DuckTales: Matt Youngberg and Frank Angones Talk F.O.W.L., Darkwing Duck, and the Disney Afternooniverse
It's finally here! The one-hour DuckTales x Darkwing Duck special titled "Let's Get Dangerous!" has arrived a smidge early over on DisneyNOW prior to airing on Disney XD tonight. ComicBook.com recently had the opportunity to speak with DuckTales executive producer Matt Youngberg and co-executive producer and head writer Frank Angones all about it ahead of the special's premiere, and now that we're here, well, we can really get into spoilers.
To be clear: I'm not kidding about the spoilers bit. If you haven't already watched the episode, you will likely want to do so before reading on for Youngberg and Angones' answers. While we don't dive too deep into the plot of the special, there are plenty of reveals that you will likely want to see for yourself.
UPDATE: The #DuckTales/#DarkwingDuck special, "Let's Get Dangerous" is available FOR FREE, without subscription, on the @DisneyNow app RIGHT NOW! pic.twitter.com/hCRAlt9DCV— Frank Angones (@FrankAngones) October 19, 2020
DuckTales currently airs new episodes from Season 3 on Monday nights on Disney XD. The one-hour special "Let's Get Dangerous!" is available today! You can check out all of our previous coverage of the show right here.
Have you been keeping up with DuckTales? Are you excited to see Darkwing Duck and his pals return? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things animation! And keep reading to check out our spoiler-filled discussion with Youngberg and Angones!
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
ON THE FOWL REVEAL AND BRINGING DARKWING BACK
ComicBook.com: When did you know you were going to go all out with Darkwing and why tie the big F.O.W.L. reveal to it?
Matt Youngberg: Well, I think we always knew from early on, from probably the first season that we wanted to do something with Darkwing. Darkwing was a really important character for us to develop and to use to expand the world of DuckTales. And having it happen in the third season seemed like the right place, because the third season deals a lot with legacy. It deals a lot with the Disney Afternoon overall. We're reintroducing a lot of characters that came up in the Disney Afternoon and having been the Disney Afternoon character we've been seeding the most throughout the series, it made sense for us to kind of hinge this midpoint event around Darkwing Duck. So, this is coming right in the middle of Season 3 and so you are having this season-long arc that's happening with DuckTales, and we wanted to make sure that that season-long arc was going to transition in some way for the second part of the season. And so, we needed to make sure that we were servicing the story in DuckTales and what we were doing there, but we also wanted to make sure we were doing it in a way that was also expanding this Disney Afternooniverse idea that we had with Darkwing Duck and really paying off what we had been setting up for three seasons with Darkwing and giving him his own narrative space to grow as a character.
Frank Angones: And as with all things on our show, it's also an exploration and an evolution of the Launchpad storyline. We introduced Darkwing first as a show that Launchpad used to love as a kid that kind of inspired his own personal ethos of, "when you crash your plane, you get back up." Season three is so much about legacy and the legacy of DuckTales is also, the Disney Afternoon is part of that legacy. So to have those characters start to show up with more frequency, and then specifically part of the legacy of the character of Launchpad is that he went on to be a part of this family in Darkwing Duck and we wanted to explore that and evolve that specifically tied to, as you said, an episode that has a lot of importance in terms of the DuckTales legacy.
And one of the things that Matt always kept me honest on with this particular episode is we have to make sure that it is both a DuckTales special event and a Darkwing special event and spinoff of both. There are elements that are definitely way more Darkwing and there are elements that are definitely way more DuckTales, but the notion is to tie in, how do these characters form a Disney Afternooniverse? Why are these old characters starting to show up with more frequency? And that's all tied into the narrative that is being revealed in this two-parter.prevnext
ON BONKERS, TOTALLY NUTS
Speaking of legacy and this being a legacy episode within a legacy season, I guess I shouldn't be surprised after the sort of wild Rescue Rangers reveal, but you really did manage to sneak Bonkers in there, huh? I guess he's technically part of the Darkwing Duck show within DuckTales?
FA: We needed a cop! We needed a comedy cop that can't be stopped! Yeah, there are two more even deeper cuts in this episode and one that is probably just for me. But, yeah, given the content of the episode and Darkwing was always a little bit... DuckTales was always the more Golden Age, pulp-adventury, Doc Savage, Indiana Jonesy-type thing. And Darkwing was always the more Silver-Agey, superhero kind of Kirby-inspired, multi-verse idea. So it would make sense that we would go to Darkwing. His original show was very meta with a lot of fourth wall breaking and referencing himself as a cartoon character with ratings. It would make sense that we'd bring in this meta element of this kind of Disney Afternooniverse and how that plays into the narrative of the third season with a Darkwing episode. And all of the crazy, Silver Age nonsense that he brings with him.prevnext
AND OTHER DEEP CUTS
You said there are other deep cuts that I've missed. What else are we talking about here?
FA: Well, there are two C-list villain cameos in this episode, as Launchpad and Gosalyn take on other personas. There is Solego, the mad thinker who is a reference to a Disney Afternoon crossover comic. And then there is Fluppy Dogs, which the very first prime time-premiering, Disney television animation show about interdimensional, magical dogs that aired one special once and never aired again, except in my house where I had it on VHS.
MY: Not to mention, we also got to throw in a reference to one of my absolute favorite scenes from the original DuckTales.
FA: Oh, yes. Yes.
MY: When Scrooge gets tossed into another dimension.
FA: Yes. When Scrooge finds out some disturbing news about his ice cream.prevnext
ON WHAT COMES NEXT
With this big, huge episode setting off the rest of the season here, what sort of plans are there for Darkwing going forward for? How does this reveal of Bradford as part of F.O.W.L, how does that affect Scrooge and the rest of the gang? What can you tell us about the rest of the season?
FA: The season is so much about legacy, right? And I think this event ties Darkwing and Gosalyn and Launchpad intimately into the stakes of the family, along with a lot of other characters. And we set up that for the first half of the season, for the first time they were all together, there were no dark secrets, no conflicts. A little conflicts along the way, but they were all together trying to find this list of missing mysteries and they were blissfully unaware that they were in the middle of the conspiracy. And it took Huey, who is our most analytical, most paranoid junior Woodchuck member to kind of see the ideas like, "Oh my gosh, this is a huge conspiracy theory. And there is a master villain who's been at work that even Scrooge didn't see happening."
Now that they know, it's really going to shake them to their core. I always say that Scrooge's biggest fault is his overconfidence and what happens when he comes up against this element he doesn't think that he can beat on his own. It's now also, instead of just being fun adventures, it's now become a race. We've got to collect these things and we've got to figure out why. So I think it ratchets up the stakes and the tension level for all of the adventures to come.prev