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This article is about the episode from DuckTales. For the comic book, see The Duck Knight Returns.

"The Duck Knight Returns!" is the fortieth episode of DuckTales. It premiered on May 17, 2019 and is the sixteenth episode in the second season.


When Scrooge and Dewey make a gritty Darkwing Duck movie, Launchpad teams up with the original Darkwing to stop it.


Launchpad and Dewey are visiting the grand opening of a brand new furniture outlet, where Jim Starling, former Darkwing Duck actor, is cutting the ribbon. Jim offers autographs, but the few patrons that are present are unimpressed. An over-eager fan tries to ask Jim something, but being disgruntled over not having any major gigs, Jim passes him over and only begrudgingly signs his poster. Spotting Dewey, he believes that kids still love him, only to recognize Launchpad as someone who's fainted in front of him before. As Dewey tries to post a photo of Launchpad and Jim, he sees that Darkwing Duck is a trending topic worldwide because a Darkwing Duck movie is in production.

Launchpad drives Dewey and Jim (albeit fainting every few seconds from being starstruck) to the studio. Dewey questions why the studio wouldn't send a car for Jim or even inform him the movie exists. Launchpad believes that the movie couldn't be made without him, as Jim is Darkwing. Jim agrees. Eventually, the three arrive at the studio producing the movie; McDuck Studios.

The director of the film, Alistair Borswan, tries to convince Scrooge to give him more money so he can finish the project. However, being over budget (and generally being behind the times on film-making trends), Scrooge demands to be consulted on all decisions. Launchpad, Dewey, and Jim arrive at the meeting where Alistair shows them the trailer.

The trailer shows the film to be a dark and gritty reboot of the series, featuring Darkwing as more of a dark Anti-hero "Battling Darkness with more darkness". Jim approves, but Launchpad doesn't think it's truly Darkwing and Dewey hates it, finding it confusing. Scrooge sees that if it doesn't appeal to Dewey, the target demographic, it won't make money. Scrooge puts Dewey in charge, angering Alistair.

Jim pulls Alistair aside and asks him when they can start. Alistair reveals that the film is almost finished, so Jim believes that the Darkwing scenes are being shot last, or at least be put in with CGI. Alistair tells Jim that he isn't playing Darkwing, revealing that the fan from earlier is playing Darkwing in the new movie. Enraged, Jim attacks the fan and is thrown out of the studio.

Launchpad meets up with Jim outside. Jim plans to have Launchpad lock up the new actor in his trailer while Jim sneaks onto the set and finish the movie so people will see him as superior. Launchpad questions the plan, but Jim convinces him it's the right thing to do.

Jim distracts the guard while Launchpad makes his way to the trailer. He falls in and seems locked in, when the new Darkwing comes in and rescues him. Continuing the plan, Launchpad locks the door again. The new Darkwing attacks Launchpad, questioning the "heroism" of locking him in his trailer. The two fight, but soon bond over their shared experience of Darkwing Duck making an impact on their childhoods. The actor reveals that Darkwing inspired him to always get up even when things are tough, and wants to do the same thing for a new generation of fans. Realizing that he and Jim were wrong, Launchpad vows to get him back to the movie.

Jim hides away from some guards by hiding in a Darkwing Dance crew that Dewey hired. Jim knocks out the guards and tries to hide them in a large crate. The actor comes to Jim and offers him to work on the movie and make the best Darkwing possible. Jim, having obviously snapped, grabs the actor, violently closes the crate and laughs maniacally.

Alistair arrives on the set to see Dewey's changes, including a musical number and chainsaw jugglers that Dewey brought in. He tells Darkwing (not realizing it's Jim in the costume) to ignore the changes and that he will fight Megavolt and take a knee. Jim objects. Launchpad finds Jim and Jim tells him that the fan said he couldn't finish the movie. Launchpad gets suspicious.

