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DuckTales showrunners Frank Angones and Matt Youngberg may have approached this season like it was their last, but as it was revealed in tonight's series finale, the 2017 Disney XD reboot had a few more cards up its sleeve — and not even the smartest of the smarties might have seen it coming.
**SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the DuckTales series finale.**
As the episode eventually revealed, not only was Bradford Buzzard after the Papyrus of Binding so he could prevent any and all future adventures of the Clan McDuck, but Scrooge himself might have a little more family than he'd previously thought: Webby is his biological daughter. And what's more, she has sisters of her own, thanks to some Fiendish Organization for World Larceny (F.O.W.L.) cloning, with May and June and her forming their own little trio, not unlike Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
And of course, as Scrooge has been learning all along, sometimes you can't save the day all by yourself. Which is why it's a good thing the entire family (Launchpad, Mrs. Beakley, and all their friends and allies included) takes part in the Huey-planned mission to take down F.O.W.L., allowing them to band together to take down Bradford, and ensure that they can keep going on family adventures together. But for the time being, it appears that Donald and his lady love Daisy will be doing some adventuring of their own, taking May and June along with them, and giving long-lost sister Della some quality time with her three sons.
With so much happening in this final 90 minutes, SYFYWIRE caught up with Angones and Youngberg to discuss some of the episode's biggest twists, and what they thought the legacy of the show is.
How far back did you know that this was going to be Webby's backstory?
Youngberg: This was always our endgame with Webby. You can see little hints of it planted in the very first episode. There's an equation on Webby's murder board that says 22 plus  equals 87. Twenty-two is Bentina Beakley, and then it's the Roman numeral for MCD. So Scrooge McDuck equals Project 87, which is what Webby was. There's also this shot in the pilot where Webby says, "I'm going to eat a hamburger," and she's standing in front of a Scrooge statue, striking the exact same pose. And down to the design of her hair tufts, when you realize her hair slips down in that position, you see they're swooped out and they exactly match Scrooge's hair tufts.
Angones: Down to the design of Webby we knew this was the deal. Not everybody in the crew knew that, but we wanted to try to track that through. And it was a big story. We always said that each of the kids represents a different part of Scrooge's ethos. Huey is smarter than the smarties, Dewey is tougher than toughies, Louie's sharper than the sharpies, and Webby's going to earn her way into this family square. So by the end of the finale, when she finds out her unique parentage, in every sense of the word, it doesn't matter because she was already part of the family. And she straight up says, "This is a lot to process, but family is not the people who made you. Family is the people who fight for you, stick by your side, and build a villain secret stronghold for you."
I really like that notion of 'family are the people who sacrifice everything to love you.' And I think that's true of every character on our show. It's that theme of "Found Family" we've touched upon in so many different ways, with Lena, with the Darkwing family, with Della coming back and being this estranged parent trying to find her place in the family. So it had been there all along and it was really funny to start Scrooge in a place where he was all by himself and didn't want to have anything to do with family and then ending him with, "I have a daughter." That felt ... nice, it felt like a nice through-line for Webby, but also a really nice through-line for Scrooge.
Yeah, and it really tied into the second-to-last episode where Scrooge is dealing with his own legacy and all those villains and how they created each other. This is just another part of his own legacy now. He has a kid.
Angones: Yeah. The thing is we wanted to set everybody up for the future. Matt and I have been saying, that we saw our series as a run on a comic book. This is "Matt and Frank's run" on DuckTales, and these are the stories that we're telling, this is what it's about. We knew that in order to get Scrooge to the place where he was ready to be an actual family man, instead of just this crazy billionaire great uncle, he had to atone for all this stuff he did when he was a crummy dude, a scummy, opportunistic billionaire, which you saw in early Carl Barks comics. And that was really interesting, I really liked the climax of that story and where that brings Scrooge. If there's one thing I can say about the series, it's that I like how you can look at the pilot and you can look at the finale and see how everyone's grown.
Youngberg: And something that we've talked about a lot as well is that thematically, the first season is about the past. It's about where these characters came from. The second season was about the present. It's about how this family is coming together, represented by Della coming home and finding her place in the family, and how they deal with it in the present. And the third season is about legacy. What is the future of this family? And saying at the end, that Webby is the future of this family. [That] Webby is the heir to Scrooge McDuck, officially, this is setting in motion Scrooge's legacy into the future. That was a little bit of what we talked about as well.
Angones: The very first word of the season is Launchpad saying "legacy." We knew that's what we were going to do. We knew we were getting to this... You introduce the papyrus that can only be found by the rightful heir of Scrooge McDuck, and everyone thinks: "Oh, well, that's Huey, Dewey, and Louie, or that's Donald, or that's Della." No. It's Webby. That family can be surprising and unsuspected and that Scrooge can embrace that... Because it was all about legacy. The legacy of the McDuck family, the legacy of our series, the legacy of the original DuckTales in the place of the Disney afternoon, the legacy of the Disney afternoon [itself]. That became the larger guiding force. We thought a lot about that.
In terms of everyone's endings, did you always know how people would end up? Like, "Oh, Donald's going to go off with Daisy and travel for a little while." Or did anything change as the seasons went on and you got to the finale?
Youngberg: There were certain things we definitely knew we wanted to do. The Webby of it all and stuff was very much planted and determined. The Launchpad story was also pretty determined. But there were also things that evolved naturally, like the Manny situation. That was something that, evolved itself.
