November 17, 2018


(Cartoon Network, August 23, 2003-November 11, 2005)

Warner Bros. Animation

Tia CarrereQueen Tyr’ahnee, Lieutenant O’Hara, various
Michael DornMartian Centurion Robots, Captain Long, Ensign Checkmate, Diplomat, Klunkin Fighters
Frank Welker – Commander K-9, Captain Dallas Rodman, Mainsuit, various

For the history of Looney Tunes, check out the post here.

            Duck Dodgers is the recurring alter-ego of Daffy Duck (Mel Blanc). First appearing in 1953’s Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½th Century directed by Chuck Jones, the character was a spoof of the popular Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s. The short had Dodgers battling with Marvin the Martian (also Blanc) over ownership of a planet that contained a rare element; eventually resulting in the planet’s destruction. 

Duck Dodgers confronting Marvin the Martian.

            A sequel, Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 ½th Century, also directed by Jones, was released in 1980 with almost exactly the same plot as the original; except this time, Marvin was trying to solve Earth’s energy crisis (by destroying it). Three more shorts were made around the character: 1996’s Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension starring Joe Alaskey, which played in select venues; Superior Duck, which also came out in 1996, starring Frank Gorshin; and Attack of the Drones in 2003, starring Jeff Bennett. Within that timeframe, the character had also made appearances in video games; the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures; the live-action hybrid film Looney Tunes: Back in Action; featured as patches for the 1st Space Launch Squadron’s Mars Exploration Rover missions; and the short itself had been seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Babylon 5, as well as been re-released to theaters ahead of the reissue of Star Wars: Episode IV at the request of director George Lucas.

The cast of Duck Dodgers: Star Johnson, I.Q. Hi, Dodgers, Cadet, X-2 and Queen Tyr'ahnee.

            2003 certainly seemed to be the year for Duck Dodgers as the character was given his first television series by Cartoon Network. For the show, Captain Duck Edgar Dumas Aloysius Eoghain Dodgers (Alaskey) was a 21st century duck who was accidentally frozen and revived by Dr. Ignatius Q “I.Q.” Hi (Richard McGonagle) in the year 2350 AD. Using various schemes and lies, he managed to trick everyone into believing he was a hero back in his own time, when in reality he was a water boy for a football team. As such, he was made a member of the Galactic Protectorate and given his own sidekick, The Eager Young Space Cadet (aka Porky Pig, voiced by Bob Bergen). Dodgers traveled the universe, carrying out the Protectorate’s mission to defend it from the forces of evil. Of course, the only way he succeeded in those endeavors was through sheer dumb luck and the work of the Cadet, who was much smarter than Dodgers but loyal to his partner. Dodgers’ chief rival in the Protectorate was Captain Star Johnson (John O’Hurley), who was his better and tried to sue Dodgers over his incompetence.

Dodgers with Z-9 and Dish.

The primary foes of the Protectorate were the Martians, whose army was comprised of Martian Centurion Robots (all Michael Dorn) and instant Martians grown from seeds with water. They were led by Martian Commander X-2 (aka Marvin, voiced by Alaskey). X-2 was Dodgers’ arch-nemesis (even though X-2 regarded Dodgers as more of a nuisance), and he was aided by his loyal dog, Commander K-9 (Frank Welker). Newly created for the show was the Martian Queen, Tyr’ahnee (Tia Carrere); a competent ruler whose ability far outshone her rival, the incompetent and cowardly President of Space (Tom Kane), who always hid in his fortress. She had developed feelings for Dodgers and had a civil friendship with I.Q., despite their being on opposing sides. Tyr’ahnee was briefly overthrown by Martian General Z-9 (Corey Burton) and his cyborg second-in-command, Dish (Tara Strong), in an attempt to conquer both Mars and Earth.

Cadet with Rona Vipra.

