The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is an American sports comedy-drama streaming television series based on the 1992 film written by Steve Brill. Created by Brill, Josh Goldsmith, and Cathy Yuspa for Disney+, the series serves as a follow-up to the film, and is produced by ABC Signature and Brillstein Entertainment, with Brill serving as head writer, and Goldsmith and Yuspa serving as showrunners.
|The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production locations||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Distributor||Disney Platform Distribution|
|Original release||March 26, 2021 –|
Lauren Graham, Brady Noon, and Emilio Estevez star in the series. As of January 2018, ABC began developing a series based on the franchise The Mighty Ducks, with Brill set to write the series. The series was announced to be released on Disney+ in November 2018. Filming for the series was scheduled to begin in February 2020, and end in June 2020. In August 2020, it was announced that filming could officially begin after Disney TV Studios made a deal with British Columbia unions about testing the cast and crew members for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now a hockey powerhouse, the Mighty Ducks junior team is selective about who makes the cut. After being cut and told he is wasting his time, 12-year-old Evan Morrow, at the urging of his mother, forms a new team of underdogs with the help of original Ducks coach, Gordon Bombay, who has since become the despondent owner of a low level ice rink.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Lauren Graham as Alex Morrow, mother of Evan and coach of the Don't Bothers. She formed the Don't Bothers after Evan is cut by the Mighty Ducks. Alex didn't know anything about hockey when she started coaching, but has since helped the team grow in confidence by putting fun first. Alex was briefly fired as coach after becoming too obsessed with winning, but later returned in time for States. She works as a paralegal for Ducksworth, Saver & Gross Law Firm.
- Brady Noon as Evan Morrow, Alex's son who is cut by the Ducks for being too slow and told he is wasting his time pursuing hockey. He is the Don't Bothers' captain until he steps aside to regain the trust of his team after almost leaving to rejoin the Ducks. Evan scores the first goal in team history against his old team.
- Maxwell Simkins as Nick Ganz, Evan's best friend who helps start the Don't Bothers. He lives with his two moms next door to the Morrows. He is also friends with Winnie, the cocoa girl at the Ice Palace. Nick co-hosted The Wraparound podcast with Mary Joe prior to joining the team.
- Swayam Bhatia as Sofi Hanson-Bhatt, Evan's friend who is a talented hockey player with an accurate shot. She leaves the Ducks to join the Don't Bothers despite her perfectionist parents opposing the move. A troubling knee injury flares up during the States tournament and forces the Don't Bothers to forfeit to the Ducks.
- Julee Cerda as Stephanie, Alex's boss at DS&G who is often snobby and frequently takes advantage of Alex's soft nature. Her softer side comes out when it is revealed her and husband, Clark, are getting divorced. Her twins, Trevor and Ruby, play for the Ducks.
- Luke Islam as Koob, the Don't Bothers' goalie with great reflexes. He was a hardcore gamer before hockey came calling.
- Bella Higginbotham as Lauren, a member of the Don't Bothers who is into cosplay. She is seen to be the team's enforcer, having learned a few moves from former Duck Connie Moreau.
- Taegen Burns as Maya, a member of the Don't Bothers from New York and part of the popular girls clique at school. She is Lauren's best friend.
- Kiefer O'Reilly as Logan, a member of the Don't Bothers who moved to Minnesota from Toronto after his parents divorced. He lives with his father in the same street as Evan and Nick. Despite having a lot of pro hockey equipment, Logan had trouble skating until Bombay helps him overcome this and discovers he has a talent for stick-handling. He is the last of the Don't Bothers to score a goal.
- De'Jon Watts as Sam, a member of the Don't Bothers who never turns down a dare, such as Evan daring him to join the team
- Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, the original Ducks coach and owner of the Ice Palace. He was found to be in a dark place when the Don't Bothers start playing at the rink and reignites his love for the game. He later becomes assistant coach of the Don't Bothers and briefly coach when Alex is fired before being reinstated.
- Dylan Playfair as Coach T, the condescending head coach of the Mighty Ducks who cuts Evan from the team, before trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to bring him back. He regularly taunts the Don't Bothers and refers to them as a "bunch of clowns".
- Em Haine as Winnie Berigan, an employee at the Ice Palace. She is friends with Nick and often seen talking to Alex. She is also known for having many boyfriends.
- Lia Frankland as Mary Joe, host of The Wraparound podcast and Nick's former co-host. Her father, Terry, takes over from Nick when he joins the Don't Bothers.