Once filming begins, Jim goes off script and attacks the actor playing Megavolt. Doing so, he knocks over a lightning tower and the set catches on fire. Alistair tries to stop him, but Jim attacks him with a lightning ray, threatening that he'll finish filming the finale, even if it kills him and everyone else.

The actor arrives, introducing himself as Darkwing Duck, ready to save the day. Outraged, Jim fires the lightning ray at him. Darkwing distracts Jim while Launchpad goes to turn on the sprinklers. Jim tries to stop Darkwing, setting off explosives, dropping a piano, but Darkwing shows how strong and resilient he is, even resisting direct shots of lightning. The ray explodes, and the two Darkwings face off. Jim knocks down the other Darkwing as Launchpad activates the rainmaker, putting out the fire. Jim grabs a chainsaw to finish off Darkwing as Launchpad falls to the ground.

Launchpad gives an inspirational speech, trying to convince Jim to stop. The water from the sprinklers begins to affect the other lightning tower. For a moment, Jim seems to realize the error of his ways, staring at a reflection of himself in the chainsaw. Darkwing goes to save Launchpad, but Jim pushes them out of the way, wanting to be the one who saves him. The set then collapses on top of Jim, seemingly killing him.

Alistair filmed the whole thing and believes it would be the perfect end to the movie. Upon viewing it, he sees that it was filmed over by Dewey dancing in front of a green screen. This then leads Scrooge to shut down the whole production (on a count of Dewey botching up the ending, with his dance montage). Darkwing, disillusioned by what has transpired, wonders what he's going to do now. Launchpad convinces him to do what Darkwing always does; get back up. He say that he could do the superhero thing for real. Darkwing agrees, doing it in honor of Jim. Launchpad gets Darkwing to sign his poster, revealing the actor's real name; Drake Mallard.

Unbeknownst to the two, strange purple liquid flows from a torn piece of cloth into the sewers beneath the set. Jim is revealed to have survived the explosion. He rambles to himself, claiming that Drake put Launchpad in danger so he could save him and steal the glory and humiliate Jim. Saying that if people want grim and gritty, he is happy to play the part. Coming into the light, it is revealed that his clothes have changed to a red, yellow, and black color scheme, his voice is angrier and deeper, and his teeth are sharp. Jim has become this continuity's version of Darkwing's greatest enemy and super villain... Negaduck.



