DuckTales (2017) is now over, after three wild seasons on Disney XD. But the adventure will never end.
The DuckTales series finale, “The Last Adventure,” aired Monday (over and over and over), setting up Clan McDuck’s final confrontation with the villainous (and businesslike) F.O.W.L. And just about every dangling thread and possible “will they go there?” plotline was tied up, more or less. Seriously, it’s difficult to think of an episode from this version of the show, or indeed the original 1987 Disney Afternoon universe, that didn’t get some kind of payoff or at least lip service.
At less than 90 minutes — about triple the usual episode length — that’s still an impressive feat, considering it didn’t feel any more rushed than the show’s usual frenetic pace, and it did it without any more fan service or old “family is the greatest adventure” chestnuts than we’ve come to expect.
In (re-)introducing “triplets” April, May and June — originally conceived by Disney comics legend Carl Barks as Daisy Duck’s nieces, but here it’s a lot more complicated — the DuckTales finale took us out with a doozy of a Duck Dynasty plot twist that challenges, subverts and, ultimately, reinforces its found-family themes. And it does it in a way that curiously conjures one of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s most controversial choices, and perhaps succeeds beyond that film’s wildest dreams.
One of this cartoon incarnation’s greatest contributions to the expansive Duckburg canon has to be Della Duck — adventurer, pilot, disabled amputee and mother, whose struggles to parent her boys upon re-entering their lives after years stranded on the moon is strangely all too relatable, and powerfully portrayed by Paget Brewster. We got precious little of young Della’s adventures with Scrooge and Donald (a “Dello and Donna” spinoff of their early years with their rich uncle would sell itself), making her brother’s plan to go sailing the world with Daisy in the finale all the more poignant.
It’s sad all around that DuckTales had to leave us again so soon. Without any evidence, I lay the blame squarely on the expensive star power of Scrooge voice performer David Tennant — as talented as he is, Scottish brogues are a Number One Dime a dozen, and while many wouldn’t have noticed a re-casting, it probably just wouldn’t be the same …
If this adventure had to end, it’s best that it do so on a high, and in that way the grand DuckTales finale definitely delivers. The adventure doesn’t really end, but — unlike the original cartoon — this time, there’s a feeling of closure. Woo-oo!