- Amy Goodmurphy as Paula Ganz, Nick's mother
- Jane Stanton as Sherri Andrews, Nick's other mom
Special guest starsEdit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Game On"||James Griffiths||Steve Brill & Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa||March 26, 2021|
|After her son is cut from the Mighty Ducks, struggling single mom Alex Morrow decides to help Evan start his own hockey team so he can have fun and get away from the stressful, win-at-all-costs atmosphere the Ducks promote. While Evan and his neighbor, Nick, set about recruiting players, Alex searches for a rink. After being turned down by many area rinks, Alex stumbles upon the Ice Palace, a rundown rink owned and operated by Gordon Bombay, who has reverted to his old personality of hating hockey and is barely keeping the rink afloat. He initially refuses Alex, wanting to remain distant from hockey, but is convinced when Alex offers him money from a state hockey program in exchange for renting the facilities. Evan and Nick, meanwhile, recruit a team of young misfits, many of whom don't have hockey experience. But despite the odds being stacked against them, the team announces their intent to challenge the rest of the league and Alex, whom Evan asks to be coach, names the squad the Don't Bothers.|
|2||"Dusters"||Michael Spiller||Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa||April 2, 2021|
|The Don't Bothers meet at the Ice Palace for their first practice. Evan is excited to get to work, but he quickly becomes dismayed when Alex's coaching focuses more on sharing feelings and trust exercises. Alex and Evan each consult Bombay for advice, but he is adamant about remaining away from hockey. After Evan confronts her about the issues facing the team, such as an equipment shortage, Alex despondently hides in the bleachers, when she witnesses Bombay warm up on the ice. They walk about Alex's coaching before Bombay tips her off to a cache of unclaimed hockey equipment at the Ducks' skating complex. Despite the new gear and their determination, the Don't Bothers are heavily beaten in their first game. Evan, upset over the loss, resolves to try harder and leads the team in an after-game skate. As she watches on, Alex realizes that her methods aren't working and she'll actually need to learn more about hockey to be a more effective coach.|
|3||"Breakaway"||Jay Karas||Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa||April 9, 2021|
|Evan relentlessly tries to get Sofi to join the Don't Bothers, but she refuses each time. Winnie, the cocoa girl at the Ice Palace, is dumped by her boyfriend and Nick tries to win her heart, but Bombay advises him to be just a friend. The Don't Bothers face the Ducks for the first time and Sofi scores a barrage of goals. However, a play Bombay wrote down in Alex's notebook helps the Don't Bothers score their first goal. Sofi decides to quit the Ducks when Coach T berates the team and points her out singlehandedly for letting Evan score. Alex confronts Bombay about his past and he explains how he went from being a college hockey coach to running the Ice Palace. Sofi tells Evan that she still needs permission from her parents to join the Don't Bothers.|
|4||"Hockey Moms"||James Griffiths||Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa||April 16, 2021|
|Bombay tries to motivate Alex while helping her prepare to take on Stephanie, her boss, in the Slap Shot Challenge, part of the Ducks' annual "Hockey Moms Skill Challenge". An exhausted Sofi has been practicing with both the Ducks and Don't Bothers and forges her mother's signature so she can play for the team. However, it all catches up with her when she shows up at a Ducks practice accidentally wearing her Don't Bothers jersey and is confronted by her parents. During the showdown, Alex wins with a slap shot of 41 mph, only to lose on the technicality that her skate crossed the line during the shot. Sofi is disappointed as the team she would play for was dependent on who would win, but later gets a surprise from her father; a signed permission slip for her to join the Don't Bothers. Elsewhere, Nick, believing he is in the "best friend zone" with Evan, invites him to a sleepover. They also ask Koob and bond with the goalie while trying to retrieve Koob's phone from Nick's mothers.|
|5||"Cherry Picker"||Jay Karas||Matthew Carlson||April 23, 2021|
|Alex and Bombay are growing closer, leading to Bombay inviting Alex to a pro-hockey game. Things are thrown off kilter, though, when Evan's father Rob, makes a surprise visit while touring with his band. Evan is excited while Alex is concerned Rob will disappoint their son. Meanwhile, Lauren and Maya start to connect as friends, but the relationship is threatened when Lauren realizes she doesn't fit in with Maya's clique. Both situations come to a head at the Don't Bothers' next game when Bombay kidnaps Rob, preventing him from catching his flight for a concert gig, thus making sure he attends Evan's game as promised, inspiring Evan to play his heart out, while Nick convinces the girls that their friendship is more important than social cliques. Evan's performance helps the Don't Bothers win their first game, but Trevor, Stephanie's son, and one of Evan's former teammates, informs Evan that Coach T was at the game and wants to meet with him.|
|6||"Spirit of the Ducks"||Steve Brill||Todd Linden||April 30, 2021|
