Nostalgia for the original Mighty Ducks film series has been a key element of Disney+’s The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers TV series. The show even had an episode of its first season that featured a full-blown reunion of the much of the films’ original cast. Of course, the anchor of all that nostalgia was the presence of the franchise’s original star, Emilio Estevez, reprising his role as Coach Gordon Bombay. In the show, Bombay owns the Ice Palace rink where the new hockey team plays. He eventually becomes their assistant coach as well.

That dynamic will change in the upcoming second season, as Estevez will apparently not return to the show when it resumes production early next year. According to Deadline, Disney “made the decision not to pick up Estevez’s option for Season 2 after weeks of back and forth with his team over the show’s Covid vaccination requirement.” Estevez “declined to provide assurances that he would comply with the policy” and so the character will be written out of the series. (Deadline also quoted “sources close to Estevez” who claimed that “creative differences may have played a role in his exit.”)

Whatever the definitive reason for his departure, the loss of Estevez will definitely impact the show, as he was its key connection to the original Mighty Ducks film franchise, which started in a hit 1992 family comedy, and continued through two more sequels. Game Changers’ other stars, including Lauren Graham and Brady Noon, are still expected to return for the next season of the show.

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