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Disney’s DuckTales Season 3 arrives with two new episodes on Saturday April 4th (9:30 a.m. EDT/PDT) on Disney XD and DisneyNOW. We chatted with executive producer Matt Youngberg and story editor / co-executive producer Francisco Angones about the new season, the adventures to come, and the villainous team known as F.O.W.L. as part of our continuing Saturday Mourning Cartoons interview series.
Season 3, which features appearances by classic Disney characters Daisy Duck, Goofy and favorites from TaleSpin, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck, also finds Scrooge McDuck and the Duck family embarking on a globetrotting hunt for the world’s greatest lost artifacts, with a secret organization from Scrooge’s past, the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny (F.O.W.L.), trying to stop them at any cost. Listen above (with apologies for the audio quality) and/or read along below to see what Youngberg and Angones had to say!
How has the response been to the reboot so far since launching in 2017?
Francisco Angones: It’s been a Duck blur, Dave.
Matt Youngberg: It has been pretty great. As lifelong fans of DuckTales to be able to make DuckTales, first off, an amazing experience and been something that I would highly recommend to everyone. It’s also daunting and there’s a lot of anticipation behind how people are going to react to DuckTales. Between what we did with it and how we’re approaching it. And then, the response has been so great, people seem to love it as much as we love it. It’s been awesome, been really great to be able to see the fans’ responses. But not just of the fans who were there for the original DuckTales, the new fans who are discovering it, as well.
Francisco Angones: Yeah, I mean it’s something else, right? These characters have been around for such a long time, and I think even season one there’s a lot of trepidation of like, “Are they going to get it, are we going to be able to pull it off? Can we bring these characters back?” And then we felt confident after that first season and we could start messing around with the characters even more. And we introduced Della. I always like to say seasons one, two, and three are like the past, present, and future. Season two was very much about how your present doesn’t always go the way that you would expect. Life throws you curve balls but you take them because sometimes the curve balls can actually be pretty great.
And season three is so much about the legacy of Scrooge. What his life, his adventures,. have been Then there’s a conspiracy out to get both him and his family. And I think a lot about that idea in terms of our place in the legacy of not just the DuckTales characters and the Carl Barks’ Duck characters, but also in terms of all of these other characters that we’ve brought in, like Darkwing and the Rescue Rangers and Kit from TaleSpin and the Gummi Bears and all these amazing toys that we’ve been able to play with. And not just selfishly say, “Hoo boy, I get to write, ‘I am the terror that flaps in the night’.” But also to be able to bring those to a new generation of kids is really amazing.
In the pilot before Huey, Dewey, and Louie have met Scrooge, it was so much about, “Hey, let me tell you about this guy Scrooge McDuck, it’s amazing.” And it feels like that is what we’ve been doing for the past three seasons on DuckTales. It’s like, “Hey kids, there used to be this show called DuckTales and it was part of this thing called the Disney Afternoon. And it was The Best. And trying to explain to our kids why we love it so much. And that’s been a really cool dialogue to have with the fans.
You mentioned curve balls, and I normally wouldn’t ask this kind of nuts-and-bolts question, but where are you guys currently in production? How has that messed with your workflow at all? What have you had to do to answer that challenge?
Matt Youngberg: When life throws me curve balls, we’ve got to figure out how to catch it and run with it. So that’s where we are. Yeah, we are in production this season and a daunting task to be able to go up against Mother Nature and this pandemic… that is something that we’re up for the task and we’re really pushing ourselves to figure out how to do it. We’re making sure that non-essential people are not at work, that they are at home working as much as they can.
Francisco Angones: Matt are you saying I’m non-essential? That’s the rudest thing you’ve ever said to me.
Matt Youngberg: I wouldn’t say that you’re non-essential, but…
It’s a sliding scale.
Francisco Angones: Sure.
Matt Youngberg: I think it’s probably going to [depend]. It’s not about the individual, but about what the job is. So if it’s a storyboard artist who’s able to work at home, they’re able to stay at home and work on the storyboards. And as much as possible moving anything that can be done at home to home, and we’ve been conferencing and things like that. The goal is that people aren’t going to be in the office working during this time. But we’re going to make sure that we continue to deliver this amazing show, and that fans continue to be able to see it. It’s a challenge and just like the Duck Family, we’re up for the challenge, we’re going to do what we can.
