Entertainment

This Cuban-American Producer Brought Lin-Manuel Miranda In As The First Brown Latino Duck In The New ‘DuckTales’

It’s clear from the moment I meet Francisco “Frank” Angones, the Emmy-nominated story editor and co-producer of the new Disney XD “DuckTales” series, that calling the man a fan of the series is an understatement. He has several cartoon memorabilia-lined shelves in his office, along with a cassette tape of the original “DuckTales” theme song. Angones is the real deal.

Frank Angones is the co-producer and story editor of the upcoming “DuckTales” reboot on Disney XD.

Courtesy of Disney

Perks of the job: getting your own “DuckTales” portrait.


A Cuban-American who grew up in Miami, Angones has a pristine childhood photo of himself dressed head to toe as the “DuckTales” spin-off character Darkwing Duck. Angones says he’s living a childhood dream: “I’m really lucky to be able to do the job that 10-year-old me would be doing backflips over.”

Angones and team have spared no detail, poring over everything in the reboot to make sure it’s new and fresh, but not unrecognizable, from the original.

Courtesy of Disney

I’m led through the Disney offices and to a production room where art from the show is proudly displayed. There’s a detailed map of Duckburg, which oddly reminds me of the “Game Of Thrones” map. There are detailed instructional drawings of the do’s and don’ts of illustrating duck bills, which Angones tells me is surprisingly hard to do because they have to remain stiff, yet malleable enough to allow the characters to speak.

The sheer preparation and thought that goes into making a show of this caliber and with this much at stake is fascinating — “DuckTales” has fans around the globe that grew up on the stuff and will be no doubt scrutinizing the rebooted series with a fine-toothed comb.

Several new faces were added to the original roster of “DuckTales” villains.

Credit: Andrew Santiago/ Disney

All these guys look like real bad guys, but it’s the quiet looking one at the end that’s really scary.


On our way to the writers’ room, Angones shows me several panels of what my untrained eye sees as just settings and backgrounds. But Angones breaks down how they’ve kept the 2D animation look, which many shows no longer use, while adding a comic book feel to it, like the original comic book series. He tells me that bringing the series back to life is this balancing act between paying homage to the old, while bringing it into the 21st century — about 25 years after its finale. Feeling old yet?

In the writers’ room, everyone scrambled quickly to remove secret characters from the walls so I wouldn’t write about them. But I saw them. Oh, did I see them.

I quickly got into the meat of what I wanted to ask about: Fenton Crackshell-Cabrerathe first Brown, Latino duck character in the series.

Courtesy of Disney

Crackshell-Cabrera and his family, his mom specifically, are as stubborn as goats (“Cabrera” means goat herder), which is why they chose it as the family name, Angones tells me.


An update to the original Fenton Crackshell, Crackshell-Cabrera is now Latino and Brown. He’s also the secret identity of Gizmoduck. Gizmoduck was the coolest of ’90s TV cartoon superheroes, combining “Inspector Gadget” style doohickies with Iron Man-like armor, a comedic duck version of RoboCop on wheels. He was badass, and he still is, but now, he’s even cooler because he’s being voiced by the one and only Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“In the original version, [Fenton] was an accountant, he was fast-talking, he was very sincere, he had a million ideas all at once, not all of them worked out,” says Angones. “But he always meant well and he was always fundamentally heroic and wanted to prove his worth. And we said, ‘Well that’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.'”

If you’re looking for a Duckburg version of “Hamilton” or “In The Heights,” don’t get your hopes up, because Angones was doing his best to avoid tokenism, both of Latinos at large and of Miranda himself. “That was a pet peeve of mine in the ’90s, when you’d watch a cartoon and then suddenly there would be some kind of rap song,” he said, “Or like, ‘Do the Urkel,’ they were just trying to market on this.” The show is making sure they take representation seriously. 

Angones: “I knew we were looking for more representation, because we’re not just in Duckberg, we’re a globe-trotting show, and one of the things we take pride in is every time we go somewhere, we go to a different country or area, we always try to cast people who are actually from that country. If we go to Egypt, we’re going to actually cast Egyptian actors. If we go to China, we’re actually going to cast Chinese actors instead of voice actors who are trying to approximate that. I think that brings a level of authenticity to the whole thing.”