Other new characters included Black Eel (Jim Cummings), a parody of DC ComicsBlack Manta; Victor Von Boogieman (Bennett), a thief from the disco planet Groovica; the Magnificent Rogue (Tim Curry), a handsome and suave celebrity villain; Camoman (Jeff Garlin), who could blend into any surrounding (except plaid); Rona Vipra (Paget Brewster), a bounty hunter that eventually flipped allegiances and aided Dodgers; Hungortus, an alien entity with limitless cosmic powers (a parody of Marvel ComicsGalactus); Flame Valet (Tom Kenny), a lawyer with fire powers that served as the herald of Hungortus (a parody of Galactus’ herald, Firelord, from Marvel Comics); Counselor Combustion (Jennifer Hale), fellow lawyer and sister of Flame Valet (also a parody of another herald, Frankie Raye); Master Moloch (Quentin Tarantino), a gibbon-like alien who trained Protectorate Agents; and Steve Boston (Chris Edgerly), a cyborg known as “The Six Wazillion Dollar Man” (a parody of The Six Million Dollar Man); and Maninsuit (Welker), a giant docile monster controlled by the Martians (and a parody of Godizlla, which is where the name came from); amongst others.

Marvin knows he's the real reason the show exists.

Duck Dodgers premiered on August 23, 2003 on Cartoon Network. It was developed by Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone, Paul Dini and Tom Minton. The series was pitched three times. The first two times were directed towards Kids’ WB and featured a third female member of the crew; initially a humanoid woman named Sparky and then Lola Bunny, who had made her debut in 1997’s Space Jam (Lola instead appeared as a NPC in the 2000 video game, Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck). Ultimately, it ended up at Cartoon Network when they were looking for a show that featured Marvin.

Tom Jones gets Tuned.

Dodgers went beyond its initial science-fiction source material to lampoon various elements of pop culture. The series ran for three seasons with episodes comprised primarily of two segments each. Brandt, Cervone, Dini and Minton served as the primary writers, with additional work from Tom Ruegger, Mark Banker, Kevin Seccia, Ken Daly, John Matta, Michael Grodner, Jeff Goode, Bradford Schultze, and Tim McKeon. The series’ theme was composed by Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, arranged by The Flaming Lips and performed by Tom Jones similarly to his rendition of the theme from the film Thunderball. Jones would also make an appearance as himself in an episode performing his hit, “It’s Not Unusual”. Robert Kral and Douglas Romayne handled the rest of the series’ music. It used a combination of cel shading for its characters with CGI animation for the space backgrounds and ships. The animation was provided by Yearim Productions.

K'Chutha Sam.

A number of other Looney Tunes characters made appearances on the show in various roles; typically, antagonistic. Amongst them was Yosemite Sam as K’Chutha Sa’am (Maurice LaMarche), leader of the Klunkins (a parody of Star Trek’s Klingons); Elmer Fudd as the parasitic mind-altering Mother Fudd (Billy West), who gave anyone infected Fudd’s personality (based on Star Trek’s The Borg); Count Blood Count as the fat-sucking vampire, Count Muerte (Jeff Bennett, whom the studio wanted as Dodgers to tie into his casting in Back in Action and even recorded an episode, but circumstances with the film allowed the production to go with their first choice); Wile E. Coyote as the Predator-like Alien Hunter (Dee Bradley Baker), who was actually the preserved Wile E.; The Goofy Gophers as Martian Gophers (Rob Paulsen & Jess Harnell) who caused trouble for X2 and Dodgers; Witch Hazel as Leezah the Wicked (June Foray), a character in a virtual MMORPG who needed Dodgers to rescue her; the scientist from Water, Water Every Hare as mad scientist Dr. Woe (LaMarche), who was X2’s archenemy; Taz as the Tasmanian Warrior (Cummings), a savage creature from the sentient planet Masatevo; Petunia Pig as Princess Incense (Jodi Benson); Rocky and Mugsy (Alaskey & Kevin Michael Richardson) as gangsters hired by Dodgers and Cadet to form their own crime family to take down another one; Crusher (John DiMaggio) as the best surfer in the universe; Ralph Phillips as Baby-Faced Moonbeam (Dick Beals, his original voice actor), an evil little boy with electromagnetic powers; the Shropshire Slasher (Alaskey) as the Andromeda Annihilator, a convict seen in a space prison; and Nasty Canasta (Richardson) as an intergalactic bounty hunter. Michigan J. Frog (Jeff McCarthy) also appeared as the host of a talent show, and the Animaniacs were reimagined as the Cadet’s niece and nephews Porko (Paulsen), Puerco (Harnell) and Sow (Tress MacNeille). Although he was mentioned several times, Bugs Bunny is intentionally never seen (except for an appearance in issue #159 of DC’s Looney Tunes anthology comic, which featured Duck Dodgers stories based on the show starting from #118 before reverting back to the classic iteration in #237). 

