After Emilio Estevez wrapped up his time as Gordon Bombay in 1996 for D3: The Mighty Ducks, he shifted his focus from acting to directing. More than twenty years after the final Ducks movie, The Public and Culture Clash in AmericCCa director now says the Disney+ reboot series is his chance to get back into on-screen spotlight.
“It’s interesting to come back now using The Mighty Ducks as a re-entry vehicle,” the actor-director said during Disney+’s TCA panel on Wednesday.
He said that he told series executive producer Steve Brill he would only join the show “if we can capture the films fo the franchise, if we can create a cinematic experience and not just try to cash in on the nostalgia aspect of it.” After working in all 10 episodes of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Estevez said he and the rest of the team did just that.
Co-created by Brill, Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, the reboot is set in present-day Minnesota, where the Mighty Ducks have evolved from scrappy underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. After 12-year-old Evan (Brady Noon) is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, he and his mom Alex (Lauren Graham) set out to build their own ragtag team of misfits to challenge the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs culture of competitive youth sports. With the help of Gordon Bombay (Estevez), they discover the joys of playing just for the love of the game.
While fans of the Mighty Ducks franchise may be quick to recognize Estevez’s original character, the actor says Gordon Bombay evolved significantly over the years – from his relationship to hockey to his larger mission.
“They’ve set him up as being a truth teller in terms of how he relates to not only the parents but also the kids,” he said. “It is unlikely that they’ll be professional hockey players…he’s tasked with giving that harsh reality. He helps them understand the reality of that.”
While Estevez seems to be the only original Mighty Ducks cast member currently aboard for the series, Brill said the show will harken back to the franchise in multiple ways, but remained tight-lipped on guest appearances.
“We’re excited to keep reinventing from square one, the storyline and creating a new mythology. But we’re not ignoring the past or the people of the past. We’ve always tried through the whole series to bring people literally, emotionally and suggestively back into the story,” he teased.
During the panel Graham also teased the “slow-burn” relationship between Alex Morrow and Gordon Bombay, and Goldsmith and Yuspa talked the universality of the new underdog sports story.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers premieres on Disney+ Friday, Mar. 26.
The series is produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios. Steve Brill serves as executive producer with Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa as executive producers and showrunners. Michael Spiller is also an executive producer/director on the series, with James Griffiths serving as director/EP on the Pilot. Emilio Estevez is an executive producer and Lauren Graham is co-executive producer. George Heller and Brad Petrigala of Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Jon Avnet and Jordan Kerner also serve as non-writing executive producers.
Watch the series trailer above.