Surprise! 'Darkwing Duck' exists in an alternate universe from 'DuckTales'
Ok, ok, ok. I think you should sit down. I have some news to break and it's not going to be easy. Darkwing Duck, celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, does not take place in the same universe as DuckTales.
Our nostalgia is constantly being pandered to these days, with varying results. When it comes to Disney's animated ducks we've recently had the DuckTales video game revamp, a new animated series is on the way at Disney XD, and Darkwing Duck comic books (published by Joe Books), but a new reveal about that "universe" just blew my mind.
The Hollywood Reporter did a nice interview with Tad Stones, creator of the animated Darkwing Duck series from the early '90s. Many have often assumed, with good reason, that show was a spinoff from DuckTales. It featured Launchpad and Gizmoduck, for instance. But Stones told THR not only is Darkwing Duck not a spinoff, it takes place in a different universe all together!
He goes on to state that though Launchpad first appeared in DuckTales, the Darkwing version was different. For starters, Launchpad always seemed to crash his plane in DuckTales but was competent in Darkwing Duck.
"Because Launchpad appeared in DuckTales and we used Roboduck as the Superman character, the hero who gets all the glory as opposed to Darkwing, fans try to connect the two realities. They are two different universes in my book. We work in the alternate Duckiverse," says Stones.
Huh. Now that he mentions the Launchpad thing it makes a lot of sense. But I'm still reeling. After myself and a few other nerdy journalists started discussing this on Twitter, Stones gave a bit more detail:
I've always said it's not a spinoff in typical TV terms. An alternate universe is the only way to explain Launchpad. https://t.co/CqYAQog6R8— Tad Stones (@TadStones) September 10, 2016
Ok, now I'm picturing a Watchmen-like DuckTales universe and scaring myself.
But this all makes perfect sense to Stones, who went into a bit of that comic book thinking in the THR interview as well, saying Silver Age comics were an inspiration and the reason he's fine with steering clear of continuity:
At the time, some of the best superhero cartoons of the era were obsessed with continuity. Fox's excellent X-Men animated series had episodes-long sagas that were hard to understand if you were unfamiliar with what came before. And today, in a world with the hive mind of the Internet dedicated to fan theories about shows like Game of Thrones, it's an understatement to say continuity is king in television. But Darkwing purposely ignored continuity, with the character having multiple origin stories within his own series.
"It drives fans crazy, but I was not a huge fan of continuity," says Stones. "I grew up with Silver Age continuity with the comics. Yeah, I know Lois Lane doesn't know Clark Kent is Superman. She suspects something. Jimmy Olsen's his pal. He went to high school with Lana Lang. The basics everybody knew. But there was really no arc or change. Every time you picked up a comic, you knew where you were starting."
You'd think in the current landscape of DC's TV and film universes being separate and my own personal experience with changing comic book continuities this would be easier to accept but it's not. This is so going to keep me awake tonight.
What do you think of the revelation, or had you already assumed Darkwing was from an alternate universe?
Make sure to check out the whole interview at The Hollywood Reporter for more fun stuff.