As someone who grew up in the ’90s, the Mighty Ducks films were a really big deal for me. I lived in Florida, so playing ice hockey wasn’t really a viable option for me, but watching those movies allowed me to vicariously skate alongside Charlie, Adam Banks, Goldberg, Averman, Guy, Connie, and the rest of the gang. I spent my days imagining being the leader of my own Flying V formation, gathering my own crew with a duck call, and I actually went as far as to get a hockey stick so I could practice my triple deke technique on the street outside my house. I was hooked – I even had the novelization of D2: The Mighty Ducks.
I wasn’t thrilled with the third movie – I haven’t seen it since it came out, so I don’t know if it legitimately wasn’t good or if I had just aged out of my Ducks phase by that point – but in a recent Time Magazine profile that compiled an oral history of the trilogy, I was surprised to read that plans were revealed for a fourth movie that never happened. And from the sound of it, this movie would have been a huge departure for the franchise. According to producer Jordan Kerner:
I wanted to license this dark adult play, That Championship Season. It was going to be the death of Gordon Bombay as an older man, and Marty [Martin Sheen] was going to play him. And Goldberg would be played by like Jim Belushi. You know, we were literally going to pair up everybody with a present-day actor, but it was going to be not unlike Chariots of Fire, the sort of look back at a moment in time when their coach came back to them and did something that changed their lives forever. So you cut from the present of the kids and they would have been all of 18 or 19, so they would have become the high school seniors. And we probably would have played the third movie that I wanted to make, which would have been that return to the Goodwill Games and losing to Iceland.
But it would be set against this thing going on in a bar or restaurant where all the present-day guys grown up talking about what this coach meant to them. And we’d see that played out against them as 18-year-olds on the ice and Emilio [Estevez] playing in that and his father playing in a series of scenes where he was dying and they had to say their goodbyes. So I was looking for a really literate and emotional way for all of them to come back together again as men and to say goodbye to the man who meant so much to them. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Whoa. The death of Gordon Bombay? Pairing actors with older counterparts? What an ambitious concept. At least this movie would have been memorable, as opposed to D3, which – as indicated above – didn’t have nearly the impact that the first two movies did. And seeing Emilio Estevez’s real life dad, Martin Sheen, playing an older version of Bombay? Man, that would have been cool.
What do you think, Ducks fans? Do you wish they had made this fourth film in the franchise? If you need me, I’ll be spending the rest of the day remembering the knucklepuck, the Bash Brothers, and Julie “The Cat” Gaffney.
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