Emilio Estevez won’t be returning as Gordon Bombay in the upcoming second season of Disney+’s ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.’ The news comes after the Golden Globe-nominated actor reprised his role of the hockey coach in Season 1 of the sports show, which is based on the franchise’s three popular movies from the 1990s.

Disney Television Studios’ ABC Signature, which produces the sequel series, made the choice not to pick up Estevez’s option for the second season, which led to him leaving the project. The decision came after the studio spent weeks discussing the comedy-drama’s Covid vaccination requirement with the actor’s team.

As production begins on the Season 2 of ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,’ the project’s producers followed the example of many other Disney TV Studios shows. The series adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for the cast and crew in Zone A, which includes all actors and the crew members who come into direct contact with them.  The decision was included as an option in the most recent Return-to-Work agreement between the Hollywood studios and major unions.

However, Estevez, through his reps, declined to assurance Disney Television Studios that he would comply with the policy. While the two sides were unable to come to an agreement over the vaccine requirement, the comedy-drama’s Season 2 scripts were being written. The studio is also planning to start production on the show’s sophomore season early next year.

As as result, Disney Television Studios decided not exercise the actor’s option. So the scripts will be adjusted to continue the story without the performer’s character of Gordon. It’s also being reported that Estevez’s team has indicated that creative differences in the upcoming season’s storylines may have also played a role in his exit.

While not a blanket policy yet, the Zone A vaccination mandate has emerged as an industry standard, with its adoption steadily expanding. Disney TV Studios has introduced the policy on its new shows going forward, as well as a number of existing ones, including ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.’

Estevez starred alongside Lauren Graham and Brady Noon on the series’ first season, which is set in present-day Minnesota. Throughout the season, the title Mighty Ducks have evolved from underdogs to an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team. After 12-year-old Evan Morrow (Noon) is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, he and his mom (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 Estevez’s Gordon, they rediscover the joys of playing just for love of the game.

Graham and Noon will return to lead the cast for Season 2 of ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.’ They’ll be joined on-screen by Maxwell Simkins, Swayam Bhatia, Luke Islam, Kiefer O’Reilly, Taegen Burns, Bella Higginbotham and DJ Watts.

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