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Darkwing Duck
DDtD movie title card
Writer Jan Strnad
Tad Stones
Jymn Magon
Story editor Tad Stones
Animation studio WDA Australia
WDA Japan
Episode 00: Season 1, Episode 00
Date September 6, 1991
Production code  ???
Extinct Possibility premiere Darkly Dawns the Duck, Part 1
Malice's Restaurant production Water Way to Go

"Darkly Dawns the Duck" is the pilot movie of the Darkwing cartoon series. It aired originally on September 7, 1991, (as part of a special called "The 'Darkwing Duck' Premiere and Back to School With 'The Mickey Mouse Club'") and was the pilot for the television series Darkwing Duck. After the success of the pilot, the film was edited for time for the launching of the series. It was then split into two episodes for the regular series run ("Darkly Dawns the Duck", Part 1 and 2) on September 8, 1991. It was also released in its uncut form on home video, combining the two parts of the special into a 48-minute movie.

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Darkwing Duck, an up-and-coming crime fighter dying for a big break, is stuck busting regular criminals in the bustling metropolis of St. Canard. Annoyed that he isn't getting enough attention from the press, Darkwing longs to fight a super-villain. He gets more than he bargained for however when he stumbles onto a fiendish plot by criminal mastermind Taurus Bulba to steal a top-secret weapon from the military: an anti-gravity beam cannon called the Waddlemeyer Ramrod.

Darkwing fails to stop Taurus Bulba's three henchmen, Hammerhead Hannigan and the clumsy Hoof and Mouth, from stealing the Ram Rod, despite "help" from accident-prone pilot Launchpad McQuack. Furious at having lost Bulba's henchmen, Darkwing turns down the hopeful Launchpad's request to be the hero's sidekick.

Meanwhile, Bulba discovers that although he has the Ram Rod, he lacks the arming code. An earlier botched attempt to steal the weapon resulted in the accidental death of its inventor, Professor Waddlemeyer, before Bulba could learn the code. He sends Hammerhead, Hoof, and Mouth to kidnap the Professor's granddaughter, Gosalyn Waddlemeyer, from the St. Canard Orphanage, on the gamble that she knows the arming code. Darkwing, having discovered what Bulba's henchmen stole, races to the rescue and snatches Gosalyn out of the henchmen's grasp.

After a car chase, Darkwing returns to the safety of his hideout with Gosalyn, promising to protect her until Taurus Bulba is brought to justice. As Darkwing and Gosalyn bond, he discovers, inadvertently, that the arming code for the Ram Rod is hidden in the lyrics of a lullaby taught to Gosalyn by her grandfather (yellow, blue, red, blue, purple, blue, purple, green, yellow). But a newly escaped Taurus Bulba lures Darkwing out into the opening to both find his secret lair and turn him over to the police. Launchpad McQuack, Darkwing's biggest (and only) fan springs him loose, becoming his new sidekick at the helm of his fanmade superhero jet - the Thunderquack. They race to Bulba's flying base of operations for a final climactic showdown which ends in a shattering explosion around both Darkwing and Taurus. Later, a bruised and battered Drake Mallard (aka Darkwing Duck) arrives at Gosalyn's orphanage to adopt her.


Deleted scenes

A number of scenes were cut from the pilot film when it was edited to become two regular episodes of the TV series. These scenes were subsequently restored when it was released uncut on video. They were not restored for the DVD set released in 2006. These scenes include:

  • A rare beginning credits that displays different sequences from the series.
  • An opening chase sequence showing Darkwing capturing a gang of fleeing criminals. The shot of Darkwing ramping his motorcycle sidecar, the Ratcatcher, up and into the bed of a pickup truck, catapulting the criminals inside into some trashcans, is featured prominently in the show's opening sequence despite being absent from the current televised versions.
  • While following Taurus Bulba's pet condor, Tantalus, on the Ratcatcher, Darkwing almost has a head-on collision with a large truck and is yelled at by the driver.
  • A longer version of the scene where Hoof and Mouth are twirling their rifles around before Darkwing jumps them.
  • A scene showing Taurus Bulba wheeling a cart of dirty clothes to the prison laundromat, establishing that Hammerhead, Hoof, and Mouth are hiding inside it.
  • Following the car chase, Mouth has a panic attack and begins screaming, "We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!" until Hammerhead hits him.
  • A longer scene of Taurus Bulba ranting about Darkwing's ego, with him imitating Darkwing's mannerisms and poses: "His posing, his flamboyance, the mask and cape! Ha, ha! That hat! It all indicates an ego the size of a small planet!"
  • Darkwing asking Gosalyn if he should frame his memo pad.
  • While in his jail cell, the scene where Darkwing tries to get the biker pig to punch him is much longer.
  • A brief scene where Taurus Bulba comments that the design of the Thunderquack, Launchpad's fan-made jet, is ugly.
  • Darkwing Duck music video/dance sequence at the end of the VHS that comprised Disney's early countdown commercial promotions of the series for The Disney Afternoon.



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