The Mighty Ducks put Emilio Estevez on ice again for Disney+

 Emilio Estevez’s acting career has sort of been on ice for awhile as he has enjoyed directing and producing movies and TV for more than two decades. But now he’s in front of the cameras again, and back on the ice in the new Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

 Estevez has returned to his role as Gordon Bombay, the youth hockey coach he played in Disney Studio’s mega-successful Mighty Ducks film trilogy in the ’90s. He’s also producing the new 10-episode Disney+ series which premiered March 26th.

 Best known for his Bombay role, as well as his Brat Pack movies of the 1980s (The Breakfast Club, The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Young Guns), Estevez talked to the Television Critics Association (TCA) about his life and career. The 58-year-old actor- director- writer- producer said, “I’ve spent the last 25 years pretty much behind the camera directing films. And to a lot of people, it had seemed like I had sort of dropped off the radar, that I wasn’t interested in acting anymore. The fact of the matter is that I kind of made a left turn. I exited mainstream motion pictures with The Mighty Ducks, Part 3. I got into making independent films. Films that had more of a social message. So that’s where I’ve been, really, for the last 25 years, making very personal movies like Bobby or The Way or, recently, The Public.”

 Estevez is comfortable to return to the Mighty Ducks franchise because he believes there’s a message about the win-at-all-costs culture of youth sports today. The Game Changers series is set in present day Minnesota, and the original Mighty Ducks Bombay coached have evolved from scrappy underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. The story unfolds after 12-year-old Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) is cut from the Ducks, so he and his mom, Alex (Lauren Graham, also a coexecutive producer), set out to build their own team of misfits to challenge the cutthroat Ducks. With the help of Bombay, the kids rediscover the love of the game.

Estevez said, “It’s interesting to come back now using The Mighty Ducks as a reentry vehicle, and it’s really for two reasons. The first is (creator-producer) Steve Brill. Steve and I talked about this a couple years ago and he said, ‘Would you be interested in this?’ I said, ‘Well, sure, if we can capture the magic of the first films, the magic of the franchise. If we can create a cinematic experience and not just try to sort of cash in on the nostalgia aspect of it.’ And I think that’s ultimately what we’ve done.”  

 Estevez explained that he’s gotten feedback from folks around the country telling him what they’d like to see. “I have a home in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in talking to people in the central corridor of the country, a lot of people say, ‘We love you on screen, where have you been? We’d love to see you in two roles: One is Gordon Bombay in The Mighty Ducks and the other is Billy the Kid in Young Guns.’ So now we’ve ticked one of those boxes.”

 Is his Bombay character different this time around? Maybe. Estevez said, “They’ve set him up as being a truth teller in terms of how he relates not only to the parents but also the kids– that it is unlikely that you’re going to be a professional hockey player. The chances are a million to one. You have a better shot of winning the lottery. So he’s tasked with giving that harsh reality to them. And we know that’s a fact– how often do these kids actually go on and play professional sports? So he helps them sort of understand the reality of that.”

It’s a lesson for the overachievers playing sports, and the kids who want to get out there and have fun.

Tune in “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” on Disney +

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.