  • The theme song is just cut short to the title card, which is painted purple to resemble Darkwing.
  • The episode has the same title of the Darkwing Duck four-issue comic book of the same name.
  • The title is also a reference to the 1986 four-issue Batman mini-series, The Dark Knight Returns.
    • Similarly, Jim's transformation into Negaduck is similar to Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face in "The Dark Knight".
    • The origin of this version of Negaduck is also similar to the Batman villain Clayface, specifically the Basil Karlo incarnation who was also an actor turned to villainy when a famous role of his was taken by another person.
  • Jim Starling/Negaduck's voice actor Jim Cummings previously worked on the Disney XD animated series Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja as Catfish Booray.
  • The moment when Jim's Darkwing Duck costume bled the purple away for the Negaduck look is a reference to Mr. Mime from The Powerpuff Girls, when Rainbow the Clown's colors bled out and he became black and white after being drenched in bleach.
  • The scene in the Darkwing trailer where a flaming "DW" is ignited in a subway station is almost identical to a similar scene in the 2003 Daredevil film.
  • Upon learning of the Darkwing Duck movie, Launchpad says: "Oh Wow! A big budget reboot of a thing I loved as a kid! Those are always great!" The line serves as a joke nodding to how DuckTales is a reboot of the 1987 TV series of the same name, as well as Walt Disney Pictures' recent live-action remakes of animated films.
    • The overall aesthetic of the movie specifically resembles Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, in which the character of Batman is given a darker and grittier appearance. The character of Alistair Boorswan somewhat resembles Nolan while the movie Megavolt resembles Tom Hardy's portrayal of Bane.
    • Jim Starling's transformation into Negaduck literally ties into a phrase often quoted from The Dark Knight: "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
  • Drake Mallard being inspired by Jim's Darkwing Duck to take on the role himself is reminiscent of the Darkwing Duck episode "Paraducks", where a young Drake chose to become Darkwing after meeting his time-traveling older self.
    • Incidentally, Drake's origin is told in a visual style similar to a comic book spread, with the art style from the 90's cartoon.
  • The producer for the original Darkwing Duck animated series Tad Stones provides a voice role as a similar character named Tad.
  • While trying to infiltrate McDuck Pictures, Jim tries to explain the Darkwing Duck TV series, only to be compared to Gizmoduck, which angers Jim. Additionally, when Launchpad convinces Drake Mallard to become a real hero, he points out that Gizmoduck does it, to which Mallard states: "I am better than Gizmoduck". Both scenes are references to the Darkwing Duck/Gizmoduck rivalry shown in Darkwing Duck.
  • The McDuck Studios logo is highly reminiscent of the one for Walt Disney Animation Studios, featuring a similar typeface and Scrooge posing like Mickey Mouse. Also, a Hidden Mickey can be seen in the meeting room in one scene.
  • Part of Dewey's dance in front of a green screen resembles Goofy, Max, and Powerline's dance at the climax of A Goofy Movie.
  • The sample episode that Jim Starling shows in the Siesta Rick's parking lot shows an orphanage called "St. O'Malley's Kitten Orphanage", a reference to Thomas O'Malley from The Aristocats.
  • A running gag in the episode is Scrooge cannot tell who is evil in a movie unless they are wearing a mustache, which is a cliché used in older films and television. Scrooge also admitted he hasn't seen a movie since 1938, thus explaining why he thinks this trope is still a thing in media and why he still thinks movies in color are still a trend and not a film industry standard.
  • The "Adventures" logo on Drake's comic books resembles the Disney Adventures logo.
  • When the piano keys fall out of Drake's bill, they play the first notes to the Darkwing Duck theme song.
  • The actor portraying Megavolt is dressed up like Bane in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, albeit without the mask.




v - e - d
Ducktales Logo.png
Shows/Movies: 1987 series2017 seriesWalt Disney's World on Ice: Double Feature... Live!Raw ToonageDuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost LampVideographyChibi Tiny TalesThis Duckburg Life

Video Games: Video game (HD remake/Soundtrack) • DuckTales 2The Quest for GoldScrooge's LootDisney Heroes: Battle ModeDisney All-Star Racers
Comics: Comic Books (IDW)
Books: Dinosaur DucksThe Secret City Under the SeaDinosaur ValleyLaunchpad's Daring RaidWelcome to DuckburgSphinx for the Memories and Sir Gyro GearlooseThe Great Lost Treasure HuntScrooge McDuck and the Big SurpriseDinosaur Ducks and Jungle DuckThe Hunt for the Giant PearlScrooge's Treasure HuntChristmas at the North PoleArmstrong the Robot and EarthquackSilver Dollars for Uncle ScroogeWebby Saves the Day

Disney Parks
DuckTales World Showcase AdventurePLAY!
1987 series: Scrooge McDuckHuey, Dewey, and LouieLaunchpad McQuackWebby VanderquackBentina BeakleyDuckworthChief O'HaraShedlock JonesGyro GearlooseLittle HelperYardarmDoofus DrakeFenton CrackshellDonald DuckLudwig Von DrakeGladstone GanderBubba the Cave DuckAbominable SnowwomanTootsie the TriceratopsSkittlesBlackjackPouponGene the GenieGlittering GoldieMad Dog McGurkFeathers GaloreBurt QuackarachMajor CourageMicro DucksAdmiral GrimmitzKing HomerQueen ArielShawebizadGandra DeeMcPapaMcMamaRoboticaBeagle BoysMa BeaglePeteFlintheart GlomgoldPhantom BlotDijonArgus McSwineMagica De SpellMinima De SpellPoe De SpellEl CapitanJoaquin SlowlyMerlock the MagicianCinnamon TealDracula DuckDr. NoGoodMillionara VanderbucksFritter O'WayLawrence LoudmouthBruno Von BeakArmstrongThe SirensCirceHarpiesYuckalindaQueen GriseldaDjinniTerra-Firmie KingOverlord BulovanSolegoGICU-2Magica's ShadowThe Fear Demons