|Bombay bumps into Fulton Reed, one of the original Mighty Ducks, when a piece of flying concrete smashes his car window and he learns about the "Spirit of the Ducks" gala, celebrating the Ducks' 25th anniversary. Meanwhile, Evan is invited back to the Ducks by Coach T and seriously considers rejoining, going so far as attending a practice, but ultimately decides to remain with his friends. Bombay learns that he wasn't invited to the gala because he doesn't represent "the best of the Ducks". He reunites with some of the old Ducks who, upon learning he wasn't invited, gatecrash the party and stand up for their former coach. The next day, the older Ducks join the Don't Bothers for a scrimmage at the Ice Palace, while Bombay accepts the assistant coach position for the Don't Bothers. After the practice, however, a video of Evan practicing with the Ducks is posted online and the Don't Bothers walk out in disgust.|
|7||"Pond Hockey"||Melissa Kosar||Marissa Berlin||May 7, 2021|
|The Don't Bothers are still stung by Evan's betrayal, especially Sofi and Sam. So, Alex calls a players only meeting and forces them into the locker room to hash it out, until the power at the Ice Palace fails. Bombay improvises and takes the team to the same frozen pond he used as a kid to help hone the team's instincts and that helps Evan find a way to earn back his squad's trust by giving up the captaincy. Alex, meanwhile, starts to doubt her abilities as coach after seeing how Bombay is with the team and decides to step aside and let him take over. Bombay, however, admits he deliberately cut the power to the Ice Palace and reminds Alex that it was her who reawakened his love of the game and encourages Alex to take the reins and lead the team. Evan makes amends with Sofi and prevents Sam from quitting. After all the drama, the Don't Bothers come together for another late win.|
|8||"Change on the Fly"||Michael Spiller||Damir Konjicija & Dario Konjicija||May 14, 2021|
|Inspired by Alex's "putting fun first" motto, the Don't Bothers continue to perform better than expected. But after continuous praise from Sofi's parents, the temptation of winning brainwashes Alex and she starts overworking the team, which makes them sour, despite continuing their winning streak. Logan, who still struggles to skate, gets a lesson from Bombay who, after seeing Logan make pancakes before practice, realizes he has potential for stick-handling. Nick, who had just scored his first goal in the previous game, becomes tired about everyone trying to one-up him, but when Logan talks to him, Logan reveals that he is envious of Nick's relationship with his mothers. The Don't Bothers play their final game of the regular season with a place at States on the line. Alex refuses Bombay's suggestion of putting Logan in the game several times. However, Nick tricks her, allowing Logan to take his place and Logan uses "the Michigan" to score the game-winning goal and send the Don't Bothers through. However, an angry Alex berates the team in the locker room for going against her and the squad realizes that she had gotten too focused on winning. Evan determines that his mother needs to be fired.|
|9||"Head Games"||Melissa Kosar||Rita Hsiao||May 21, 2021|
|Evan fires Alex from her coaching position. She accepts it, realizing her mistakes and decides to go to her office to get work done. Evan wants to ask Sofi to the party being held for the players the night before the tournament, but she responds in a confusing manner, leading him to ask podcaster Mary Joe for advice. But she corners him into asking her instead, just to make Nick jealous. Sofi and Nick notice this and Sofi decides to show up with Trevor, and Nick is jealous, since he has a crush on Mary Joe. At work, Alex inadvertently finds out that Stephanie and Clark are getting a divorce and she bonds with her depressed boss, finding similarities in their lives. Meanwhile, Bombay and Coach T have a drink at the bar, but Coach T was just manipulating Bombay to drop the secret that he wasn't eligible in the NCAA to coach due to a mistake Bombay made years ago. This leads to the tournament committee disqualifying Bombay and the Don't Bothers. Alex and Stephanie, having received a call from Evan, show up as Bombay's "attorneys" and expose a mistake on the league's side of the argument and the league decides to let Bombay coach. Evan gets Mary Joe and Nick to hang out and he reconciles after his fight with Sofi, later revealing their feelings to each other.|
|10||"State of Play"||Michael Spiller||Marissa Berlin & Todd Linden||May 28, 2021|
|The Don't Bothers win through to the finals at States to face-off against the Ducks. However, Sofi's leg injury gets the best of her and refuses to sit out the game, as this would make the Don't Bothers forfeit for not having enough players. The rest of the Don't Bothers decide her injury is not worth the trophy and all agree to make her sit out. The Ducks are crowned champions due to the forfeit. On the way out of the rink, the Ducks and Don't Bothers meet each other in the corridor and agree to play a game at the Ice Palace with a bet on the line (if the Ducks win, the Don't Bothers must drop out of the league, and if the Don't Bothers win, then they get the Ducks name). The game at the Ice Palace starts off with the Don't Bothers scoring first. Coach T encourages his team to play dirty since there is only one referee. After the second period, the Ducks are ahead by two. In the Don't Bothers locker room the team comes together once more and Bombay surprises them with the original Ducks uniforms. The Don't Bothers tie the game up and then use the Flying V formation to score the game-winning goal and securing the Ducks name. Later, Bombay resurfaces the ice with a Zamboni and the original Ducks logo at center ice in the Ice Palace.|
By 2018, Steve Brill and Jordan Kerner, who respectively served as writer and producer for the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks, pitched to ABC Signature head Tracy Underwood an idea for a TV series based on the film, which was approved for development.
