WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the second episode of DuckTales third season, “Quack Pack”, which premiered on DisneyXD
One of the most exciting prospects of the third season of DuckTales is how the universe is primed to grow to include almost all the different characters from across the animated Disney Afternoon slew of shows. This means some memorable big-name figures like Darkwing Duck and Goofy will make appearances, along with more obscure figures from across those shows. This even includes one minor character who had just a single appearance in the original DuckTales.
Gene the Genie — who only appeared briefly in the original DuckTales canon — just made his first appearance in the modern incarnation of the show, and unlike his previous versions, he doesn’t lose his powers.
Gene the Genie was first introduced in the 1990 animated film DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. In that film, Scrooge found a magic lamp while searching for the treasure of Collie Baba. Unaware of what the lamp really was and the power it contained, Scrooge allowed Webby, Huey, Dewey, and Louie to keep it. They discovered the genie inside it — befriending him and hiding his identity from Scrooge out of fear that he’d want to take the genie for himself.
However, Gene’s powers were revealed and Scrooge soon found himself competing with Dijon and the ancient Merlock for control of the lamp and Gene’s power. At the conclusion of the film, Scrooge wishes that Gene be released from his duty as a genie and allowed to live a regular life as a mortal boy. Gene only appeared in the film (as well as a brief cameo in the 2011 DuckTales/Darkwing Duck comic crossover “Dangerous Currency”), and hasn’t reappeared until now.
“Quack Pack” opens with the Duck family seemingly trapped in a sitcom world, unaware that anything is different from their usual lives. It’s a parody of the genre of entertainment, and specifically, the 1990s television show Quack Pack, which was a conventional sitcom staring “extreme” 90s versions of Donald and the triplets. It’s an extremely meta twist for the show to take, especially as Huey slowly realizes how the world has changed and is able to help the rest of his family realize what is happening.
It’s eventually discovered that the shift in reality was caused by Gene the Genie and his magic. While searching for his lamp in the real world, Scrooge and the rest of the family were caught up fighting scorpions. Donald panics and inadvertently activates the lamp — freeing Gene and wishing for a more “regular” life. Gene is less of a playful friend to the children and more of a casual jokester. He also doesn’t ever turn into a child or give any wishes to anyone but Donald, although he’s never malicious or cruel in his actions. He even tries to give the family advice as they make their way through the sitcom world.
When Donald refuses to end the wish and the rest of the family tries to fight the projected reality, human-looking creatures from the “studio audience” attack the family and force them to flee. The whole family is forced to fight them until Donald comes to terms with how his family is perfect just as it is, and uses the lamp to break the wish. Gene even ends up giving Donald one more wish, which allows Donald to get his dream picture of the family all working together. Notably, the episode ends with Gene with his powers and presumably returned to his lamp, which means that his lamp may have been claimed by Scrooge and his family. They’ve solved one of the missing mysteries, and claimed one of the more powerful artifacts in the world.
DuckTales brings back an obscure character who only appeared in the DuckTales film for one of the most meta episodes of the series.