The late 80s and early 90s were considered a golden age of animation and one of the animations that came out to start that trend was Ducktales in 1987:
It was one of the big animated shows that not only led to Disney’s renaissance in the 90s but it proved that you can make a smartly written well animated children’s cartoon that wasn’t just there to sell toys, the show was so successful, it not only spawned a movie but it spawned a spinoff series in 1991 after Ducktales ended, that show was Darkwing Duck:
And like Ducktales, it was just as successful and ran for a good couple of years in the early 90s. And seeing as how Launchpad McQuack, the pilot from Ducktales, was also a major character in Darkwing Duck, many naturally assumed that this was in fact a spinoff of Ducktales, right?
Well, in 2016, Tad Stones, the man who created Darkwing Duck made this statement that despite the fact that both shows could easily be set in the same universe, they actually aren’t.
“Because Launchpad appeared in DuckTales and we used [Gizmoduck] 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.”
Well….okay……what the heck, man? I mean for the longest time, the overall assumption was that both shows did exist in the same universe and now after 25 years, it’s like “nope, two different worlds?”
So, let’s try to figure this out, do Ducktales and Darkwing Duck exist in the same universe or not?
First, let’s look at what Nerdist News put out the day after this was announced:
For starters, we have to call out Stones for getting Gizmoduck’s name wrong. Yes, he was originally called Roboduck when he was developed for Ducktales, but “Blathering Blatherskite!” If anyone should remember Gizmoduck’s correct name, it should be Stones! More importantly, when Launchpad McQuack introduced Darkwing Duck to Gizmoduck, he openly mentioned their shared history in Duckburg. For all of you non-Disney fans, Duckburg is home to Uncle Scrooge McDuck and Disney’s most famous Ducks: Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. And who do we see on a “Welcome to Duckburg” billboard in an episode of Darkwing Duck? Why, none other than Scrooge himself!
Finally, we’ve got a much older document from Stones himself that should put to rest the idea that Darkwing Duck isn’t a direct spinoff of Ducktales. Try retconning that!
Now as Kyle Hill also showed, there was an episode where Darkwing Duck goes to a villains retreat and half the villains there are villains from the Ducktales cartoon. So, that alone should tell you that these two worlds are connected in some way.
Also, Darkwing Duck and the characters from the series all crossed over with other Disney animated shows too. Quackerjack and Darkwing had cameos on Goof Troop, Launchpad and Gosslyn guest starred on Raw Toonage, Darkwing makes at least four different cameos on Bonkers alone, he even had a brief scene on the Aladdin series too. So, not only does Darkwing Duck connect to Ducktales but they connect to a majority of the other shows in the Disney animation universe.
The biggest problem at hand here is that the creator, Tad Stones, clearly has not watched his own show recently because the evidence is clearly right there in front of the viewers to say “hey, this actually does exist in the same universe as Ducktales” but not only that, why would they go to all that trouble to make Ducktales and Darkwing Duck two separate universes to confuse the fans more? That’d be like saying that the animated series versions of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Timon & Pumbaa all exist in an alternate universe to the movie versions of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Lion King, do you really want to make your setup that confusing?
I think that Stones probably made that comment because of the way franchises have changed their continuities since Darkwing Duck premiered. The time when Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series existed in the same universe and that was the only outlet on TV to see those universes, that’s in the past. Nowadays, there are a number of different franchises with their various universes going on, I mean how many different DC animated films and shows exist in their own universes rather than what’s happening in the movies, same thing at Marvel, same thing with a number of different franchises.
Also, I think he made those comments because he thought that the ideas of cinematic universes were going to be the next big thing so why not jump in and buck the trend and say that these aren’t in the same universe.
But again, the evidence is right out in the open, people can look for these episodes on DVD and online to prove that what Tad Stones said is not true so, bottom line, Ducktales & Darkwing Duck do exist in the same universe, the proof is out there, the evidence is out there, nobody’s trying to hide it from us, there’s considerable proof out there that both of these beloved kids shows exist in the same universe.
Bottom line, both shows are great nostalgic classics, they’re great shows, just enjoy them for what they are.
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