On January 22, 2018, it was reported that a half-hour The Mighty Ducks TV series was being developed by ABC Signature Studios, with Brill set to write and executive-produce the series. The series was being shopped to several networks and streaming services by the studio. On November 8, 2018, it was reported that the series will be released on Disney's streaming service, Disney+. On November 6, 2019, it was reported that Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, George Heller, and Brad Petrigala will co-executive-produce the series alongside Brill. On February 12, 2020, Goldsmith and Yuspa were revealed to be serving a co-creators and showrunners for the series, while Kerner and James Griffiths were revealed to be co-executive-producing the series, with star Lauren Graham also being credited as co-executive producer. It was also reported that the series will be 10-episodes-long.
In February 2020, Lauren Graham and Brady Noon were cast in the series as the lead roles, with Emilio Estevez returning to reprise his role as Gordon Bombay, in addition to executive producing, as well as directing an episode. Swayam Bhatia, Taegen Burns, Julee Cerda. Bella Higginbotham, Luke Islam, Kiefer O'Reilly, Maxwell Simkins, De'Jon Watts were also cast in undisclosed roles. On March 18, 2021, it was reported that Elden Henson, Matt Doherty, Vincent LaRusso, Marguerite Moreau, Garette Henson, and Justin Wong will be reprising their roles from The Mighty Ducks films for the sixth episode of the series.
Filming for The Mighty Ducks was scheduled to begin on February 18, 2020, and end on June 11, 2020. Filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. James Griffiths served as a director for the series. In August 2020, it was announced that filming could officially begin after Disney TV Studios made a deal with British Columbia unions about testing the cast and crew members for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Filming officially resumed in September 2020 and concluded on December 17, 2020.
In March 2021, ahead of the series premiere, Disney+ and ESPN collaborated on a 30 for 30 promotional featurette in partnership with Cheerios entitled The Legend of the Flying V on the championship game between the original Ducks and the Hawks, shown in the climactic scene of The Mighty Ducks. Among those who provide commentary are Don't Bothers members Sofi, Evan, Nick, Koob, Maya and Lauren along with original Ducks Fulton, Lester, and Connie – all played by their original actors ahead of their return in Game Changers – United States women's hockey forward and Olympic gold medalist Meghan Duggan, retired NHL forward Anson Carter and ESPN hockey analysts and SportsCenter anchors Linda Cohn, John Buccigross and Steve Levy.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 89% based on 37 critic reviews, with an average rating of 6.83/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Game Changers doesn't quite flip the puck, but it has enough heart and good humor to make The Mighty Ducks proud." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100 based on 16 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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- "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
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- Pearson, Ben (November 8, 2018). "Disney's Streaming Service is Called Disney+, Here's How It Will Be Different From Netflix". /Film. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
- Marc, Christopher (November 8, 2020). "EXCLUSIVE: Emilio Estevez To Direct An Episode of 'The Mighty Ducks' Series For Disney+". The Ronin. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
- Plana, Vincent (February 5, 2020). "Disney Plus' The Mighty Ducks TV series to begin filming in BC this month". Daily Hive. Archived from the original on June 24, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
- Marc, Christopher. "EXCLUSIVE: 'The Mighty Ducks' Disney+ Series Adds 'Cuban Fury' Director James Griffiths | HN Entertainment". Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
- Jennings, Collier (August 15, 2020). "Mighty Ducks Disney+ Series Gets the Greenlight to Start Production". CBR. Archived from the original on August 15, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- Andreeva, Nellie (September 2, 2020). "'The Good Doctor', 'A Million Little Things', 'Big Sky' & 'The Mighty Ducks' Among Series That Have Started Production In Vancouver". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
- "DGC BC Production List" (PDF). Directors Guild of Canada. October 23, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
- "30 for 30: The Legend of the Flying V". Disney+/ESPN. March 21, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
- "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers: Season 1 (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
- "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 16, 2021.