Season 3 of Disney’s DuckTales arrives today(!) with two new episodes on Disney XD and DisneyNOW, and we’re here to tell you that they kick off the new season in a fantastic way. The first two seasons so far established the reboot of the beloved animated series and introduced the modern take on Scrooge McDuck and the Duck Family while folding in other elements of the classic Disney Afternoon block. (We’ve got a recap of those two seasons here if you need a refresher.) But Season 3 is really where the new vision of the fan-favorite series takes off.
We recently 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. It’s a spoiler-free and rather short interview that’s worth a listen before diving back into Duckburg. But if you need more of a reason to check out Season 3, be sure to read my equally spoiler-free review below.
Season 3, which features appearances by classic Disney characters Daisy Duck, Goofy and favorites from TaleSpin, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck, finds Scrooge McDuck and the Duck family embarking on a globe-trotting 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. You won’t find too much antagonizing from F.O.W.L. in the early going here, but we do get some surprising cameos from the Disney Afternoon-iverse right out of the gate. I won’t be telling you just who they are here except to say that they’re delightful and you can’t miss ’em. But what Season 3 does right from the start is that it introduces new globe-trotting adventures in a way that makes sense within the franchise and sets the tone for the future.
In “Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks!”, Huey competes against Violet in a race for a promotion within the ranks while Scrooge and the rest of the family search for a secret Junior Woodchuck treasure. This start of the new season is much calmer and quieter than the closing chapters of Season 2, which featured a battle against invading moon-dwelling aliens; it’s hard to top that, really. But this ep offers a nice return to character focus as we get to see the nuances of Scrooge and the Duck Family, as well as the dynamic relationships between them. DuckTales has been all about the family unit, extending to friendship circles in all kinds of ways, and “Challenge” goes back to that core conceit. However, it also finds a way to give the characters a blank page of sorts from which to embark on all new adventures; it’s a perfect setup for the rest of Season 3 to come.
The second part of the Season 3 premiere is “Quack Pack!”, a title that should be very familiar to 90s Disney Afternoon kids out there. (Seek out this ’96 animated series if you’re not familiar with it; it’ll give you a sense of what the wild and crazy 90s were all about in the cartoon universe.) Without giving too much away, it suffices to say that something is amiss in this episode and viewers will probably pick up on that fact slightly faster than the characters do. It’s a blast to watch the story unfold and is absolutely packed with Easter eggs from Disney classics, the 90s Disney Afternoon block, and more specific DuckTales lore. So while some parts of this episode aren’t quite as insane as the Quack Pack premiere (which saw the triplets turning into comic book superheroes with ridiculous powers and body proportions), there are some parts that get even crazier, if you can believe it. This episode also features the arrival of a Disney fan-favorite and a blast from the past of 90s TGIF television; don’t miss it!
Season 3 of DuckTales is off to a rocking start with this two-for-one premiere, but there’s a ton more content to come. We’ll see the introduction of more Disney Afternoon characters–that alone is worth the watch for yours truly–as well as more adventures with the core characters and their allies. On the villainous side of things, more members of F.O.W.L. will be revealed and introduced over the course of the season as it builds to something we honestly can’t quite predict. The last two seasons ended with a magical shadow war and a moon invasion; what could possibly be next? Youngberg and Angones have promised that the trajectory of Season 3 is not to be missed and will be something viewers don’t expect. Taking all of this into account, I can’t imagine any better reasons to tune in and get on board with Disney’s DuckTales.
Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent