Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, featuring actors from the original films.
Anytime a TV revival comes around, the showrunners have the challenge of attracting a new audience while still appealing to fans of the original project. Particularly with family shows, capturing the intrigue of both younger viewers and their parents is often the goal, making callbacks and guest appearances from the past almost a necessity. So when the news came that The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers was bringing back some of the original film trilogy's stars for a guest appearance, you’d have to be a real cake-eater to not get excited.
For Episode 6, “Spirit of the Ducks,” six stars from the Mighty Ducks film trilogy reprised their hockey-playing characters for the already beloved Game Changers revival on Disney+. It featured Connie (Marguerite Moreau) and her now-husband Guy Germain (Garette Ratliff Henson), Fulton Reed (Elden Henson), Les Averman (Matt Doherty), Ken Wu (Justin Wong) and Adam Banks (Vincent LaRusso) as invitees to a 25th anniversary gala, and fans got to see them donning the green jerseys alongside coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez). It was pure magic both on and off the ice, and here were the six best moments from the Ducks’ reunion!
Fulton Broke Gordon Bombay’s Window — Again
A completely unexpected moment led to cheers in this writer's house when Gordon Bombay drove past a construction site and had his truck’s passenger window shattered by some loose concrete. He angrily jumped out of the truck, only to be recognized by the guilty party — Elden Henson's Fulton Reed! It was a callback to the pair’s first meeting in The Mighty Ducks, when Bombay chased the younger character down an alley after Fulton shoots a puck into the window of the van Bombay was riding in.
That original meeting led to Bombay recruiting Fulton to the Ducks, which obviously had a massive impact on the team's successes. Meanwhile, the callback meeting in Game Changers led to Bombay being invited to grab some pizza with his old team. It was the ultimate opener for a nostalgia-filled episode.
The Pizza Dinner Felt Like A True Reunion
One of the coolest things about this reunion is that for some of the actors, it wasn’t just a return to their days as Mighty Ducks team members, but a return to the world of acting in general. Garette Ratliff Henson hadn’t acted since 2013, and Vincent LaRusso since 2010, while Justin Wong essentially left the biz after his portrayal of Kenny Wu in D2 and D3. So their pizza dinner reunion really had the authentic feel of old friends getting together after a long time to share stories and look at old pictures of themselves as kids.
Charlie’s Absence Was Explained, And It’s Perfect
Apologies to the Charlie Conway loyalists out there, but Joshua Jackson’s character in The Mighty Ducks was kind of the worst. If the wind blew the wrong way, Charlie was sulking and stomping off to go slam a door somewhere. Though Jackson unfortunately wasn’t able to reunite with the team for the reboot due to scheduling, Charlie’s absence was explained by his former teammates, and it’s the most Charlie explanation ever.
In trying to mask his legit disappointment at not being invited to the Ducks anniversary gala, Bombay acted like the whole thing wasn’t worth his time. Having not yet witnessed the well-oiled monster that the team has become, The O.G. Ducks misinterpreted the reasoning behind Bombay's attitude, as well as the reason why their former coach basically disappeared from their lives. That's when Fulton invoked Charlie's name to say he might have been right about Bombay
[Charlie] didn’t come because he said it’s not like you’ve been showing up for us lately, so why should he show up?
Classic Charlie. I’d still love to see Joshua Jackson return at some point, of course, and knowing that series creator Stephen Brill is continuing to display Charlie's petulance even in his absence makes any future reunion well worth the wait in my book.
Averman Drove A Limousine Onto The Ice
After Averman told his former teammates and coach that he takes a limo to work these days, it wasn't the biggest surprise to later learn that being the actual limousine driver was his job. But it sure came in handy when the Mighty Ducks originals drove it onto the ice rink to collect Gordon Bombay for the 25th Anniversary Gala. The moment was another callback to the original movie and Bombay’s first meeting with District 5 — pre-Duckworth sponsorship, of course — but Averman added a nice fishtail to the limo’s trek, with the team chanting, “Quack! Quack! Quack!” And if weren't quacking along, then or now, check your pulse.
The Ducks Initiating Flying V Formation In The Gala
It’s a small moment, but true Ducks fans no doubt caught it immediately. When the original team marched into the gala during the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award, they were totally in Flying V formation, with Fulton at the point. It’s a nod to the strength of their statement, as they escort Gordon Bombay into a party he was purposely not invited to, in order to make the case for why the coach who founded the team is the only choice for the team’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Ducks fly together, indeed!
The Mighty Ducks Back On The Ice
Some of our quacking heroes may not have acted in a while, but they still showed off their skills on the ice. The original team hit the rink for a practice run with the Don’t Bothers team, with Kenny Wu in particular showing off his figure-skating chops before slapping a puck into the net. Fun was always the main goal for Gordon Bombay’s Mighty Ducks, and the players both young and old seemed to be legitimately enjoying themselves. The best part? Connie instructing the girls on some more aggressive moves. Get 'em, Connie!
Bringing back some of the cast from the original Disney movie trilogy was such a cool thing for the old-school fans, and the Mighty Ducks: Game Changers reboot was able to connect the old Ducks with the new Don’t Bothers in the same inspiring ways that The Mighty Ducks franchise did in building up its fandom in the first place. If “Spirit of the Ducks” got you feeling nostalgic for the old days, all three movies are streaming now on Disney+, and the 2021 TV schedule has more than enough shows to keep you busy until Charlie comes back around.