2017 series: Della DuckLenaBradford BuzzardCaptain PeghookManny the Headless Man-HorsePixiuGabby McStabbersonHack and Slash SmashnikovRoxanne FeatherlyToad Liu HaiMark BeaksFalcon GravesAmunetSabafToth-RaZeusSeleneStorkulesCharybdisBriar and BrambleDarkwing DuckGosalyn MallardMegavoltDon KarnageQuackerjackLiquidatorBlack HeronZan OwlsonFisherMannDrosera occidendumJosé CariocaPanchito PistolesFethry DuckJohn D. RockerduckJeevesGavinGrandpappy BeagleViolet SabrewingUnicornPercival P. PeppingtonNightmare BeastPaddywhackBushrootNegaduckDaisy DuckGoofyChip and Dale Monterey JackZipperGadget HackwrenchKit CloudkickerTaurus BulbaMolly CunninghamLieutenant PenumbraGeneral LunarisGilded ManNeighbor JonesSteelbeakIsabella FinchIndy and Ty SabrewingTittertwill Bird of KnowledgeAletheiaVeroKing HonestusEmma GlamourInspector TezukaAkitaStrongbeardHeckaJormungandrPonce de LeonMatilda McDuckEmutilda

1987 series

Season One: "The Treasure of the Golden Suns" • "Send in the Clones" • "Sphinx for the Memories" • "Where No Duck Has Gone Before" • "Armstrong" • "Robot Robbers" • "Magica's Shadow War" • "Master of the Djinni" • "Hotel Strangeduck" • "Lost Crown of Genghis Khan" • "Duckman of Aquatraz" • "The Money Vanishes" • "Sir Gyro de Gearloose" • "Dinosaur Ducks" • "Hero for Hire" • "Superdoo!" • "Maid of the Myth" • "Down and Out in Duckburg" • "Much Ado About Scrooge" • "Top Duck" • "Pearl of Wisdom" • "The Curse of Castle McDuck" • "Launchpad's Civil War" • "Sweet Duck of Youth" • "Earth Quack" • "Home Sweet Homer" • "Bermuda Triangle Tangle" • "Micro Ducks from Outer Space" • "Back to the Klondike" • "Horse Scents" • "Scrooge's Pet" • "Catch as Cash Can" • "Merit-Time Adventure" • "The Golden Fleecing" • "Ducks of the West" • "Time Teasers" • "Back Out in the Outback" • "Raiders of the Lost Harp" • "The Right Duck" • "Scroogerello" • "Double-O-Duck" • "Luck o' the Ducks" • "Duckworth's Revolt" • "Magica's Magic Mirror"/"Take Me Out of the Ballgame" • "Duck to the Future" • "Jungle Duck" • "Launchpad's First Crash" • "Dime Enough for Luck" • "Duck in the Iron Mask" • "The Uncrashable Hindentanic" • "The Status Seekers" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. McDuck" • "Once Upon a Dime" • "Spies in Their Eyes" • "All Ducks on Deck" • "Ducky Horror Picture Show" • "Till Nephews Do Us Part"
Season Two: "Time is Money" • "Super DuckTales"
Season Three: "The Land of Trala La" • "Allowance Day" • "Bubbeo & Juliet" • "The Good Muddahs" • "My Mother the Psychic" • "Metal Attraction" • "Dough Ray Me" • "Bubba's Big Brainstorm" • "The Big Flub" • "A Case of Mistaken Secret Identity" • "Blue Collar Scrooge" • "Beaglemania" • "Yuppy Ducks" • "The Bride Wore Stripes" • "The Unbreakable Bin" • "Attack of the Fifty-Foot Webby" • "The Masked Mallard" • "A DuckTales Valentine"
Season Four: "Ducky Mountain High" • "Attack of the Metal Mites" • "The Duck Who Knew Too Much" • "New Gizmo-Kids on the Block" • "Scrooge's Last Adventure" • "The Golden Goose"

