Darkly Dawns The Duck is a TV animated film, the feature-length pilot to the Darkwing Duck series, written by Tad Stones and Jymn Magon based on a story developed by Stones and Jan Strnad. The story features Launchpad McQuack and, in their debuts, Darkwing Duck, Gosalyn Mallard, Taurus Bulba, Hammerhead Hannigan, Clovis, Hoof and Mouth, Mrs Cavanaugh, Warden Waddlesworth and Tantalus. Clovis's Mother and Professor Waddlemeyer are mentioned, with the latter also seen in picture form.
The quest for public recognition of St. Canard's self-proclaimed bespoke masked vigilante, the egotistical Darkwing Duck, leads him to take in orphan girl Gosalyn Waddlemeyer. Though he will come to care for her to the point of adoption, his interest in the girl starts with the fact that criminal mastermind Taurus Bulba has his sights on her, hoping she can give him the code to active a superweapon built by her late grandfather… Mayhem ensues, compounded by the clumsy (if good-hearted) attempts of Darkwing's greatest fan, clumsy air pilot Launchpad McQuack, to get Darkwing to take him on as his new sidekick!
- Professor Waddlemeyer was murdered by Taurus Bulba's gang shortly after completing the Ram Rod.
- The Waddlemeyer Ram Rod is described as “a tachyon-specific device that disrupts gravitational bonds on a molecular level which allows manipulation on a macro scale”.
- Darkwing Duck keeps a boy scouts handbook underneath his pillow.
- Darkwing's high-tech secret lair is located inside the Audubon Bay Bridge.
- Launchpad McQuack describes himself as Darkwing's biggest fan and has spent “the last year” building a custom-made plane just for him, the Thunderquack.
- Taurus Bulba and his gang built up Bulba's prison cell into an Airship.
- The story is confirmed to take place around the time of its release by Darkwing's quip that Tantalus must be “travelling south for the winter”, consistent with a September setting.
- The film was adapted into a comic miniseries made up of four chapters: Darkly Dawns The Duck (1991), For Whom The Bull Toils! (1991), Fowl Play! (1992) and The End of the Beginning! (1992). The adaptation is generally faithful, but switches some dialogue around and adds the occasional detail. Notably, Clovis dies in the comic, whereas she is seen surviving the events of the film.
- Taurus Bulba, still injured from the events of the climax of the film, later reappeared as the main antagonist of Steerminator (1992) and The Duck Knight Returns (2010).
Behind the scenes
Darkly Dawns The Duck was originally released as one feature on September the 6th, 1991 on American television, later being broken down into two normal-length episodes of Darkwing Duck for reruns.