This importance given by Angones to representation perhaps is deep in his blood. Toward the end of our interview, he tells me the story of his great-great grandfather, who wrote the Cuban national anthem, and performed it as an act of defiance to Spanish aristocrats, asking other Cubans to stand with him and fight.

With all of the additions, updates and changes, however, Angones acknowledges the most important aspect of the show since its inception: family.

Courtesy of Disney

Unlike the original, each of the kids is performed by a different actor, thus allowing them to each have their own very distinct personality and voice.


“We knew that we wanted it to be a family show first. A real, relatable, weird, blended family,” says Angones. “Where a family is not just a mom and a dad and two kids. It can be triplets living with an uncle and their great uncle, and the housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s daughter is part of the family and this circle of people that you adventure with. Family is the greatest adventure of all.”

I had to agree with Frank, family is the greatest adventure of all. Well said.


Courtesy of Disney

This is the one photo I was allowed to take in the writers’ room. Top secret stuff is just offscreen to the right.

Credit: Andrew Santiago/ Disney

Several main characters were also removed right before I snagged this photo. NSA-level secrecy.

Disney XD has already released a movie length episode entitled “Woo-oo!” You can see it and on Disney Channel starting this week. You can also check it out here:

Credit: Disney XD/ YouTube

“DuckTales” premieres with two new episodes Saturday, September 23rd on Disney XD, the same week as the original Emmy Award-winning series 30th anniversary. Check your local listings for channel and times.


READ: His Voice Has Won Awards, Now He’s Voicing One Of Disney’s Most Iconic Superheroes


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The Definitive List of Latinos in the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Entertainment

The Definitive List of Latinos in the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

Credit: felineastronaut/Twiiter; theguyinthechair18/Instagram; Star Wars/Twitter

Recently, news broke that beloved Mexican-American director Robert Rodriguez is set to executive producer Disney+’s new Star Wars series, The Book of Boba Fett. This news broke at the same event that Disney announced that Rosario Dawson will be getting her own Star Wars series on Disney+, a Mandalorian spinoff entitled Ahsoka.

Pair these events with Pedro Pascal headlining The Mandalorian, and it appears that Disney is making some real and concerted effort to hire Latino talent.

And the pattern didn’t just start this year. Since the franchise’s reboot in 2015, Disney has consistently hired Latinos to take part in Star Wars Universe in front of and behind the camera.

In light of this, we’ve compiled a definitive list of all of the Latinos that have been involved in the Star Wars Universe. Take a look below!

1. Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron

Credit: MayThe4rceBWYou/Twitter

Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac was one of the first Latinos to set off Disney’s streak of hiring Latino talent for the Star Wars franchise. Isaac (nee Óscar Isaac Hernández Estrada) played Poe Dameron, a fighter pilot who rose in the ranks to become General of the Resistance. He appeared in all three movies of the Star Wars reboot trilogy: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.

2. Pedro Pascal as Mando

Credit: theguyinthechair18/Instagram

Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal plays the titular character in The Mandalorian (his true name is a spoiler), a solitary bounty hunter who travels to the “outer reaches” of the galaxy in order to protect Baby Yoda.

3. Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano

Credit: Star Wars/Twitter

This season, Rosario Dawson played Ahsoka Tano in The Mandolorian–an alien of the Togruta race who is also a Jedi knight and army commander. It was also recently announced that the actress of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent would be headlining a spinoff series on Disney+ entitled Ahsoka.

4. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor

Credit: felineastronaut/Twitter

Mexican actor Diego Luna played Rebel Alliance soldier Cassian Andor in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Luna will also star in his own standalone series revolving around Cassian Andor on Disney+ called Andor.

5. Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata

Credit: sw_holocron/Twitter

Mexican-born actress Lupita Nyong’o played alien pirate queen Maz Kanata via motion capture in all three of the Star Wars reboot trilogy: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.

6. Benicio Del Toro as DJ

Credit: ComicBookNOW/Twitter

Boricua actor Benicio Del Toro played the villainous hacker DJ in The Last Jedi.

7. Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa

Credit: ComicBookNOW/Twitter

Brooklyn-born Boricua actor Jimmy Smits played Bail Organa in two of the Star Wars prequel movies, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as well as reprising his role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

8. Horatio Sanz as Mythrol

Credit: TheSWU/Twitter

Although you might not recognize him through such heavy character makeup, Chilean-America comedian Horatio Sanz played Mythrol, a wanted fugitive that was carbon-frozen by Pascal’s character in the first episode of The Mandolorian.

9. John Leguizamo as Gor Koresh

Credit: TheRoninNews/Twitter

Again, you’d be hard-pressed to recognize John Leguizamo amidst all the heavy alien makeup, but the Colombian-American actor played the character Gor Koresh in The Mandolorian–boastful forager of the Abyssin alien race.

10. Robert Rodriguez

Credit: Getty Images

As we reported above, Robert Rodriguez is a legendary Mexican-American director who helmed a popular episode of The Mandolorian entitled “The Tragedy”. He is now set to executive produce a new Disney+ Star Wars series called The Book of Boba Fett.

11. Adria Arjona

Credit: adriaarjona/Instagram

Puerto Rican actress Adria Arjona has not officially appeared in any Star Wars properties yet, but it was recently announced that she will be appearing in Diego Luna’s Star Wars spinoff series Andor as a yet-to-be-named character.

12. Pablo Hidalgo

Credit: pabloarteche/Twitter

Pablo Hidalgo is the definition of behind-the-scenes talent. The Chilean-Canadian LucasFilm creative executive is in charge of keeping narrative and creative cohesion between all of the stories within the Star Wars Universe. In essence, he is the definitive Star Wars expert.

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Chadwick Boseman’s Role As T’Challa In ‘Black Panther’ Will Not Be Recast In The Sequel

Entertainment

Chadwick Boseman’s Role As T’Challa In ‘Black Panther’ Will Not Be Recast In The Sequel

Chadwick Boseman’s role of T’Challa in “Black Panther” will not be recast in honor of the cator’s legacy. Boseman died unexpectedly of cancer earlier this year sending shockwave of grief through Hollywood and his fanbase.

Disney is honoring Chadwick Boseman by not recasting his role in the sequel to “Black Panther.”

According to NBC News, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told investors that the company had no plans to recast Boseman’s role in the superhero sequel. There has been speculation about what Disney would do about the historic role. At one point, executive producer Victoria Alonso had to deny rumors that a virtual double was being used to fill Boseman’s role on the movie.

“I wanted to acknowledge the devastating loss of a dear friend and member of the Marvel Studios family. Chadwick Boseman was an immensely talented actor and an inspirational individual who affected all of our lives professionally and personally. His portrayal of T’Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel’s past,” Feige said, according to reports. “It’s for that reason that we will not recast the character. However, to honor the legacy that Chad helped us build through his portrayal of the king of Wakanda, we want to continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film. Writer/director Ryan Coogler is hard at work on the sequel now, and we’ll bring the film to you in theaters July 8, 2022.”

The MTV Movie and TV Awards: Greatest of all Time honored Boseman with the “Hero for the Ages” award.

“The second you first saw him onscreen or had the opportunity to meet him in person, his energy and intensity was undeniable,” Robert Downey Jr. said as he and Don Cheadle gave tribute to Boseman. “There was something different and special about Chadwick Boseman. Mr. Boseman truly embodied what it meant to be a superhero. His impact as a groundbreaking leading man, as an icon on screen… it won’t be quantified by the box office records he broke but by the legion of fans who will celebrate him for many years to come.”

Boseman, who died of cancer at age 43, was not just a hero on screen.

Boseman’s death added a devastating loss in the middle of a deadly pandemic. The death was a surprise to many as Boseman kept his cancer a secret. Fans and co-stars paid tributes to Boseman because of the importance he made in Hollywood representation.

The sweet honor to the late actor was received with love and respect from fans.

Continue to rest in peace, sweet Chadwick.

READ: Lupita Nyong’o Penned A Heartbreaking Tribute To Black King Chadwick Boseman

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