Enter: the Green Loontern!

Along with the aforementioned Jones, there were several crossover appearances made by real people and characters from other franchises. Dave Mustaine of the band Megadeth was featured in an episode with the band preforming “Back in the Day”. The DC Comics characters of the Green Lantern Corps were also featured after Dodgers had mistakenly picked up Hal Jordan’s (Kevin Smith) uniform from the cleaners, turning him into the Green Loontern. He aided the Corps against the latest plot by their greatest foe, Sinestro (John de Lancie). 

The complete series.

Duck Dodgers was nominated for an Annie Award and four Emmy Awards in 2004, and two more Emmys in 2005. Alaskey won the 2004 Emmy for “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program”. Warner Home Video released the complete first and second seasons to DVD in 2013 a few months apart. The third was finally released in 2020, with the entire series released onto Blu-ray in 2023 featuring the original short as a bonus feature. It was made available to stream on the Boomerang app and to digitally purchase on Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu and Google Play. The episode “The Green Loontern” was included as a bonus feature for the direct-to-video movie, Green Lantern: First Flight. The Green Loontern would also make a return appearance as an unlockable character in the video game LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Season 1:
“The Trial of Duck Dodgers / Big Bug Mammas” (8/23/03) – Dodgers is put on trial for his misconduct. / Alien girls kidnap Dodgers and plan to eat him.

“The Fowl Fiend / The Fast & the Feather” (8/30/03) – Dodgers gets a robot assistant. / Dodgers competes in a race against Martian Commander.

“Duck Deception / The Spy Who Didn’t Love Me” (9/6/03) – Dodgers and Cadet sneak onto a Martian ship to restore power to their own. / Dodgers has to escort a spy to a planet infested with Martians.

“Duck Codgers / Where’s Baby Smarty Pants” (9/13/03) – Dodgers and Cadet have to get past Martian Commander to get to a spring to stop their accelerated aging. / Dodgers distracts a peace treaty signing while Cadet escorts a baby there.

“I’m Going to Get You Fat Sucka / Detained Duck” (9/20/030) – A fat-sucking vampire turns Dodgers into his slave in order to get at Cadet. / Criminal Drake Drakstar trades places with his look-a-like: Dodgers.

“K-9 Kaddy / Pig of Action” (9/27/03) – K-9 is harassed by gophers while Martian Commander plays golf. / Cadet becomes powerful after finding a piece of glowing ore.

“Shiver Me Dodgers” (10/4/03) – Dodgers, Cadet and Martian Commander infiltrate a pirate spaceship in order to steal their invisibility device.

“They Stole Dodgers’ Brain / The Wrath of Canasta” (10/11/03) – The Martians steal Dodgers’ brain to learn his secrets, but his replacement brain turns out to be an upgrade. / A bounty hunter attempts to blow Dodgers’ cover to the Martians.

“The Green Loontern” (10/18/03) – Dodgers becomes an unlikely member of the Green Lantern Corps.

“Quarterback Quack / To Love A Duck” (10/25/03) – To prove he can be right about something, Martian Commander attempts to turn Dodgers into a star quarterback. / Tyr’ahnee wants to marry Dodgers, even if he doesn’t want to in return.

“Hooray for Hollywood Planet” (11/1/03) – Dodgers heads to Hollywood Planet where a film is to be made about him—or is it?

“The Queen is Wild / Back to the Academy” (11/8/03) – Tyr’ahnee tries to get revenge on Dodgers by kidnapping Cadet. / Dodgers is sent back to Galactic Training Academy.

“Enemy Yours / Duck Departure” (11/15/03) – Dodgers has to prove he’s a worthy adversary for Martian Commander. / Dodgers quits the Protectorate to work in a restaurant.

Season 2:
“Pig Planet” (8/14/04) – Cadet relays a story from his past to his young relatives.

“Invictus Interruptus / Pet Peeved” (8/14/04) – Dodgers and Cadet take on a Martian super weapon. / Dodgers adopts a shady pet.

“The Menace of Maninsuit / K-9 Quarry” (8/14/04) – Dodgers, Cadet and Rikki Roundhouse have to rescue an entire planet. / Martian Commander goes for a hunt on Mars.

