What the duck? Don Cheadle voices Donald Duck in DuckTales

The pantless Disney star has never spoken this clearly before.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper

Donald Duck's always been tough to understand. But in the season finale of the DuckTales revival airing this weekend, his famous voice gets a much needed boost.

In the clip, Donald tries to speak in his normal bubbly-babbly duck voice, but his nephews and friends end up frustrated at how little they can understand. Things change when Donald is force-fed "The Barksian Modulator." 

As one observant fan noted on YouTube, the device is almost certainly named after Carl Barks, one of the artists who drew Donald Duck as well as the original creator of Scrooge McDuck. And it works: suddenly Donald begins speaking in the polished, well-modulated voice of actor Don Cheadle, aka War Machine from the Marvel Cinematic Universe .

"You gotta bring your A-game when you're trying to be Donald Duck," Cheadle says in a short interview posted by Disney Channel. He also relays how he prepared for the role, which includes eating a lot of duck and not wearing pants.

It seems that the Cheadle voice is just for the season finale, however, so don't discard those Donald Duck-to-English dictionaries just yet.

The DuckTales finale airs Saturday on Disney Channel.