Just because everything these days is obligated to be a shared universe, from Hanna-Barbera cartoons to Hasbro toys to the Indecent Proposal extended universe (okay, we made that last one up, but surely it’s just a matter of time), doesn’t mean it was always so. In fact, creators of beloved characters sometimes had no interest in having their creations be part of a larger world, which is a fact that you can tell your grandchildren while you all watch 2042’s biggest film, X-Men Teens Vs. Predator—The Empire Of Katniss Everdeen. Such was the case with Tad Stones, the originator of Darkwing Duck, the popular after-school cartoon crimefighter birthed from an earlier cartoon, DuckTales. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stones reminisces about the creation of his program, emphasizing his lack of interest in some shared universe with the program from which his famous character was spun off—and even stresses his disinterest in maintaining continuity within his own program.
Aside from stressing Darkwing had to say his “Let’s get dangerous” catchphrase every episode (In case the multiple iterations of it in the theme song weren’t sufficient reminder), Stones was firm on the lack of overlap between DuckTales and 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.
Ironically, Stones cites The Flash silver-age comics as a major source of inspiration for his show, a central character who literally traverses supposedly separate universes. Nonetheless, the creator even dismisses concerns about continuity within his own show, let alone others. “It drives fans crazy, but I was not a huge fan of continuity. 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.”
However, Stones concedes that any potential reboot should approach the material in a new way, with its own style and sensibility. So don’t give up hopes for a series inspired by your fan-fiction in which Darkwing Duck, champion of right, swoops out of the shadows, and runs smack into Mallard Fillmore, beginning a new era of far-right superheroics and unintentional comedy.