One of the things that’s often overlooked in the history of Disney cinema is their wide collection of sports movies. From Angels in the Outfield and Miracle to McFarland, USA, Disney has rarely met an uplifting, rags-to-riches sports tale it didn’t like. Before nearly all of them, however, was The Mighty Ducks. The story of a group of down and out kids and the man forced into coaching them was so popular it spawned two sequels.The movie saw a number of child actors who have grown into regular staples of TV and film as well as several adults who got some of their earliest work in the franchise.
But where are those cast members now? The answer may surprise you:
Emilio EstevezEmilio Estevez was the leader of the rag tag group of hockey playing kids and was the only bona fide star in the first film. He’d been famous for seven years already, having starred in the both of classic "Brat Pack" films The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. Then he played Billy the Kid in a pair of Young Guns movies. While Estevez has continued to act since Ducks, he’s been much more focused on directing in recent years. He both wrote and directed the Kennedy Assassination drama Bobby as well as his current project, the drama The Public about the people who live and work around the Los Angeles Public Library.
Joshua JacksonThe first Mighty Ducks film was only Joshua Jackson’s third acting job in his career. Jackson would go on to wider fame two years after the third film, when he would play Pacey in the well-remembered teen soap Dawson’s Creek. While Jackson has continued to do the occasional movie role, including a part in Estevez’s own Bobby, he has continued to find the majority of his success in TV. He played the role of Peter Bishop for five seasons on Fringe, and can currently be seen on Showtime’s The Affair.
Eldon HensonPlaying Fulton Reed, the first kid to call himself a Duck, Henson already had been working for 10 years when he filmed the first Mighty Ducks movie. In Ducks, he was the enforcer because of his size. This asset became part of many of his characters over the years, including his role as the silent giant Maxwell Kane in The Mighty. He also had a large part as the best friend of Ashton Kutcher in The Butterfly Effect. Today, Henson is best known for his role of Foggy Nelson in Netflix’s Daredevil series.
Keenan ThompsonKeenan Thompson scorned his first movie role when he was cast as Russ in D2, the street hockey player who helps save the day. The same year he would be cast in Nickelodeon’s kids sketch comedy show All That, which would in turn spawn the Keenan and Kel side project, as well as Good Burger, a movie based on the show’s most popular sketch. Three years after All That wrapped, Thompson would join the cast of the granddaddy of all sketch shows, Saturday Night Live, where he can still be found today.
Kathryn ErbeKathryn Erbe was the tutor for team USA in the Junior Goodwill Games of D2. For most people, however, she will always be detective Alexandra Eames, the partner of Vincent D’Onofrio for 10 years on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She has reprised the role for a couple of guest spots on Special Victims Unit, and even did it again last year as part of sketch on John Oliver’s HBO series Last Week Tonight.
Marguerite MoreauMoreau portrayed Connie, one of the few girls on the Ducks' hockey team. The next time you probably saw her, she had grown up quite a bit in her role as Katie in Wet Hot American Summer. Since then, Moreau had recurring roles in several TV series including The O.C., Shameless, and Grey’s Anatomy. More recently, she reprised her role for the Wet Hot American Summer mini-series for Netflix.
Jussie SmollettSmollett may be one of the more interesting stories from the entire Mighty Ducks cast. After getting the role of Terry in the first film, he practically vanished. He wasn’t in either of the sequels, and while he certainly continued to work, the different series he ended up on never made it much beyond a single season. Cut to 2015. Smollett jumps back into the forefront of notice as Jamal on FOX’s much loved series Empire. Funny how things go.
Danny TamberelliTamberelli would have been a recognizable face to the kids in the audience because of his role as one of the Petes in The Adventures of Pete & Pete shorts on Nickelodeon that had started in 1990. The shorts would become a proper series the same year the first Ducks movie came out. While Tommy would not return in any of the subsequent sequels, the kid kept busy as both a cast member and writer on All That (alongside Keenan Thompson).
Scott WhyteWhyte has the distinction of having had parts in both of the Mighty Ducks sequels, but as different characters. In part two he played Gunner, a member of Team Iceland, while in the third film he played "Scooter" Holland. After continuing to take various acting roles in the intervening years, his primary focus today is voice acting, with a specialization in video games. He’s lent his voice to over two dozen titles in the last five years. He’ll next be heard as Dr. Gregory Graham in the spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise, Mighty No. 9
Jeffrey NordlingJeffrey Nordling was the pain in the ass prep school coach in D3. After playing the regular role of Jake Manning on Sela Ward’s ABC series Once and Again into the early 2000’s he’s continued to act in numerous film and television roles. Most notably, he played Richard Mackey, the brief, but memorable head of Encom in Tron: Legacy, as well as Frank Bertinelli, the father of The Huntress on Arrow who she really, really wants to kill. Apparently the man is just skilled at playing people you want to hate.
Vincent LarussoAdam was the star of the Mighty Ducks team. The former Hawk who was forced onto the team of losers when it turned out his house was in the wrong district. While Adam was both envied and disdained at first he eventually won over his teammates, and they won him over as well. Shortly after the last Ducks movie Larusso graduated from high school and he then went on to Boston University where we earned his degree in Business. Larusso hadn’t left acting entirely, having cameos in the spoof Superhero Movie and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse in the 2000’s but has not had any roles since 2010.