“Talent Show A Go-Go / The Love of A Father” (8/14/04) – Dodgers uses Tom Jones’ voice to win a talent show. / Dodgers accidentally frees a criminal that resembles a kid.

“The New Cadet / The Love Duck” (8/14/04) – Dodgers resists a woman’s attempt to seduce him. / Dodgers and Cadet set up a love boat in order to earn some money.

“The Fudd” (8/14/04) – A hive-mind alien race called the Fudd assimilates every being they encounter in a plot to destroy the sun.

“The Mark of Xero / I See Duck People” (1/7/05) – Dodgers invades a planet to free its populace. / No one believes Dodgers when he claims his ship is haunted.

“Deathmatch Duck / Deconstructing Dodgers” (1/14/05) – Dodgers tries to save a planet from the destruction of Taz. / While stranded on a space station, I.Q. and Tyr’ahnee discuss Dodgers’ intelligence…or lack thereof.

“M.M.O.R.P.D. / Old McDodgers” (1/21/05) – Cadet introduces Dodgers to his favorite digital role-playing game. / Dodgers teaches Cadet farming so they can grow food.

“Diva Delivery / Castle High” (1/28/05) – Dodgers and Cadet’s escort duty goes any way but easy. / Dodgers explains to I.Q. what happened to his castle.

“Surf the Stars / Samurai Quack” (2/4/05) – A bully challenges Dodgers to a surfing contest. / Dodgers hallucinates after eating a poison blowfish.

“Of Course You Know This Means War and Peace” (2/25/05) – Cadet ends up in prison for a blunder of Dodgers’ while General Z-9 plots to overthrow the Queen and destroy the Protectorate.

Season 3:
“Till Doom Do Us Part” (3/11/05) – Robot assembles all of Dodgers’ enemies in order to enact his revenge.

“Villainstruck / Just the Two of Us” (3/18/05) – Dodgers has to keep the Earth from becoming a water planet. / Dodger and Martian Commander end up stranded, while their underlings all take a vacation.

“The Kids Are All Wrong / Win, Lose or Duck” (4/8/05) – Dodgers and Cadet go undercover in high school to find a device that affects teens. / Earth and Martian teams are abducted to compete on a deadly game show.

“Boar to Be Riled / Clean Bill of Health” (4/15/05) – Dodgers starts a biker gang to get a free rocketcycle. / I.Q. creates a device for Dodgers that works a little too well.

“The Best of Captains, The Worst of Captains / That’s Lifomatica” (4/22/05) – Dodgers and Star compete to win “Captain of the Year” and the heart of a colleague. / Dodgers’ new robot tries to take over his ship.

“Diamond Boogie / Corporate Pigfall” (9/16/05) – Dodgers and Cadet look to reclaim some diamonds from the Martians. / Cadet becomes the head of a successful company, which Dodgers tries to sabotage.

“The Six Wazillion Dollar Duck” (9/23/05) – Dodgers is turned into a cyborg and has to prevent the Martians from getting their hands on the technology.

“Too Close for Combat / The Fins of War” (9/30/05) – The Martians make it so that Dodgers and Cadet believe the other is out to kill them. / Dodgers and Cadet are sent out planetary ambassadors.

“Good Duck Hunting / Consumption Overruled” (10/7/05) – A bounty hunter hired to kill Dodgers joins him instead. / Dodgers and the Martians hire lawyers in order to convince a galaxy-devourer which of their planets to eat next.

“A Lame Duck Mind” (10/14/05) – When the President of Space locks himself in his closet, the codes to open it must be retrieved from Dodgers’ brain.

“Master & Disaster / All in the Crime Family” (10/21/05) – Dodgers and Cadet learn kung-fu in order to beat a thief. / Dodgers tries to retrieve the greatest gum in the galaxy from The Serpenti Gang.

“In Space, No One Can Hear You Rock / Ridealong Calamity” (11/4/05) – To save Earth’s music from the Martians, the band Megadeth is revived. / Dodgers and the Martians try to plot how to get I.Q. to go back home to Earth.

“Bonafide Heroes” (11/11/05) – Dodgers becomes the subject of a reality show.

Originally posted in 2018. Updated in 2023.

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