You’d be hard pressed to find an outlet more excited for a new DuckTales reboot than Laser Time! And even harder pressed to find someone more qualified to scour every second of the new show’s premiere to pick every nit and easter every egg available than me, your old pal, Matthew Jay. Read on to learn about the most obscure and absurd references, nods, and secrets hidden in the first two episodes of DuckTales 2017!
Christmas On Bear Mountain
Parts of the episode are obviously inspired by Uncle Scrooge’s first appearance in 1947’s Christmas On Bear Mountain by Carl Barks. However, there are a few differences. In the original story, it’s Scrooge who invites his nephews to the mansion, and he hadn’t seen Donald since he was a child.
Also, y’know, it’s on Christmas.
Comic book style
Scrooge starts the series in his original comic duds, with a red frock coat, rather than a blue one like we’re used to seeing him in from the original DuckTales.
Donald also switches from his more traditional animated colors to the Barksian black outfit that he’s always traditionally worn in comics.
The environments are also very comic book-y with their varied line weights, heavy use of the color black, and shading mimicking the zip-a-tone process.
But most fun for the deepest of Duck nerds are the paintings around McDuck Manor. Nearly all of them are references to actual paintings done by Scrooge’s creator Carl Barks. Some of them, like the painting of Scrooge dragging a big sack of gold through town, are from actual comic book stories!
Disney Afternoon refs
In addition to Duckberg we get a mention of Cape Suzette, the city from TaleSpin, while Dewey is hot-wiring Donald’s boathouse, and Scrooge’s vulture lawyer voiced by Marc Evan Jackson mentions Goof Troop’s Spoonerville and Darkwing Duck’s St. Canard.
We’ve also learned from concept art that Darkwing will appear on the show in some form and his hometown is located across the bay from Duckberg — kinda like the San Francisco bay that separates SF, Oakland, and San Jose. The evil organization from Darkwing Duck, F.O.W.L., is also referenced on Webby’s corkboard.
Some have assumed this woman seen in the Glomgold industries waiting room and later as a reporter on the dock is Roxanne from A Goofy Movie, but I think it’s just a dog lady. Though, according to one of the writers, there was a Powerline reference that was cut but we could see it later.
The Clan McDuck and other comic book and original series references
While trying to convince Mrs. Beakley that he still has adventuring chops, Scrooge says his classic catchphrase as we see here from the original comics.
Scrooge comes from a rich lineage of great Scottish ducks known as the Clan McDuck. There are plenty of references to his family tree in the episode including this painting of his parents.
And several images and names of family members appear on Webby’s corkboard as well as Dismal Downs, where they lived. Scrooge also exclaims, “What in Dismal Downs is going on in here!?” when he finds the kids fighting a headless horse and a pirate ghost.
I don’t know who Dirty Dingus is, so maybe this is a reference to the 1970 western starring Frank Sinatra? Probably not.
The Terry Fermians are also mentioned, a race of feetless beings seen in the original show and the DuckTales Remastered video game. We also see Webby’s doll from the original DuckTales pinned to the wall by an arrow.
These are the two most cryptic notes on the corkboard.
Uncle Scrooge #11, written and drawn by Carl Barks and published in 1955, was indeed ten cents. In this issue Uncle Scrooge participates in a steamboat race to settle an old family squabble and in another story sets out to prove to Donald and the nephews that he can find riches anywhere. No idea what this has to do with the new show yet.
And 1987 is the year the original show premiered, but I can’t tell what the other numbers are in reference to yet.
In the Wing Of Secrets (AKA the garage) we see the lamp from the movie DuckTales: Treasure Of The Lost Lamp, Bubba (or just another caveman), Armstrong the robot built by Gyro Gearloose, a giant sun coin from the original show’s premiere, and the Gong of Piscou — which is named after a French magazine that published many of Uncle Scrooge’s comic book adventures.
One of the statues in the garage looks to me like it could be a nod to the diminutive natives of Plain Awful from the comics, but it could just be some ancient dude statue. Though we do get a mention of Plain Awful on Webby’s corkboard as well as another possible nod to TaleSpin.
This incarnation of Flintheart Glomgold draws heavily from the original show rather than taking from his comic book origins. It’s funny that they continue to lean into his over-the-top Scottish patriotism, when in the comics he wasn’t Scottish at all! The original Glomgold was South African.
The entire second episode could be adapted from Carl Barks’ story The Secret Of Atlantis, which also features green-skinned merpeople, like we see the group fight on their expedition.
The most obvious reference has to be the reporter’s wrap up at the end of the second episode. She quotes the original show’s theme song and says the McDuck family are “solving mysteries and rewriting history.”
Other Disney properties and anime
Captain Peghook was the name of a boss fought by Mickey and Minnie in Disney’s Magical Quest 3 on Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance, but this is probably just a coincidence.
Giant squids are a common obstacle in adventure stories, but this one could be an allusion to the enormous cephalopod from the 1954 Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
On the road while Launchpad drives Scrooge home, we see a Duckberg version of Jigen from the intro to the Lupin III film Castle of Cagliostro, the first movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki, which is distributed on blu ray in the US by Disney.
And that last one lends a lot of credence to this not being an accident.
And while we’re at it, let’s throw in one cool Scrooge ref from a totally different property.
There you have it! EVERY easter egg from the DuckTales 2017 premiere. Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post! Or just let us know what you thought of the premiere. If you’re a Laser Time patron you can watch it along with Chris and me commentating with no downloading required!
And if you liked my long winded, heavily researched rant about cartoons, check out my show Cartoons 101 which can be found right here on the Laser Time site or on Youtube. And I have my own Patreon! Every little bit helps, even a buck. Give it a look and if you can find it in your heart to donate I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate that. If the donation reward tiers don’t tickle your fancy, let me know what would and I might even consider adding it. The same goes for Cartoons 101 topics, if there’s anything animation or cartoon related you’d like to see covered on the show leave a comment here or on the channel. And don’t forget to subscribe! You can also follow me on twitter @MrMattJay or @Disney80s90s.