Culture

REPORT: Emilio Estevez Benched From 'Mighty Ducks' Series Over Disney’s Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Actor Emilio Estevez won’t be reprising his role as Gordon Bombay in the Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers after he reportedly refused to comply with the production’s COVID-19 vaccination policies.

“Disney Television Studios’ ABC Signature, which produces the hockey-themed sequel series, 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,” reports Deadline.

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Esteves first portrayed Gordon Bombay in the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks alongside Jussie Smollett. The movie spawned two sequels (none of which featured Smollett) and was eventually reincarnated as a Disney+ streaming series,The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, which premiered in 2020.

“Heading into Season 2, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers — like many Disney TV Studios series — has adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for the cast and crew in Zone A, which was included as an option in the most recent Return-to-Work agreement between the Hollywood studios and major unions,” explains Deadline. “Zone A includes all actors and crew members who come into direct contact with them.”

Sources say that Estevez “declined to provide assurances that he would comply with the policy,” prompting the studio not to exercise his option and to write his character our of scripts for Season 2. Other sources close to the actor suggest that creative differences may have played a role in his not returning to the series.