a water/sea themed Disney park. 

DisneySea



The park’s entry contains a harbor/bay that looks like they recreated renaissance Italy and Venice. Some people say DisneySea is the most advanced and ambitious theme park ever created, engineering-wise blowing away every other theme park including other Disney parks... and I believe it. It is gorgeous.

DisneySea gondola/Venice canal/bridge


But we’re talking about DuckTales, so why did I mention this?

Well they have a department store in DisneySea called McDuck’s.

McDuck's Department StoreMcDuck's Pawn Shop
Scrooge McDuck statue
McDuck portrait happy sternMcDuck portrait happyMcDuck portrait tip hatMcDuck head
McDuck castle


Beautiful store! But, yet, not a single Scrooge or DuckTales item to be purchased anywhere. Shameful. The Disney/Marvel marketing team is firing on all cylinders and has a roadmap of how everything connects for years in advance with tons of merchandise ready to purchase. But just like in the 80’s and 90’s, I still can’t buy a single Scrooge item, even with the new DuckTales series on its way. Absolutely shameful. Disney Shareholders: revolt![**]

Shut up and take my money



** Yeah, I know, I know: Disney ESPN

ESPN losses are causing problems for Disney



Related entries

DuckTales 25th Anniversary Retrospective

DuckTales list of surviving voice actors (from 2013)

Spring 2017 blog update summaries

Summary of Swift on Android / try! Swift Tokyo

Swift on Android full presentation (hosted by Realm)

Why We Loved Sierra Games

Dance of the Fairies / QFG inspired demo & RIP Carlos Icaza

Thank you / Why We Loved Sierra Games followup

Blurrr SDK soft launch (PlayControl blog)

Blurrr SDK (official site)


Copyright © PlayControl Software, LLC / Eric Wing