Although original star Emilio Estevez reprised the role of Gordon Bombay in Disney+’s first season of their revival of the ice hockey comedy The Mighty Ducks, he will not be returning for the second. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers will now move ahead without Estevez’s involvement, which all seems to come down to a disagreement between the actor and Disney’s Covid vaccination requirement, although neither Estevez nor his representatives would make comment on whether that is true or not.
Like most Disney+ series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers will be employing an all or nothing Covid vaccine approach to “Zone A” cast and crew, as has been agreed between major unions and Hollywood Studios in the most recent Return To Work Agreement that has been put in place to prevent outbreaks of Covid on-set as much as possible.
Deadline reported that Estevez has failed to make the necessary guarantees that he will comply with the policy, via his reps, and with the scripts currently being prepared to start shooting in early 2022, the decision seems to have been taken to simply re-write the script to take his character out of play. In contrast, sources close to the actor have cited “creative differences” as the main reason for the actor parting ways with the series.
Estevez originally appeared as Bombay in the original The Mighty Ducks back in 1992, returning for two sequels in 1994 and 1996. The family movies were broadly a standard family movie that Disney churned out for fun in the late 80s and early 90s, the feel good movie that saw an underdog come through and win the day against all odds. The series picks up the story of the Mighty Ducks in present-day Minnesota, where the once rag-tag team are now a successful, competitive youth team. But everyone knows that successful teams don’t make good stories, so instead of focusing on the now definitely Mighty Ducks, we follow 12 year old Evan Morrow, who is booted from the team and with the help of his mom and Estevez’s Gordon, they put together a new team of misfits and begin to rediscover the love of playing the game for the sheer love of it.
Season 2 will bring back Brady Noon as Evan and Lauren Graham as his mother, with the cast also featuring Maxwell Simkins, Swayam Bhatia, Luke Islam, Kiefer O’Reilly, Taegen Burns, Bella Higginbotham and DJ Watts. Other stars have been teased to return. While Emilio Estevez will be a big loss, considering he has been at the heart of the franchise from the start, there is nothing to suggest that the series will suffer too badly without him and will still appeal to its core fans.
Considering the first season was only allowed to film when Disney Studios agreed with British Columbia unions in Canada that Covid testing would be carried out as standard for all cast and crew on the production. With many studios having now moved on to adopt a mandatory vaccine rule, it is not surprising that we are seeing this play a part in whether some actors choose to take part in productions or not, with many still reluctant to have the Covid vaccine due to their own personal beliefs. Season 2 of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers will be released next year on Disney+. This news comes to us from Deadline.