Why The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Was Missing A Few Key Players

Of the many, many, MANY reboots and revivals hitting streaming services, "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers" is a standout. The return of Emilio Estevez as Coach Gordon Bombay in the original "Mighty Ducks" trilogy, alongside original screenwriter Steven Brill, helped the series keep the same spirit as the original films. Plus, there's the ingenious twist of making the peewee Ducks organization the villains of the story, having grown into a hyper-competitive, elitist sports team, allowing Lauren Graham to step up as coach of a new team of underdogs called the Don't Bothers, with a little help from Coach Bombay.

In the spirit of other revivals, "Game Changers" features returning members of the original film trilogy, especially the Brill-directed episode "Spirit of the Ducks." However, some of the series' most popular characters were absent from the first season: Joshua Jackson's team captain Charlie Conway and Kenan Thompson's Russ Tyler. So where were they?

Busy bees or should I say, ducks

The biggest hold-up with having a full-on "Mighty Ducks" reunion with a lot more cast members was the coronavirus pandemic. But in the case of Jackson and Thompson, their busy schedules hindered a possible appearance on the show. Jackson was busy with key roles "Little Fires Everywhere" and Peacock's "Dr. Death", while Thompson has been a key part of "Saturday Night Live" and even headlines his own self-titled sticom on NBC. Brill even confirmed that Jackson's schedule meant he couldn't appear in "Spirit of the Ducks" while talking to Entertainment Weekly:

We don't know where Charlie is, unfortunately...he's going to come back somewhere but him and Gordon aren't necessarily talking right now, they're in a down period. [Jackson] was too busy, just working, and the pandemic hit so it wasn't really possible with his schedule. But I hope Josh makes a reappearance in the future, for sure."

Thompson had a similar predicament, expanding on the matter in an interview with PopCulture.com.

"I was supposed to try to get one in that first season, but scheduling didn't work out...I mean, I'm happy for my buddy, Steve Brill, who started this whole process with the Mighty Ducks, and I think that movie has raised several generations of current hockey players so it's a really cool thing to be a part of, and yeah, hopefully I can get my cameo thing going schedule-wise for this next one coming up or the next one coming up. I hope it stays on for a long time."

Changing of the guard

With a second season of "Game Changers" on the way, there are plenty of chances for both Jackson and Thompson to return. In fact, Brill told /Film during an interview for "Spirit of the Ducks" that he hoped to explore the fractured relationship between Charlie and Bombay.

"Many of these people still live in Minneapolis or St. Paul, and they should be part of the fabric of the show. As we go forward, they should be able to be there. One person works for the city, and one person is a substitute teacher, another drives a limo. There's all sorts of characters I'd love to keep on tap and also re-introduce."

Furthermore, Brill also said Thompson wants to make an appearance on the series at some point. It's just a matter of when. But the future of "Game Changers" has a whole new problem to deal with that might make their return a little less satisfying.

Unfortunately, Emilio Estevez has opted not to return for the second season. That means, if Jackson returns, that tension will never be explored. However, Josh Duhamel is stepping into the former Ducks alum's shoes as the new coach, so perhaps there's story material there. Maybe Charlie returns and takes umbrage to a new coach? We'll just have to wait and see.