"The First Face-Off" is the two-part series premiere of Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, originally aired as a one-hour special in syndication on September 6, 1996. It was also combined with the episode "Duck Hard" and released as a direct-to-video movie, titled Mighty Ducks The Movie: The First Face-Off.


Part 1

As the episode begins, the Ducks win a stunning hockey game, cheered on by their manager Phil Palmfeather. Suddenly, Anaheim police Captain Klegghorn barges in and demands to talk to Phil about the team. Back at his headquarters, Klegghorn and Phil settle down to some hot dogs and donuts, while Phil begins to explain how the Ducks came to Earth.

So Phil narrates the story of the origins of the Mighty Ducks. Shifting to Puckworld, we are first introduced to Wildwing and Canard. The two best friends are interrupted in their friendly shootout by Nosedive, Wildwing's grating little brother. Nosedive brags of his knowledge of the legend of Drake DuCaine, a mythical figure who had used a golden Mask to save the Ducks from an invasion by the Saurians, centuries ago.

History repeats itself as the last remaining Saurian Overlord, Dragaunus, breaks out of his prison in dimensional limbo, and attacks Puckworld again. As the planet is razed, Nosedive and Wildwing end up being captured, and sent to a slave labor camp. But before they can arrive, Canard rescues them, and shows them Drake DuCaine's Mask, which he found while he escaped from the Saurian onslaught. Canard is now captain of the Resistance force, and wants Wildwing to join and help drive the Saurians away. Canard deems Nosedive as too young and reckless to tag along, but by using himself as a bartering tool, Wildwing helps to get his brother in.

Phil helps to introduce the rest of the team and their skills. Using the military's last Aerowing, and the power of the Mask, the team finds and storms Dragaunus' Master Tower. Nosedive is left to guard the ship, while Tanya and Mallory set explosives to destroy the building. The others are there to distract the three evil henchmen, and Wildwing gets the special job of drawing out Dragaunus. However, the team is overpowered, the explosives set wrong, and Wildwing finds himself in the jaws of death. The team manages to rescue Wildwing, and make a quick escape from the Tower thanks to Nosedive. Although the Master Tower explodes, Dragaunus escapes with his henchmen in his warship, the Raptor. Using a dimensional gateway generator, he opens a portal and escapes into it, with the Ducks in hot pursuit. To get the team off of his tail, Dragaunus releases a giant electromagnetic worm into the gateway, which threatens to devour the Aerowing whole. In order to save the team, Canard leaps out of the ship and sacrifices himself to the worm. His last act is to hand the Mask over to Wildwing.

The Raptor pulls through the other side of the gateway, and the Ducks follow, to find themselves on Earth... in Anaheim, California.

Part 2

The Ducks find themselves on Earth, and start roaming around to look for Dragaunus. They stumble onto the councourse of the Anaheim Mall, and wander into Captain Comics, where we first meet Thrash and Mookie. The Ducks get their first impression of the planet through the shop's merchandise. Thrash shows the team to the Anaheim Pond across the street, a hockey arena which was recently vacated when Anaheim's team moved. Going for a closer look, the Ducks startle Phil Palmfeather, the former manager of the moved team. He lets them in to play a game, but warns them that they'll have to share the ice with some of the meanest players around. A team called the Destroyers calls the Pond home turf, but the Ducks beat their physical prowess and cheating by showing off some pure skill. Phil is so impressed that he decides to set the Ducks up as the NHL's newest team. The Ducks are a huge success, becoming stars around the league, and attracting many fans to their games.

With the money they earn, they construct a three-tiered headquarters beneath the arena, and equip it with everything they need to hunt Dragaunus down. Phil is not happy about his new stars going out to risk their lives in fighting crime. The Ducks patrol town, and decide along the way that they should fight all types of crime, not just Dragaunus'. While they are settling in, Wildwing can't shake his hesitancy about assuming the role of team captain. He keeps postponing donning the Mask, waiting for Canard to return from dimensional limbo. It isn't long before the team catches Dragaunus, and their off to the mountains for a battle.

The much more powerful Raptor sends the Ducks scrambling for cover in the Aerowing. Deciding to ambush the Saurians from the inside, the Ducks invade the Raptor. While Tanya and Grin destroy the ship's power source, the rest of the team has to fend off the henchmen. Just when things are looking their worst, Dragaunus shows up to take Wildwing on personally. Cloaking himself, Dragaunus quickly gets the upper hand on the Duck, while Nosedive, Duke, and Mallory are pinned under a pile of supply barrels, and cannot help him. Driven by Dragaunus' boasting about Canard's absence, Wildwing finally dons the Mask, and turns the fight around. A sudden explosion rocks the ship as its power core is destroyed, and the team scrambles to make a quick escape. The Raptor looks like it's going to crash right into the city, when it suddenly vanishes! Having switched to impulse power, the Raptor has been able to slip out right from underneath the team's noses. Disappointed in the lost fight, Wildwing regrets such a hasty retreat. But the team is proud that it has a new leader, and they are determined to find Dragaunus again.

Phil's story ends back in the precinct office. Captain Klegghorn believes very little of his tale, and is skeptical of the existance of the Saurians. Little does he know that Dragaunus is very close by, hiding in his crippled ship, and brooding for revenge.


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See also
The Disney AfternoonWe Will Rock YouWe are the ChampionsSauriansBorn to Be Wild
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