In Season 3, there’s obviously going to be a threat against Scrooge and his family. That was teased at the end of Season 2 in the finale as we get a reveal of F.O.W.L., one of the fantastic villainous organizations from cartoon history. Do either of you have a favorite member of F.O.W.L., either past or present?
Francisco Angones: I mean, past, it’s got to be Steelbeak.
Matt Youngberg: Yeah, Steelbeak is a favorite of mine … I can’t wait to [introduce people to] Steelbeak. But, I mean, Marc Evan Jackson as the head of F.O.W.L., he’s been doing an amazing job. I would say, with all of the the cast, it’s hard to choose a favorite. And that really comes down to the cast. People bring so much life to these characters, and it’s so much fun to work with them and to kind of bring life to the voices they do. It’s hard to choose one.
Francisco Angones: Yeah. In terms of the current version, I mean there’s so many great members of F.O.W.L., including some that you don’t know about yet, which is really exciting and weird and fun. But also I would have to say for all of the amazing members of F.O.W.L., I really love the dynamic between Marc Evan Jackson as Bradford and Black Heron played by April Winchell because they end up playing as like the bizarre Scrooge and Beakley. That’s a really fun, weird relationship to explore.
That’s really cool. And you mentioned your fantastic cast, which leads into my next question. What can you guys tease about some of the exciting guest stars you have popping up for season three?
Matt Youngberg: Well, the thing I’m most excited about is not just voice actors this season but the characters themselves who get introduced to our Duck Universe. This season we’ve got Kit Cloudkicker, more Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, so there’s lot of things we’re doing in the show that should make fans of the original Disney Afternoon really excited. Hopefully that reintroduces [concepts and ideas] to new fans so that hopefully there’s somewhere in the future to go with them.
Francisco Angones: Yeah. And it’s been great as the show continues to grow and through all three seasons, the talent that we get for this show is just so excited to be a part of this legacy that we also get to be a part of. So we have amazing people like Adam Pally and Stephanie Beatriz and Don Cheadle is coming back. We’ve had Lin Manuel Miranda on our show for three seasons and Jaleel White who is a formative part of all of our comedic upbringing. But it was the craziest thing recording Jaleel White where he says a line and you’re like, “Oh right, That’s where my comic timing’s from. I watched you every Friday for the entirety of my childhood.”
Yeah. I mean we have a whole laundry list of guest stars. We go on and on and on. But the thing that really comes together is… the creative juice of the thing I think is in the collaboration of everybody, not just the guest stars and the main cast, but also all the board artists, all of the writers, all of the designers and production people. Because everyone has been so creatively generous and gracious and everyone wants to go do the best that they can for these characters and this show and this legacy while also being really trusting, knowing that everyone else is doing the same thing. It’s been just a really amazing collaboration, all around.
What are you hoping that fans will get out of Season 3 of DuckTales?
Matt Youngberg: I would say, I hope that they get the same family values that they got in Season 1 and Season 2. I hope they can get really excited about where we are going, on one hand it feels like we’re going back to normal, going back to doing things that are fairly standard for this family. But I think the way that this season builds is going to be very unexpected and the place that it goes is very unexpected. So, I want the fans to be really excited about the trajectory of this season. It’s a really, really amazing season.
Francisco Angones: Yeah, I would say, since the premiere we’ve been saying, “Oh, we’re going back to basics from globe-trotting, treasure-hunting.” That was really the first time that we’ve been able to do that, we kind of spent the first two seasons of this show getting to a place where in season three we could be… We could embrace full family adventure the way that the original DuckTales did. And so of course we’re going to have to undercut it and make our characters lives miserable because that’s what we do, because we love them so much. But there’s something really joyous about knowing that we’ve managed to keep these characters around and alive for hopefully another 30 years and not just the DuckTales characters, but the whole Disney Afternoon-iverse. It’s really amazing and humbling.
Well, listen, I love it. I love everything I’ve seen so far. Thank you guys so much for all your work so far, please thank your team for us at Collider, and best of luck with the rest of production and Season 3.
Francisco Angones: Thanks so much, Dave.
Matt Youngberg: Thank you so much.
Disney’s DuckTales Season 3 arrives with two new episodes on Saturday April 4th (9:30 a.m. EDT/PDT) on Disney XD and DisneyNOW