Attention all Mighty Ducks fans: Josh Duhamel will officially replace Emilio Estevez as the face of the franchise. Disney announced that Duhamel will play a new character on the second season of the Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, while the studio opted not to pick up Estevez’s contract.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Duhamel will play former NHL player turned coach Gavin Cole, who is described as “inspirational, charming and hardcore as he is big on the hockey metaphor that applies to life.” Coach Cole is in charge of the intensive summer hockey institute that hosts the Mighty Ducks team in Season 2. He will join Season 1 cast members including Lauren Graham and Brady Noon.

Why the sudden switch between leads? It seems a contract dispute between Estevez and Disney's ABC Signature prompted Estevez to depart the show in November. Reportedly, the studio had asked that cast members in Zone A comply with a Covid-19 vaccination mandate. Estevez’s reps declined to provide guarantees of compliance, and ABC Signature decided to write out the character of Gordon Bombay as a result. However, Estevez chalked up his exit not to an “anti-vax” stance, but to a “myriad of creative differences.”

Showrunners Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith are returning for Season 2, with original film creator Steve Brill coming back as head writer. You can watch the first season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers on exclusively on Disney+. Don't have a subscription? You can sign up here.

Gallery — Movie Franchises That Recast Major Roles:

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