It looks like Coach Bombay is walking away from hockey again, this time for good. Emilio Estevez helped Disney resurrect the Mighty Ducks franchise earlier this year with the first season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. With the Ducks as the new villains, Bombay helped a single mother and coach turn a group of misfits into champions. The series was a hit for Disney+ and a second season was ordered, but Estevez won't be a part of it.
According to a new report from Deadline, Disney Television Studios' ABC Signature decided not to pick up the option on Estevez's contract for Season 2. The new season is currently being written and production is scheduled to begin early next year. The scripts are now being adjusted to continue the story without Coach Bombay.
The report indicates that ABC Signature decided not to bring back Estevez after weeks of back and forth about the show's COVID vaccination requirements. Most Disney productions require all actors (and crew members who come into contact with them) to be vaccinated in order to work on the set. Sources suggest that Estevez has "declined to provide assurances that he would comply with the policy." On the other side of that coin, sources close to Estevez have indicated that creative differences were the issue.
It will certainly be difficult for Mighty Ducks to move forward without Bombay, especially since the first season was really focused on bringing him back into coaching after he spent so long trying to run away from hockey. That said, there could be some more returning cast members from the original movie trilogy to help make up for the loss.
Franchise creator Steven Brill sat down with ComicBook.com earlier this year to talk about the future of Game Changers, and he hinted that bringing back star Joshua Jackson is still something the creative team hopes to do.
"Yeah. I know the story. We know the story. You just never know, is Josh Jackson going to be able to show up next year if we write it? I hope," Brill told us. "I'd do anything to work with him again. But the character, yeah, we didn't get to explore it deeply in this season, but, I think, as and if we go on, for sure, I want to explore what happened with him and Gordon and with his mom, and does Gordon Bombay have a child? Do we even know that answer? And what happened to his law degree? And all these different questions that we want to get to."
The first season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is now streaming on Disney+.