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Me and Mr. Stones

Flapping Terror's Exclusive Tad Stones Interview

Tad Stones is involved with the production of many a Disney show, and is also the creator of Darkwing Duck. So you can imagine how excited I was when I found his e-mail address! It would be my big chance to ask him some questions about DW buzzing around in my brain. Well, after two e-mail sessions, I asked him twenty questions in all... and he answered them! What's more, he gave me permission to post it all here! Here are the questions I asked him, and the answers he provided. I have also written some personal commentary in italics. Enjoy!

1.) After a close inspection of the episode numbers, there appears to be six missing episodes. Is this so? What happened to those last six?

Episode numbers and production numbers are assigned for arcane reasons. As soon as an idea passes premise stage it gets a number so that its budget can be tracked. But that idea can be killed in outline or script. I don't remember the exact reasons but there are no "missing episodes."

Bummer. Sorry to get your hopes up, you guys.

2.) What happened to Steelbeak's real beak? Why did F.O.W.L. replace it?

I created Steelbeak with Rob Paulsen's voice in mind. I never created a backstory for him. Many of the villains of Darkwing were based on comic book or spy icons. Steelbeak falls in the category of "replaced limbs," villains who've lost an arm and had it replaced with a gun or deathray. Choosing his beak to be replaced was a matter of picking something that was funny.

Hear that, Roaming Tigress? Looks like your background story for Steelbeak is as good as any! Hooray for imaginative fans! :)

3.) Were there any scenes that were cut / deleted / replaced in any of the episodes? I do know some of "Darkly Dawns the Duck" was cut for TV broadcast, and replaced in the home video version.

Every episode is trimmed because we shipped them slightly long. But that's for pacing reasons. Unlike live action, animation doesn't have multiple takes of the same scene. Sometimes editing is done for time reasons because the format of the original doesn't match the timeslot for some reason. Multiple episode "movies" that were originally shown in a single block may have fewer commercials than the episodes would have if they aired as half hours. So the half hour episodes must be trimmed.

So, I guess this means that more than one episode has been trimmed down to size. Interesting...

4.) In the "Negaduck" episode, there appears to be evidence of a scene edit when Darkwing's evil side enters The Old Haunt. Was the scene edited, and why?

Sorry. My copy of that tape is in a box in the garage under a ton of stuff. I don't recall the specifics without seeing it again.

Phooey. *pouts*

5.) Did you ever intend to have an origin episode for Quackerjack, or to tell us his real name? What is his real name, anyhow?

I was very disappointed in Quackerjack. The voice never captured what I had in mind originally. Yet because of production pressures, I never made an effort to change it. As it was, Quackerjack became popular enough as what he was so there was no reason to change him into what I wanted him to be. No recollection of a specific name.

Quackerjack: Waaahh! Daddy doesn't love me! *blows nose into a hanky; sniffles*

Aww, don't worry, Quacky, we like you just the way you are. *hugs QJ* Which brings us to our next question...

6.) What type of character were you hoping to capture in him?

I wanted him to have a more psycho edge, sort of the Joker to Darkwing's Batman. I wanted him to be capable of being a real threat, instead he was mostly silly.

O_O Umm, no offense, Tad, but I think Negaduck is psycho enough for the entire range of villains in the series. And there are some people who are scared enough of Quackerjack as it is!

Quackerjack: And there's nothing wrong with being silly! I just love to have fun with my crime sprees, that's all. And who says I can't be a real threat? *evil grin*

Uhh... *backs away from the evil clown* Okay, next question...

7.) Inquiring minds want to know: why did The Liquidator only get one episode all to himself? Nine out of ten fans agree that he had a lot of potential. ;)

It's just a matter of what stories were pitched. His personality was a little too one note for single episodes although he worked fine in a group. Megavolt and Bushroot had enough personality for dozens of episodes more.

Well, that is true. I guess this can be a sort of hint to fan fiction writers: developing The Liquidator's personality may be a very good idea.

Liquidator: It does get kinda boring spouting one-liners all the time. Someone get creative with me here!

8.) I found a list of episodes that were going to be made, originally found on a Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers discussion forum, and I'd like to confirm if these are in fact real. If so, I'd also like to know what they're about:
(A) Breakfast of Chumpions
(B) Pranks for the Memories
(C) Yours, Mayan, and Ours

I wasn't involved in the last 15 or so episodes. They might have been in there.

Phooey again. *pouts some more*

9.) If there's a Negaverse, is there also a Posiverse? And is there a Posiduck?

