In case you missed it The Mighty Ducks are back with a whole new series. This isn’t just a 90s throwback, though. It’s a whole new underdog adventure about a group of kids that are brought together by hockey.
The new Disney+ series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers starts when Evan Morrow (Brady Noon) is cut from The Mighty Ducks team (now a pretty big deal), and his mom (Lauren Graham) decides that they’ll start their own team for kids that want to have fun rather than just focusing on cutthroat competition. She even convinces Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez, original Mighty Duck!) to coach their misfit team, The Don’t Bothers.
One of the Don’t Bothers is Maya, a popular girl who isn’t quite sure she’s friends with the right people. We caught up with Maya–you might know her as Taegen Burns–to get an inside look at the series and what it’s like to take on The Mighty Ducks.
Taegen got started with acting and modeling around the time she was in kindergarten. She was inspired by her three brothers who were also working as young actors. “I kind of wanted to be doing what they were doing,” she told us, “so I copied them, and here we are.”
Now, a Disney star, Taegen takes the ice as Maya. “I think it was interesting taking on that character,” she told us. “…to play that role, it comes with a lot of attitude and tone, so for me, it was really just kind of practicing and learning when I speak my line and just rehearse where to use that tone and have that sass.”
While Taegen is all-Maya on-screen, she told us she actually isn’t much like her character. “I don’t know if we have that much in common,” she said, but she does think that both she and her character want to help others and are ultimately good friends to the people in their lives.
Now, that The Mighty Ducks is officially streaming, we get to see all of the hockey moves that the cast has learned to make the games feel realistic, and Taegen shared with us that there was a lot of practice put into that. In fact, part of that process is one of her favorite moments from filming. “I’d say my favorite moment during this whole process of filming had to have been the first day because I just feel like the first day–actually not the first day on set, but the first day of hockey training (we had that first)–and I feel like that first day…That was so exciting and actually really nerve-wracking for me.” Hockey training took place for two weeks right at the start of filming and they had another two-week session when they returned to film after filming was interrupted by COVID-19. These training intensives are where Taegen learned to skate and became close with her castmates.
Filming for The Might Ducks: Game Changers started in February 2020. That’s over a year ago! “It’s bizarre to me,” Taegen said about the show’s Disney+ debut. She can’t believe it’s finally here. Taegen even stayed up late to watch the first episode when it was released. Now, she’s watching along with the rest of The Mighty Ducks fans as new episodes air each week.
As new episodes come out, we’ll get to see how the Don’t Bothers take on The Mighty Ducks, people’s doubts, and their own hangups, and that’s something Taegen is excited for as well. “I’m excited for people to see Maya develop and gain confidence,” she said.
Part of the fun on-set was learning hockey choreography, but Taegen had a few other tricks up her sleeve that she shared with us. One day on set, they were filming on the ice, and Taegen convinced a co-star that one of the scarves an audience member was wearing was hot pink. “I’m pretty sure it was actually blue or something,” she told us. She then got the cast and crew in on the joke as well. It wasn’t until a few hours later that her co-star figured out what was going on.
Taegen is an athlete herself, playing soccer, basketball, and tennis before she laced up her skates and joined the Don’t Bothers. That doesn’t mean she plans on joining a hockey team, though. Instead of chasing wins on the ice, she’s waiting for the next Game Changers episode to come out just like we are. Why? For the Easter Eggs, of course.
To prepare to film the show, Taegen watched all three of The Mighty Ducks movies to get a feel for the characters and what the franchise is all about. It also gave her a leg-up on catching all of the hidden secrets in the Disney+ show which she shared incorporates Easter eggs from the original movies. It adds nostalgia to the show. She wouldn’t share any of the Easter eggs with us (no spoilers!), but she said to be on the lookout for nods to the movies. She’s excited for people to see and point them out.
She’s also excited just for people to see and enjoy the show. “The message of this show is a great message,” she told us.
It’s really talking about friendships and teamwork and never giving up no matter how many times you just really get knocked down, and just not giving up. It’s a great underdog story, and it’s awesome.”
For all of that awesomeness, catch Taegen and the rest of her team on Disney+. New episodes of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers come out every Friday.