Mighty Ducks Season 2 Won’t Include Emilio Estevez

The Don’t Bothers have lost their assistant coach. Deadline reports that actor Emilio Estevez is not returning to the Mighty Ducks: Game Changes series on Disney Plus, where he played the iconic underdog hockey coach Gordon Bombay.

ABC and Estevez reportedly came to an impasse regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all production members. After weeks of fruitless negotiation, ABC decided not to renew Estevez for season two of the Mighty Ducks: Game Changers series. Sources close to Estevez indicated that creative differences may have also played a role in the actor’s exit from the show.

Estevez and his reps reportedly declined to provide assurances to ABC that the actor would comply with the production’s vaccination requirements. Disney TV Studios is requiring many of its various series production crews to be vaccinated, including actors and anyone who comes into contact with production members. The vaccination requirement was included in the most recent return-to-work agreement made between studios and unions.

ABC will adjust season two’s script to work around Estevez’s absence, Deadline says. Estevez reprised his role as coach Gordon Bombay in the pseudo-sequel to the Mighty Ducks film trilogy. The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers saw the titular youth hockey team rise to all-star status, becoming the very win-at-all-costs machine they had previously competed against. Bombay, now the owner of a rundown ice rink, is reinspired to coach when he meets Lauren Graham’s Alex Morrow and her team of young misfits, the Don’t Bothers. The finale of season 1 indicated that Estevez and Graham’s characters could become romantically entangled, but Estevez’s absence likely rules out that possibility out now.

Estevez previously starred as coach Bombay in all three Mighty Ducks films from 1992 to 1996. The films themselves were critically panned to varying degrees, but nevertheless developed a loyal fan following for its feel-good story and characters.

Production on season two is scheduled to start in early 2022. Meanwhile, vaccination requirements are becoming more common in Hollywood productions. Netflix implemented a vaccination requirement for all of its U.S. shows in July, with a few exceptions for medical, age, or religious reasons.

Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/jab enthusiast for IGN.

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