The Duck Knight Returns is the 16th episode of Season 2 of DuckTales 2017. It features Scrooge McDuck, Dewey Duck, Launchpad McQuack, Jim Starling/Darkwing Duck/Negaduck, Megavolt, and in their debut Drake Mallard/Darkwing Duck, Alistair Boorswan, Tad, Hot Couture, and the Darkwing Dancers. The 2017 versions of Liquidator, Quackerjack, and Bushroot also appear, and Gizmoduck and Johnny Empire are referenced.
While attending an autograph signing by actor Jim Starling, Launchpad and Dewey learn that Darkwing Duck is being made into a a film, Darkwing: First Darkness, by McDuck Studios. However, upon learning that the dark, atmospheric reboot stars Drake Mallard in his old role, Starling convinces Launchpad to help him sabotage the film.
- The end of the final episode of Darkwing Duck before its cancellation, which was alluded to in Friendship Hates Magic (2019), is seen.
- The title is borrowed from The Duck Knight Returns (2010), the original Darkwing Duck's grand comic comeback.
- Jim Starling sits in a recliner while signing autographs, a nod to Darkwing Duck's means of entering his secret lair in the Darkwing Duck (1991) cartoon.
- While facing off with Drake Mallard, Jim Starling wields a chainsaw, foreshadowing his transformation into a new Negaduck, as the original Negaduck was often seen using one.
- The way Jim Starling's Darkwing Duck inspires a young Drake Mallard, leading to Drake one day becoming Darkwing Duck, is copied off the way that, in the Prime Universe, a time-traveling Darkwing Duck was the original role model of his younger self, as shown in Paraducks (1991).
- Launchpad's speech is lifted from the lyrics of the Darkwing Duck (1991) theme song.
- Jim Starling and Drake Mallard both disliking Gizmoduck references the rivalry between Darkwing Duck and Gizmoduck in the Darkwing Duck (1991) cartoon. Drake's dislike for Gizmoduck recurs in Moonvasion, Let's Get Dangerous!, and The Last Adventure.
- One of the Darkwing Duck posters in Drake Mallard's trailer depicts Darkwing aboard the Quack Copter, first seen in the cancelled second wave of the Darkwing Duck toy line.
- The plotline of a failed attempt to get a (horrible) Darkwing Duck movie off the ground seems a reference to the parody webcast starring Jim Cummings, Darkwing Duck: The Movie Kickstarter Project (2013).
Behind the scenes
The episode aired on May 17, 2019 in the United States of America.