2017 series
Season One: "Woo-oo!" • "Daytrip of Doom!" • "The Great Dime Chase!" • "The Beagle Birthday Massacre!" • "Terror of the Terra-firmians!" • "The House of the Lucky Gander!" • "The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!" • "The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!" • "The Impossible Summit of Mt. Neverrest!" • "The Spear of Selene!" • "Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System!" • "The Missing Links of Moorshire!" • "McMystery at McDuck McManor!" • "JAW$!" • "The Golden Lagoon of White Agony Plains!" • "Day of the Only Child!" • "From the Confidential Casefiles of Agent 22!" • "Who is Gizmoduck?!" • "The Other Bin of Scrooge McDuck!" • "Sky Pirates...in the Sky!" • "The Secret(s) of Castle McDuck!" • "The Last Crash of the Sunchaser!" • "The Shadow War!"
Season Two: "The Most Dangerous Game...Night!" • "The Depths of Cousin Fethry!" • "The Ballad of Duke Baloney!" • "The Town Where Everyone Was Nice!" • "Storkules in Duckburg!" • "Last Christmas!" • "What Ever Happened to Della Duck?!" • "Treasure of the Found Lamp!" • "The Outlaw Scrooge McDuck!" • "The 87 Cent Solution!" • "The Golden Spear!" • "Nothing Can Stop Della Duck!" • "Raiders of the Doomsday Vault!" • "Friendship Hates Magic!" • "The Dangerous Chemistry of Gandra Dee!" • "The Duck Knight Returns!" • "What Ever Happened to Donald Duck?!" • "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!" • "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!" • "The Golden Armory of Cornelius Coot!" • "Timephoon!" • "GlomTales!" • "The Richest Duck in the World!" • "Moonvasion!"
Season Three "Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks!" • "Quack Pack!" • "Double-O-Duck in You Only Crash Twice!" • "The Lost Harp of Mervana!" • "Louie's Eleven!" • "Astro B.O.Y.D.!" • "The Rumble for Ragnarok!" • "The Phantom and the Sorceress!" • "They Put a Moonlander on the Earth!" • "The Trickening!" • "The Forbidden Fountain of the Foreverglades!" • "Let's Get Dangerous!" • "Escape from the ImpossiBin!" • "The Split Sword of Swanstantine!" • "New Gods on the Block!" • "The First Adventure!" • "The Fight for Castle McDuck!" • "How Santa Stole Christmas!" • "Beaks in the Shell!" • "The Lost Cargo of Kit Cloudkicker!" • "The Life And Crimes of Scrooge McDuck!" • "The Last Adventure!"

DuckburgAtlantisThe Money BinMcDuck ManorCastle McDuckFountain of YouthScotlandNotre DuckValley of the Golden SunsSt. CanardCape Suzette
Air PiratesF.O.W.L.Junior WoodchucksS.H.U.S.H.
Number One DimeJunior Woodchucks GuidebookGizmosuitGene's LampMerlock's TalismanSun CoinSun ChaserHarp of TroyMillennium ShortcutGyro's HelicopterMolecular ManipulatorGolden GooseWebby's Quacky Patch DollHindentanicMagic MedallionRatcatcherJewel of AtlantisPep!Gummiberry JuiceIron VulturePirate FightersSpear of SeleneSea DuckRanger Plane
DuckTales ThemeThree Cheers for Bubba DuckBoogie Beagle BluesMoon Stage ThemeSky PiratesThe Three CaballerosHear My Voice
See also
Carl BarksThe Disney AfternoonDarkwing DuckQuack PackDisney XD (Netherlands)Let's Go to Disneyland Paris