The original DuckTales gave us many great characters, and one of the most popular has always been Launchpad McQuack. In the original cartoon, Launchpad was a funny character that provided many of the show’s laughs. It was always strange that Scrooge kept him around despite the fact that Launchpad crashed as often as not. In fact, this was the topic of a few of the show’s storylines.
When the first promo images of DuckTales were released I was very happy to see they did not drop Launchpad in the reboot. Launchpad was one of my favorite characters in the original show, but I also have a deep love for the character because he was also featured in my favorite Disney Afternoon Darkwing Duck.
Launchpad was more adventurous in Darkwing Duck. In this series he was the sidekick to a vigilante hero who fought many villains. DuckTales was about adventure, and Darkwing Duck was about fighting crime. Those two Launchpad’s were never the same character. Creator of the Darkwing Duck series, Tad Stones, has said the shows were always meant to exist in different universes.
The DuckTales reboot on Disney XD has so far been a success. It is 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, it has good reviews from viewers, and it is Disney XD’s number one most viewed show in over two years. The reboot has re-imagined many of these classic characters in ways that have expanded their personalities. These characters appear to be more developed than the original show… except one.
From the first time we saw him driving Scrooge McDuck’s limo in the premiere episode of the reboot, Launchpad has been used for one gag after another. The rebooted Launchpad has definitely been funny, but he has lacked the development we’ve already seen with many of the other ducks. He served his purpose as the pilot in the premiere, but he was quickly taken out of the action after a pile of poisonous snakes were dropped on him in Atlantis.
In “Terror of the Terra-firmians!” Launchpad fans were a little disappointed to see him act like a man-child (Mrs. Beakley’s words). But again… Launchpad was hilarious in this episode. I was laughing out loud when he thought Dewey might be a mole-man and was asking him questions trying to trip him up.
Spoilers for “The House of the Lucky Gamder!” ahead!
In the latest episode of the series things may have changed, somewhat. In the episode “The House of the Lucky Gander!” Launchpad let’s Scrooge know that he is going to take off to help out an old girlfriend who has gotten into trouble with a local crime family…
Wait… what!? I was so excited… I couldn’t wait for the show to break away from the main story of Gladstone Gander and reveal what Launchpad was up to. I kept thinking… this crime syndicate is going to overlap with what’s going on at the casino… but it NEVER HAPPENED! “The House of the Lucky Gander!” may be my favorite episode of the reboot so far, but I wanted to see what was happening with Launchpad.
When everything was resolved with Gladstone the family returned to the plane to find Launchpad waiting for them, dressed in samurai armor, with an eye patch, and carrying a panda cub on his back! When Dewey asked him what he had been up to he responded with, “Eh, you know. Tourist stuff.” As the family loaded the plane he looked back and said, “Goodbye, Ziyi, wherever you are.” What happened!?
This mystery… I need to know what’s going on with Launchpad. My curiosity is at peak levels. It is clear at this point there is more to this Launchpad than we have seen, and the latest episode has only given us a taste of what is to come. I believe there is a greater story taking place. There is a reason Mrs. Beakley (a capable, spy) serves as Scrooge McDuck’s housekeeper, and I believe there is a reason why an adventurer like Launchpad McQuack was hired as his driver.