As the Walt Disney Company continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary, let us consult the tea leaves and try to speculate just what the entertainment conglomerate wants to do with The Simpsons.
- CEO Bob Iger recently spoke about the importance of quality over quantity. Sure, he was specifically talking about Marvel’s recent underperformance at the box office, but maybe, just maybe, he was secretly thinking about The Simpsons, which passed the 750 episode mark this year and is only getting more expensive to license.
- There’s a rumor that 20th Century Studios recently greenlit James L. Brooks’s upcoming film Ella McKay in hopes of convincing him to do a sequel to 2007’s The Simpsons Movie. Maybe that’s true, but 20th and Brooks already have a longstanding relationship (his production company Gracie Films is located on the Fox studio lot) and frankly it doesn’t seem like Brooks would need much convincing (the Disney+ shorts were his idea). As I see it, the main obstacles are that everyone is 16 years older and the circumstances that made the first movie possible have changed.
- Remember back in 2019 when Matt Groening announced a Disenchantment comic book series? Well, good news, it’s finally being released, four years later and after the show has ended. The podcast Talking Simpsons speculated the delay might’ve been due to behind-the-scenes squabbling between Groening and Disney over Simpsons publishing rights, complicating Groening’s plans for a comics app.
- Disney Parks chairman Josh D’Amaro claims they have enough space in Anaheim “to build another Disneyland there if we choose to do that.” Might The Simpsons find a home there if the Universal contract is not renewed?
(Thomas Hawk on Flickr)
Universal Parks News Today reports that construction walls have been put up outside The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. The ride itself is still open, but a statue featuring the Simpson family inside a ride vehicle that stood near the attraction’s entrance has been removed.
What’s going on??? What could this mean??? I have multiple theories:
- They’re adding a new Simpson
- The statue was abducted in a brazen heist by notorious crimethief Carmen Sandiego
- They’re refurbishing it
- It turns out that for the past 15 years they didn’t actually have a license to use the Simpsons IP, and Disney sent them a cease & desist
- In the actual ride’s storyline, Maggie does not ride along with the rest of the family, so maybe they’re finally rectifying this glaring continuity error
- A 10 year old boy cut off Bart Simpson’s head to impress three older kids, and Universal removed the whole thing so young children wouldn’t be traumatized
- Whoever stole the Buzzy animatronic from EPCOT is back to their old tricks
- Something involving wokeness
- The statue is being held for ransom by an extremist group demanding the return of the Back to the Future ride
Whatever the case may be, let’s hope it returns soon. Having the Simpsons near the sign that says The Simpsons Ride is essential to the ride’s environmental storytelling, in that people need to know who the Simpsons are before they ride their eponymous ride.
Howdy pard’ners, this here’s a roundup of Simpsons news items from all over yonder.
- Former Simpsons composer Alf Clausen has dropped his wrongful termination lawsuit against the show, from which he was fired via email in 2017. Clausen, who was passed over for The Simpsons Movie in favor of Hans Zimmer, was replaced by Zimmer’s “Bleeding Fingers” composing collective, and the orchestra he led for decades was replaced with a more budget-friendly synthesizer. Simpsons producers claimed they let him go because “they didn’t think the classical- and jazz-inclined Clausen was up to the challenges of more contemporary tunes.” You know, like a parody of “America” from the 1957 musical West Side Story or “Tonight (Quintet),” also from West Side Story. [Deadline]
- Way back in 2006, I wrote a quick post about fashion designer Ivy Supersonic accusing Simpsons producer Sam Simon of stealing her idea for a squirrel/rat character and putting it in the Ice Age movies, which he had nothing to do with. Recently, there were some viral tweets claiming Disney no longer owns the character Scrat as a result of her long legal crusade, which doesn’t appear to be, uh, true. Charles Kenny of The Animation Anomaly did some digging and cleared some things up. [The Animation Anomaly]
- Holy shit you guys…. there was a thing about trucks in Canada, and wouldn’t you know it… The Simpsons featured a truck once!!!! [Reuters]
- What happens when Universal Studios’s Simpsons contract expires in 2028? Will Disney try to do their own version of Springfield? Podcast: The Ride discussed that and more in an episode all about The Simpsons Ride. Here’s my proposal: a version of CityWalk called Hulu Highway featuring businesses from Disney’s more “adult” properties: Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons, Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Drunken Clam from Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers from Allen Gregory, ISIS Headquarters from Archer, etc. [Podcast: The Ride]
Could Fry, Leela, Bender and the rest of the Planet Express gang be making a move from New New York City to Tomorrowland?
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One of the specialty drinks served at Moe’s at the Simpsons area in Universal Orlando is the “Mt. Swartzwelder Apple Drink,” named after legendary Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder. Also, a non-alcoholic (booo), non-flaming Flaming Moe described as having a “great citrus taste” and a zero-calorie cherry-flavored Buzz Cola, neither of which is canon, blegh.
Universal Studios Florida – sorry, Universal Orlando Resort, officially announced the addition of a Springfield-themed area next to The Simpsons Ride, thus confirming the rumors from back in November.
Here’s what their Facebook page says about it:
It will be the only place in the world where you can walk the streets of Springfield, grab a Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, imbibe at Moe’s Tavern and more! Plus there will be Duff Beer – brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando – and a new attraction called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl that will take you “foolish humans” on an intergalactic spin designed to send you into orbit!
By “streets” they must mean “street,” singular, if the artwork is anything to go by. Also there’s something called “Cletus’ Chicken Shack” which is NOT CANON and should be boycotted at all costs.
In related news, Universal just jacked up the price of admission to $92, thus becoming the first Orlando theme park to go over $90.
[Inside the Magic]
Well, that guy in Springfield, Oregon may have failed in his attempt to create a “Simpsonsville”, but it looks like Universal Studios Florida (which I think is different from Universal Studios Islands of Adventure but I’m not totally sure) might be getting a Simpsons Land around its Simpsons Ride attraction, if “one ride surrounded by a bunch of price-gouging gift shops and restaurants” even counts as a theme park land these days. Some theme park blog called Screamscape (which I don’t think is even a “blog” since it appears to just be a static web page that gets updated when new rumors come in) has been on the case since September, when they posted this:
According to Screamscape sources, we can expect to see the International Food Festival food court eatery next to The Qwik-E-Mart [sic.] closed in the next few weeks in order to undergo a major transformation to become Simpsons themed. Rumor has it that we will see the addition of a true Krusty Burger and Moe’s Tavern appear here in time for late Spring 2013. I can only assume that we will see Universal take what they learned about adding custom food and beverage items from the Wizarding World [of Harry Potter] and bring some tasty edible Simpsons items to life. Who else is up for a Flaming Moe?
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Lest you think The Simpsons Archive, the holy grail of Simpsons nerdery, has been slacking (it is currently seven years behind on its encyclopedic episode capsules), contributor Tim Reardon [?!] has written an incredibly thorough 18,719- word summary, transcript, and review of The Simpsons Ride, including every line in the queue videos, the pictures on the walls, and a list of every character who appears in it. Why pay $50 to go on the ride when you can read this instead? [The Simpsons Archive]