Is 'The Simpsons' Plotting Another Character Death?

Exec producer Al Jean weighs in

Is Fox's The Simpsons plotting another character death?

More than a month after Krusty the Clown's father passed away in its season 26 premiere, the animated hit dropped a cryptic teaser during the closing credits of Sunday's Futurama crossover.

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During "Simpsorama," the cast of Futurama came to present-day Springfield, with Homer and company returning the favor, taking their own trip to the 31st century. As the closing credits rolled, a headstone (pictured above) signaled that recurring oddball Ralph Wiggum — the lovable son of Police Chief Wiggum, with eyes for Lisa Simpson — died in 2017.

So is poor Ralph, the weirdo behind one of The Simpsons' best quotes ever, really in jeopardy?

"No, [it was] just a random joke," executive producer Al Jean tells The Hollywood Reporter. "In a previous future show, we saw Ralph as a police chief with multiple clones — each being killed. Some have interpreted 2017 as the last year of the show, which is possible but I doubt it."

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Jean previously told THR that he was surprised by the attention the show received after he casually mentioned the show was planning to kill off a character voiced by an Emmy winner.

"I was doing an interview where they asked what episodes we had coming up and I said, 'Well, a character dies and the actor who played the character won an Emmy for that portrait,' and that turned into this huge puzzle," Jean said after the season 26 premiere. "People all over the world were trying and are trying to solve still this mystery."

The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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