There are a number of things that could have happened in the movies that did not – the original script was about a teen moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles and starting a hockey team there. The original script was also much darker and adult-themed. Of course, once Disney picked it up, they chose to tone down the adult elements and introduce more comedic scenes with the kids.
While it’s all too possible that the movie could have been successful had the adult elements remained, the comedic and child-friendly tone of the movie no doubt helped it become one of the highest-earning movies of 1992.
The Real Mighty Ducks
While they don't use the uniforms, and they dropped the “Mighty” from the title, the Anaheim Ducks did get their name from this hockey trilogy. In fact, Disney was the company that founded the team, though they sold the team in 2005. The team has achieved reasonable success, having qualified to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs fourteen times, won six Pacific Division titles, two Western Conference championships, and one Stanley Cup (for the 2006-2007 season).
It's amusing that, given the theme of the movies that the team has sometimes been known as being relentlessly physical. They once got Estevez as Bombay to make a hype-up video for them.
Following the Leader
The surprising success of “The Mighty Ducks” gave rise to a slew of movies that focus on kids' sports and their adult managers. Examples of these include “Little Giants,” “Little Big League,” “Rookie of the Year,” and perhaps the most famous, “The Sandlot.” It turns out that “The Mighty Ducks” was following its own leader, “The Bad News Bears.”
The scriptwriter for “Ducks,” Steven Brill, said that he loved “The Bad News Bears” and wanted to create a hockey version since it was his favorite sport. These movies often have the teams start as underdogs, though grow into winners in one manner or another.
Charlie Sheen was given the opportunity to play the role of Gordon Bombay but turned it down. His brother Emilio instead appeared. Bill Murray was interested but was deemed too old for the role. Other candidates include Chevy Chase, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, and Tom Hanks. Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned for Charlie, and Jake Gyllenhaal was the first choice for the character, but his parents wouldn't let him move to Minneapolis for filming.
Juliette Lewis auditioned for Connie. Vincent LaRusso was originally considered for McGill and Lawson, but the actor who was originally hired for Banks (his name has never been revealed) bullied another cast member and was fired. The producers then gave LaRusso the role.
Hey...You Look Familiar
Actor Jack White appears in all three films, though in two different roles. In the first two films, he was a referee, but in “D3,” he was Coach Wilson, the coach of Eden Hall's Varsity team. White has actually been involved in many films that have to do with hockey and is what IMDB calls a “hockey technical advisor” – essentially someone that makes sure the details are right.
Scott Whyte plays two different characters in “D2” and “D3.” Screenwriter Steven Brill plays a different minor role in each film, and in “D3,” the members of the varsity team are acted by the same ones who played the Hawks in the first film.