As many know by now the Disney canceled DuckTales with the series ending after the run of its third season. This came as a surprise due to the news being broken by production members rather than an outright reveal by Disney. This left many fans disappointed due to the news coming out of left field. DuckTales was a great addition and improved upon the original in all ways but the theme song. However, the writing could be seen on the wall if you looked closely at Disney’s actions.
— Frank Angones (@FrankAngones) December 3, 2020
The first reason I believe Disney canceled DuckTales is Disney’s 65th Episode Rule. If you have not heard of this rule think of how many Disney cartoons have had the fourth season recently. Despite Disney having a great collection of modern animation series, the cartoon graveyard is massive. Disney canceled well-liked series such as Milo Murphy’s Law and Wander Over Yonder were canceled before the series had a chance to peak. While some might be quick to point out Star vs. the Forces of Evil, which had a horrendous fourth season, many series get canceled around their 65th episode. When DuckTales concludes next spring the total episode count will sit around 75 episodes.
For better or worse Disney is a well-oiled machine. With that in mind, they are very formulaic with the 65th Episode Rule being one small part of the massive algorithm of the mouse. Disney kept the IP relevant for merchandising and bringing new fans to the series. Quite simply the series accomplished what the company wanted.
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The second reason I believe Disney canceled DuckTales is a shift in storytelling. The biggest comfort is that Disney is not abandoning the DuckTales universe entirely. Disney is following what they did in the 90s by giving the fans a Darkwing Duck series as the DuckTales series ended. There has not been any announcement from Disney if this series will be a direct spin-off from DuckTales. However, DuckTales has focused on Saint Canard in the third season effectively laying out the groundwork for the new Darkwing Duck series. Launchpad and Gossalyn even joined Darkwing heavily indicating the series will be tied.
The final reason I believe Disney canceled DuckTales is due to Disney’s push for their streaming service. It is no surprise the direction is taking its content over the next few years. As the focus of Disney+ continues to grow the less emphasis will be placed on existing series on cable. This can be seen as Darkwing Duck will premier on Disney+ instead of Disney or Disney XD.
Disney would rather end the show and add it to the catalog to entice viewers to their product. However, with DuckTales eventually added to Disney plus it opens possible a door to a comeback. Given an overwhelming demand, Disney could end up coming back for another season. I wouldn’t get hopes up unfortunately as the crew has marked this series as a dead man walking.
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Disney canceled DuckTales as it got caught in the wheels of a corporate machine that got all they wanted from the series. The episode cap that is at most four seasons was a warning sign that this beloved reboot was nearing its end. The series transitioning into Darkwing Duck may give the viewers some appearances of the DuckTales cast despite no official confirmation of being a reboot. The last but possibly most important point is the continued focus on Disney+ where more and more shows are added including Darkwing Duck.