I pitched a Posiverse story to ABC but they were uninterested. The story remained untold and I've forgotten what it was.

Well, Tad, if you ever remember what the story was, feel free to tell us what it was! We'd love to hear it!

10.) Did you come up with all the characters, or did the writers from the show make up some of them?

I came up with most if not all the concepts of the main characters and villains. However, it was often the story editors who fleshed them out, especially the villains. Doug Langsdale (currently producing, "Dave the Barbarian") could write Megavolt like no other. the man's a comic genius.

I agree, Megavolt is probably the funniest villain on the entire show.

Megavolt: Thank you, thank you. *bows* No applause, just send money.

11.) Toon Disney is currently censoring a lot of Darkwing episodes, whether it be gunplay scenes, such as in "Time and Punishment," or entire episodes, such as "Hot Spells." A lot of cartoons for children these days have much more controversial content in them, and they hardly ever get censored. What are your feelings on this?

I think the episodes were fine as originally aired. Disney Channel has a softer G-rating than broadcast TV and can be PC sensitive to the point of paranoia.

That's putting it lightly.

12.) Are you aware that most female fans of the show dislike Morgana Macawbre?

I would be careful of the word "most." "Most" female fans I've talked to think she's great and many have written fanfics of her further adventures with Darkwing. But these things go in cycles on the net, starting with one or two people who state very strong opinions one way or another.

I apologize to all you female Morgana fans out there. Please don't hurt me!

Morgana: Maybe they won't, but I will! *zaps Melissa*

*is covered in soot; coughs* I deserved that... *faints*

13.) How do you correctly spell Morgana's surname anyway? I chose that spelling because I know it's a combination of the name Macaw, a type of parrot, expressing Morgana's exotic nature, and the word "macabre." At least, that was my impression.

I know we spelt it one way and consumer products spelled it differently once or twice. The parrot part never entered in to it... until you just pointed it out to me. It was either Macabre or Macaber. I believe I used the former.

Melissa the Overanalyst strikes again! *slaps forehead*

14.) Who was your favorite villain from the show?

Megavolt in the hands of Doug Langdale (currently producing "Dave the Barbarian" for the Disney Channel.) I like Bushroot a lot but he's barely a villain. Left on his own he'd eventually come over to the good side.

Megavolt: Boo yah! I'm the favorite! *dances* Go Megavolt, go Megavolt, it's your brithday...

Bushroot: Heeeeey, he likes me, too!

Megavolt: You heard the man, you're barely a villain!

Bushroot: Am not!

Megavolt: Are too!

Bushroot: Am not!!

Megavolt: Are too!!



ARGH, will you both shut up?! ... Ahem. Sorry about that, folks. Moving on...

15.) Which episode was your favorite?

I don't have a single favorite. I like "That Sinking Feeling" because it was the first script and executed well. I like the first Splatter Phoenix script. "Negaduck" and the first Morgana Macabre episode are pretty high too. Favorite scripts differ from favorite shows but I can't recall specifics other than "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain."

My personal favorite is Darkly Dawns the Duck, myself. Where it all began... *sings* MEM-oh-REES...

16.) I noticed you were one of the executive producers for Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Who's the better hero, in your opinion: Darkwing or Buzz? And who has the bigger ego?

Darkwing definitely has the bigger ego. Buzz actually IS the greatest space hero. He's just very confident. "Better hero" is a weird term when dealing with cartoon characters. Ultimately they're both created for entertainment although Darkwing was meant to be more comedic.

I've actually been considering writing a Buzz / Darkwing crossover fic. Maybe I can test that little theory!

17.) Many fans would love to see the entire DW series released on DVD. What are the chances of that happening?

Who knows? I tend to doubt it because they want it to play on Toon Disney forever. Some year when there's a shortage of video product, some exec may think about releasing the various series.

There's hope! YES!

18.) How did Gosalyn's parents die?

I don't think we ever stated the particulars.

Fanfic writers, are you getting this?

19.) You once stated that you could easily see Morgana and Darkwing getting married. You think they would have kids, too?

Definitely. It would make for a hilarious series too but probably too domestic for Disney. Plus Disney no longer supports the old "funny animal" shows.

In the words of Warner Bros.'s Freakazoid: "Aww, nutbunnies."

Darkwing: *in shock* More... kids... other than Gosalyn? Ooohh... *passes out*

20.) Can I post our question and answer sessions on Flapping Terror? Please?

Sure. Knock yourself out.... but wear a helmet.

Hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Tah-tah for now!

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