Angones: It felt so nice because of who May and June are traditionally, to pair them up with Daisy again. Now Donald is going to take this other family on adventures and these kids are going to start their own different adventure series.
Youngberg: Especially with Donald who at the beginning of the series didn't want to go on adventures ever, and by the end, he's not just going on adventures for his family, he's actually anticipating a new adventure... So even he has some growth to him.
Do you feel like, was there anything you wish you could have fit in but you weren't able to? Either in the finale or the show in general.
Angones: There's a lot in the show. If we could have had unlimited amounts of time...yeah, of course. There are always stories that you wished you could tell or could tell going forward. There's a lot of fun to be had now, for whoever wants to pick up the newfound Scrooge and Webby dynamic, something that's really fun and interesting. Would we like to have had more time with the Rescue Rangers or Darkwing or TailSpin characters? Yeah, of course, because we loved our versions of them and it's funny because we said our goal was we wanted to set these characters up for future adventures. We didn't want to put them to bed. And then we set them up for future adventures. There could have been so many future adventures. You can see a version of a Justice Ducks team with just Lena and you can do young Justice Ducks with Lena and B.O.Y.D and Manny, of course.
Youngberg: There are little things here and there. With our amazing writing team, we had like 55 more ideas up on a board of episodes we could have done. The show was a vehicle for adventure. There were so many things we could have done, but ultimately I feel very satisfied with the story that we did tell, and that we didn't leave anything on the table with it. We paid off what we needed and it feels very good to me. There's nothing we didn't do that I feel like I wish we had done, but given that, I think we have more that we could do.
And I have to ask, have there been talks about possibly a Season 4?
Youngberg: No, no talks that I'm aware of, but I'm not privy to every discussion out there. But, currently, our feeling is we are leaving it where it ends in a very satisfying and natural way. The fans will be happy with it if they look at it as a totality of the series. Every episode is worthy of being a DuckTales episode. They're all super good, super entertaining, and all leading to this amazing finale. The only sadness of not having four seasons is that we just don't get to follow this family anymore.
Angones: And that we don't get to work with this crew and cast altogether. I mean, we'll all work together in the future again, but, I started off loving DuckTales because I loved DuckTales. I continued loving DuckTales because of the people I got to work with making it. Everybody was so passionate and put every part of their creative energies [into it]. Hopefully, it feels like if you were on DuckTales, you feel a degree of ownership to DuckTales. That it was more than just a job.
And just to circle back real quick, throughout the season we've seen other Disney Afternoon characters pop up, like Goofy and the Rescue Rangers. Was it always the plan to try and get them on DuckTales?
Angones: We started dipping our toes in and saying, "Can we pull in some Darkwing stuff? Can we pull in Don Karnage? Can we pull in Gummiberry Juice?" All of this kind of stuff. If you view the entire series as our love letter to DuckTales and it's place in the Disney Afternoon line-up, then the original DuckTales was the tip of the spear for everything that came after it. Because the original DuckTales was such a huge success... You had all of these shows that balance comedy, action-adventure, and heart, and light serialization. And so in some ways we always said Scrooge McDuck is the reason that Disney Afternoon existed.
So it felt right to make that thematically true in our show, and to tie-in all of these people showing up to Scrooge and his family, going out adventuring and starting more and more adventures, and to have a villain who wants to put an end to it. It felt right to connect them all in big ways and small ways to have them present just as a thematic touchstone. Bradford has that giant monologue at the end of the finale where he explains, "You are the problem." That's why he wants to get rid of adventure. He doesn't get the weird, wacky, fun, silly stuff. He says, "Kids should be in school halls and shopping malls, not gallivanting around the globe." So that became the bigger reason why we brought all those characters in thematically, because we knew we were building to that idea in the finale.
What are you proudest of accomplishing with the series?
Youngberg: There's a lot of things. But, I think Frank and I agree on this, that bringing Della into the series is probably one of our biggest proudest things. We're proud of who Della is as a character, and we're proud that we could bring her in such a way that leaves a mark. We're hoping that, from here, people will be able to always remember that Della Duck is the mother of the nephews. I would love, someday, to see her in other animation, other cartoons, other comics, all these things. I'd love to see her grow as a character beyond our series. That would be just super fantastic.
Angones: Tied to that, just the general idea of everyone knew what DuckTales was, or you knew how you felt when you watched DuckTales. We always said that, "You've got to make a show that feels like DuckTales." But to kind of tie it to this larger theme of family and found family, to really foreground that as a major theme in the show, so that when people think about DuckTales, hopefully, what they'll think about, at least for a little while, is that family is the greatest adventure of all. And what that means and how we explored that in every possible way. Because it is. You look at this incredibly unconventional family structure that we were handed from the previous DuckTales. It's three nephews and their great uncle and the housekeeper and the pilot and the housekeeper's daughter, and just to say, that doesn't matter because they're a family.
And to bring in all these other characters as part of Scrooge's family. It's why he has that big moment at the end [of the finale]. He started off the series by himself. [But then] he's like, "You didn't lose to me. You lost to my family. All of them." So to push that idea of...that a family can be something unconventional because it is. Because they all are. Hopefully, that is the thing, if people think of DuckTales from now on, they'll think about family.
DuckTales Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available to stream on Disney+.