Admit it, America. You love your feel-good sports movies.
No matter the sport, these films all have a common thread. The five-foot nothing underdog walks on the football team. A group of misfit benchwarmers rise up to win an unexpected title. A neurotic, little man walks out of the big sports agency in the hopes of starting his own firm and shows everyone the goddamn money.
Being a nobody in these movies is the best motivation to become someone. They are as much about sports as they are about the American dream.
What’s another common thread in these movies? None of them are about the coolest sport on ice, hockey. When just about every great sports movie was made in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, all hockey had to show for it was Slapshot. Hilarious? Yes. Inspiring? No. Hockey was the ugly stepchild of the sports movie genre. When Den of Geek attempted to field a team of fictional movie hockey players for the Winter Olympics, we had a tough time. Our starting winger was a monkey.
One constant on that list was a roster full of Ducks. In 1992, Disney gave an entire generation a reason to pick up a hockey stick. The Mighty Ducks skated into theaters and put the exclamation point on the children’s sports movie boom of the late 80s and early 90s. Finally, America had a hockey team.
It’s been 20 years since D2: The Mighty Ducks turned the popular underdog story into a franchise. Not just an NHL franchise, but also a legitimate movie franchise. Stars like Joshua Jackson were born and went on to do amazing things, like star in Dawson’s Creek. Emilio Estevez committed the most famous DUI in children’s program on any medium. The “Knuclepuck” became a part of the hockey vernacular.
The Mighty Ducks felt like a little slice of Americana. The cast was diverse in race and background; the adult figure was flawed but sought redemption and they came together to excel at a sport that our nation doesn’t prioritize and other nations bleed for. Their rivial is ICELAND! They must breathe hockey there!
Nonetheless, the Ducks told those northerners that anything you can do, we can do better.
Today, the legacy remains in tact since we’re still talking about the impact of the three films. If you haven’t read TIME’s fantastic oral history of the Mighty Ducks trilogy, it’s the reason the ducks are back in the news. To get right to the point we’ll post the exact words of Mighty Ducks producer Jordan Kerner on whether there have been talks of bringing the franchise back to the big screen and you can judge for yourself:
There have been a number of times that we have discussed with the studio the idea of either bringing it back and bringing it back possibly with one or two of the guys who are now in their thirties as the coaches, and having a few more of them be their friends in their lives and having the kids come back. And I’ve been pitched a story two or three times. It hasn’t been the right story yet, but the idea of doing that is something Steve and I have talked about and actually Disney and I have talked about. So I’m not going to fuel the rumor mill that it’s going to happen, but I’m saying to you that the studio said to us, “We’d be interested if you come to us with the right story.” And that’s something that we’ve been all thinking about independently and I think that we may be coming closer to having the right idea for that.
So it sounds like there is interest in dusting off the old Ducks sweaters and where there is interest there is hope. It’s not just hope for the 80s babies and the millennials that would get a kick out of seeing a new incarnation of the “Flying V.”
I hope this happens for America. This nation needs the Ducks back.
We’re currently in the midst of the great superhero movie boom but that oversaturated market isn’t going to keep our nation’s youth in a fantasy world forever. We’ve lacked fresh children’s sports movies during this decade. The underdogs have been minimalized and it’s time for them to rise up and remind everyone what America is all about.
But don’t take it from me, take it from the franchise’s star, Joshua Jackson, who portrayed the irreplaceable Charlie Conway:
I’m constantly amazed at the legacy of those movies, especially in Canada but even in the States. It’s partially because nobody has made another hockey movie for kids. So when you want to dig something up like that, this is what you dig up. It’s really managed to stand the test of time.
Though it sounds like it has been a fickle process to come up with a new script, based on the interiews it’s almost a lock for at least some of the original cast to return in some capacity.
Allow me to make one casting suggestion and note on the non-existent script. There’s no need for a reboot here. Give the keys to the franchise to Jackson. I have a feeling it won’t take a DUI to get Charlie Conway back as the leader of the Ducks. He was born to be the captain and god willing, he’ll take his rightful place as coach if a fourth installment is someday commissioned.
The pieces are in place for the Ducks to take over America once more. The puck is in your zone now, Disney.
Quotes are courtesy of the TIME story, which was published on June 9.