Back in November, fans of the Mighty Ducks franchise received some bad news: Emilio Estevez, who starred in the original 1993 movie and who had returned for the Disney+ TV revival, would not be coming back. At first it was reported that it the reason involved the show’s vaccine mandates. Estevez later denied that, saying it was a “good old fashioned contract dispute” and saying he was not “anti-vaxx.” But he’s still out and the show has only now found the show’s replacement male lead.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Duhamel — handsome dude, Transformers franchise alum, and star of the undeservedly jettisoned Jupiter’s Legacy — is going to fill the void left by Estevez’s untimely departure. He’ll play Gavin Cole, a former NHL pro who now runs the “super-intense” summer hocky institute where the Ducks wind up in season two. But he’s no drill sergeant. As per THR, Cole is a combination of “inspirational, charming and hardcore.”
When his departure from the show was announced, Estevez revealed that he tested positive for COVID in the early days of the pandemic and that he spent the remainder of 2020 suffering from long COVID symptoms. Despite this, he still semi-reluctantly reported to work on the show that fall. Estevez was vague about what exactly caused him to drop out of the show’s second season, and though he repeatedly claimed he wasn’t against vaccinations, he did cryptically declare he was “anti-bully.”
The first seasons of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, with Estevez, streams on Disney+.