"We're just so happy to get the job after years and years of rejection. Someone says yes and we're used to someone saying yes to something and you just never know how that whole picture is going to turn out. Is it going to stand the test of time? Is it going to transcend across generations? You just never know and the fact that there was a little movie that could, we made two sequels -- a hockey franchise in 1996, it was crazy. Absolutely crazy," Estevez reminisced to ET's Kevin Frazier.
Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is set in present-day Minnesota, with the Mighty Ducks having evolved from scrappy underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. After 12-year-old Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, he and his mom, Alex Morrow (Lauren Graham), set out to build their own team of misfits to challenge the cutthroat, win-at-all-costs culture of youth sports today. With the help of Gordon (Estevez), they rediscover the joys of playing just for love of the game.
For Estevez, coming back to the Mighty Ducks franchise was an "interesting" journey. "I kind of left mainstream movies... with Mighty Ducks 3 and that same year I did Mission: Impossible and then I went off and I directed my own thing, what I like to call my time in the wilderness where I make an independent film on my own time and at my own pace. To come back now to mainstream fare and coming back by the way of Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, it feels organic," he said. "It feels like it was almost like a plan -- it wasn't but it almost feels like a real natural and organic thing to do."
The 58-year-old actor and director also discussed working with the younger cast, which includes Noon, Swayam Bhatia and Maxwell Simkins. "The themes of all the films is the underdogs, the marginalized, the kids that don't get invited to participate and it was all about being inclusive," Estevez said. "I think this series, even more so than the film, deals with inclusivity and inviting the marginalized into the party and be a part of something that a team that normally wouldn't have been invited to."
New to the Mighty Ducks world is Graham who plays the mom of one of the kids who gets cut from the Ducks and vows to start her own team of hockey misfits. She admitted joining a storied franchise such as this one was a bit daunting.
"I have been in a revival and I know well that you run the risk of not pleasing everybody," Graham said, referencing Netflix's Gilmore Girls four-part revival, A Year in the Life, in 2016. "I just appreciate it. I looked at it like I loved the movies and then I looked at this as if I did not know the movies, and I think and I hope and we tried to please both, you know? It is a re-imagining for today's world of what has happened to sports and what has happened to Gordon Bombay, and I loved that it is the mom who is the coach trying to bring the joy back to sports -- and how Emilio and I kind of come together. I just thought it was a good set-up and the fact that he is in it. I would not have touched it if he was not in it."
"I know that when he started [Game Changers] he hadn't acted in a while and he's such a naturally gifted actor, I didn't see any rustiness at all. But he would say, 'Wow it's kinda been a while,' but he found his stride really quickly and obviously he has such confidence because he knows this character, he knows this world, he knows filmmaking," she praised. He's been making movies as a director so there's a real intelligence and ability to see the whole picture that I appreciated. And he's just so smart and funny. We've had great conversation and when we're standing freezing cold in your heated socks, that's all you want is a good fun person to talk to. He's really bright and fun."