"The Shadow War!" is the twenty-third episode of DuckTales (2017). It debuted as an hour-long special and was later split into two half-hour episodes, with the first half-being titled "The Night of De Spell!" and the second half-being titled "The Day of the Ducks!". It is also the season 1 finale.
With Magica De Spell close to exacting revenge on Scrooge, the family races against time to plan a dangerous rescue mission to save Scrooge and the city.
Part 1: "The Night of DeSpell!"
At Duckburg harbor, Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey, and Louie are moving back into the houseboat with Webby Vanderquack helping them. Though Webby is ecstatic with living at the harbor, the triplets, still mad at Scrooge are resigning themselves to the mundane ocean-faring lives they had before they met Scrooge.
Meanwhile, Magica De Spell, still in control of Lena's body ever since taking it for her own, prepares for the coming of the eclipse when she comes across the gates of McDuck Manor. Lena resurfaces briefly to wrestle her body back from Magica, trying to stop Magica from hurting Scrooge, but Magica's powers force her back into submission. Just then, Launchpad McQuack drives up to check on Scrooge who has secluded himself due to the family breaking up in the last episode but Scrooge turns him down. Observing that the mansion has been abandoned, Magica has to pretend to be Lena and baits, Scrooge, into letting her in by reminding him of the triplet's broken impressions of him. With her opportunity to get the Number One Dime and have revenge on Scrooge now in progress, Magica comes right to the front door and is greeted by a sloven, disheveled Scrooge recovering from his fallout.
Launchpad then goes to visit the family at Duckburg harbor and notices the boys are throwing away the items they acquired on their past adventures to remove any reminder of Scrooge. Donald tries to cheer up by announcing to the triplets they will be moving to Cape Suzette the next day. Overhearing this, Webby and Launchpad panic about losing the family and so they decide to set up a secret farewell party to get Donald, the triplets and Scrooge back together.
Back at the manor, Magica is disappointed towards Scrooge's regression and comes to the conclusion that Scrooge's funk is all a trick, thus she decides to get the Dime when Scrooge is out cold.
Webby and Launchpad then commence their plan for the party. After getting the triplets to join, Launchpad calls Scrooge to invite him. Magica answers and mimics Scrooge's voice, accepting the invitation to ruin this for Scrooge.
Unfortunately, Bentina Beakley finds out about the surprise party, scaring Webby. Knowing Beakley could find out about their ulterior motive, she panics. During the dinner party, Beakley catches onto Webby and Launchpad but agrees to help them, wanting to also help the family and Scrooge get back together.
Masquerading as Lena, Magica tries to drug Scrooge, but Scrooge gets nostalgic and bitter towards the thought of his family that he accidentally drops the drugged tea- to Magica's chagrin. As the eclipse draws closer, Magica realizes Scrooge really has fallen into a depressive state so she talks him into returning to his original solo adventuring style. Scrooge gets excited to start fresh and discards his belongings except for the Dime, which Magica becomes insistent over. When her attempts fail, she assaults the elderly duck for the Dime. Scrooge and Lena/Magica fight for the Dime before Magica finally procures it just as the eclipse appears, bestowing upon her magic to free herself from the Dime. Alive and powerful once more, Magica traps Scrooge and Lena.
Back at the houseboat, Beakley attempts to guilt-trip the family by telling the triplets how Scrooge nearly went bankrupt looking for Della Duck and scolds them for making him feel more miserable for Della's loss.
While trapped, Lena complains about how terrible Magica is as a family and her wish to be in one like Scrooge's. Scrooge sympathizes with Lena and agrees to welcome her into his if she helps him stop Magica. However, Magica cuts them off to absorb Lena into her shadow and trap Scrooge inside the Dime.
The dinner party soon concludes although the triplets, having caught onto the party's intention, still want to leave Scrooge behind, but Donald has second thoughts after Beakley's speech and declares their family has been apart for too long. The sentiment shared, the family finds it in their hearts to forgive Scrooge and set out to reunite with him. At that moment, the group hears a sudden explosion from outside, only to then witness Magica's shadow magic erupting from McDuck Manor.
Part 2: "Day of the Ducks!"
Magica then uses her magic to bring forth a cascade of shadow monsters from everyone's shadow and amass over the Money Bin as Magica's new fortress. Among the shadows, the one belonging to Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera takes the Gizmosuit for its own before Fenton can stop it.
Both Webby and Beakley fearfully identify Magica as the source. Webby explains that Magica was Scrooge's bitterest rival who met her defeat by Scrooge fifteen years ago in a battle for the Dime on Mount Vesuvius. The family is then joined by Gyro Gearloose, Manny the Headless Man-Horse, and Lil Bulb, having escaped from the destruction of the Money Bin.
Donald takes the lead of the situation, although his incomprehensible voice makes it difficult for the others to understand him, so an impatient Gyro forces Donald to swallow a device that gives Donald an intelligible voice. Donald, now coherent, inspires everyone towards the Money Bin to save Scrooge. Donald coordinates Gyro's group to the bridge to distract Magica's shadow army and Launchpad to crash into the shadow mass while he and Beakley sneak behind the Bin. However, he wants the kids to stay at the harbor to keep them safe from Magica, although the kids ignore his wished and set off to the Bin, starting by searching for Lena to help them.
At the amphitheater, the kids discover Lena's room underneath the stage. Finding her journal, the kids read an excerpt detailing Magica's defeat by Scrooge years ago and how Scrooge imprisoned her inside the Dime, which forced Magica's shadow to find refuge inside her staff (the talisman Lena wore) and spawned Lena from it. Webby is heartbroken because of the truth, but the others find a secret message detailing Magica's plan and learn they must free Scrooge from the Dime.
Magica then sees the oncoming attack on her and launches her counter-attack. The others take care of the shadows as the kids swim under to enter the Money Bin. Launchpad tries to crash the Sunchaser into the shadow mass on the Money Bin but gets swatted by it. When Donald's houseboat breaks down, Beakley fights off the shadows and promises to look after his boat as Donald swims the rest of the way to the Bin.
The kids manage to enter the Money Bin, but Magica's power creates more shadow duplicates in response to the intruders, so Dewey cuts off the power with Louie's retrieved khopesh to keep the lights off. Finding their way to Scrooge's office, the kids are confronted by shadow duplicates of the McDucks and Scrooge's enemies before Donald bursts in and takes them all down. Donald admits he purposefully told the kids to stay put so they would come and has them continue towards the Bin as he handles the other shadows.
Magica catches sight of the kids and blasts at them. To get to the Dime, the kids perform a strategic distraction to hold her off. Meanwhile, Donald faces off the Gizmoduck shadow. Fenton joins Manny and Lil Bulb in their battle on the bridge, soon joined by Beakley after she sinks the houseboat. Launchpad steps out of the airplane onto the wings to take the shadows head-on.
In the battle against Magica, Huey distracts her by asking questions related to her while Louie tricks her into thinking she broke a cursed mirror. Webby personally engages Magica in honor of Lena before she and Dewey are tossed down and are about to be destroyed by the sorceress. However, Lena's residual magic draws enough strength from Webby's friendship bracelet to magically protect Webby from the blast and Lena briefly revives herself from Magica's shadow only for Magica to destroy her instead. An angered Webby fights Magica head-on, causing her to drop the Dime that Dewey then catches. Though Dewey tries to reconcile with Scrooge, he realizes they can't do so mid-battle. Magica blasts magic at Dewey but unwittingly aims for the Dime instead, freeing Scrooge and returning him from the Dime. Scrooge then confronts and taunts Magica, thanking her for keeping his family together, disarming her with his cane, sending her staff flying, and it falls onto Donald's head and cracks, causing Magica to lose her magic and shadow army. Magica bemoans her loss, right when Launchpad falls from above and crashes on top of her, forcing Magica to make a hasty escape.
Though the day is won, Webby mourns for the fallen Lena, although the triplets comfort her and state Lena will always be with her, not noticing the remnants of Lena now residing inside Webby's shadow. The kids then happily reunite with Scrooge. Just after, Donald's voicebox breaks and he has his old voice returned. In celebration, the family then swims inside the gold.
Meanwhile, on the moon, a rugged Della is shown using salvaged spacecraft parts to watch the news report on the family saving Duckburg, and the sight of her sons surprises her.
Magica De Spell makes her first full appearance in her true form in this episode.
A teaser of her reveal was shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2018.
Don Cheadle, known for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as James Rhodes/War Machine, makes a guest appearance as Donald Duck.
The reason Donald's voice changes is because of Gyro Gearloose's Barksian Modulator. This echoes the plot of the Donald short Donald's Dream Voice.
The casting of Don Cheadle, whose Marvel Cinematic Universe character War Machine is a member of the superhero team "The Avengers", may be a subtle reference "The Duck Avenger", the English name of Donald's superhero alter-ego "Paperinik" in Italian comics.
An error in the episode is that after Dewey takes off the life jackets, his clothes are back to normal.
This episode reveals many secrets about the series:
It reveals the reason Magica wanted Scrooge's Number One Dime is because she was trapped inside it.
It reveals that the reason Lena has no freedom is because she is Magica's shadow.
It reveals that Della is still alive, seemingly on Earth's moon in the wrecked Spear of Selene.
This is the first time the theme song plays at the very beginning of an episode.
There was an extended version of Manny and Bulb fighting shadows and comparing scores like Gimli and Legolas that was cut for time.
This episode was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, but lost to Watership Down (miniseries).
The title is based on the episode "Magica's Shadow War" from the original DuckTales.
If you look closely at Manny in the shot where Donald is trying to grab Magica's staff, you can see his "eyes" blink.
When Magica turns Scrooge's money into ice cream, that might have been a reference to the 1987 episode A Whale of a Bad Time, which is known for Scrooge's tantrum over losing half his fortune, to which he called "ice cream".