“Futurama” might have aired its final episode on Sept. 4, but the show isn’t gone forever. There are plans for a crossover with “The Simpsons” that is currently being developed and will continue to keep the “Futurama” characters alive and well — for one more episode, at least.
During the “Futurama Live” finale event at the YouTube Space LA, Zap2it spoke with “Futurama” creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen about the planned crossover. As the finale episode “Meanwhile” ended on a pretty uplifting but conclusive note, the pair admitted that the “Simpsons” crossover won’t take place after the finale chronologically. It’s just tricky to figure out when it actually does take place in the “Futurama” timeline.
“This is what I would say: I mean, we were canceled for several years. I think the crossover episode probably happened then, because can you imagine how many exciting adventures happened in those years that we never heard about? It’s got to have fallen in there somewhere,” Cohen says, noting slyly that the characters on “Futurama” just happen to never discuss the events of the “Simpsons” crossover episode afterward, despite it apparently happening between seasons chronologically.
As for what the episode is about, Groening says, “I think time travel is involved. We’re still working on it.”
“Meanwhile” is the fourth “series finale” written for “Futurama,” so there is a small hope that the show might not be gone forever this time either. There aren’t concrete plans for the “Futurama” world to live on beyond the finale and crossover, but Groening is leaving the door open.
“The people that work on the show — the actors, the writers, the animators, everybody — loves doing it and we all get along. It’s the dream team and it would be a shame if we all went our separate ways forever. We’d like to do it for the pal reasons, the friendship reasons. We don’t have a place to go yet, but maybe,” he says. “It’s not over anyway because there’s always the reruns and the DVDs and fan art and all that. And I’m sure the comments will never end as people dissect these episodes.”
This time the approach to making the final episode was a bit different. Groening and Cohen decided to finally bring main characters Fry and Leela together by giving them a wedding and having them end up together for good. Groening says “Meanwhile” is “more fatalistic” than the previous finales because “we’re starting to believe the rumors of our own demise.”
“Every time we’ve been cut short before, we felt very unhappy that we weren’t able to tell more stories, and I think this last go-around we finally got out a lot of stories that we’ve had in mind since the very beginning of the show,” he says.
Cohen adds, “Of all our final episodes, this one is the most final because we do show Fry and Leela’s wedding, and that is the natural culmination of their years of Fry being an idiot and chasing after her, and him growing as a character and maybe finally being worthy of her. It makes sense that if this is the end that this would be our real, real finale.”
But even with it being a “real, real finale,” Groening thinks there’s a way to have the show live on if the possibility arises in the future. “There is a finality to this episode, although we have painted ourselves into so many corners that we manage to jump out of,” he says.
Groening and Cohen made it clear they were satisfied with the way “Futurama’s” seventh season played out, but there were some storylines they never managed to bring to life. One was a big inspiration for “Meanwhile’s” frozen universe plot, but the original story Groening and Cohen dreamed up was much more ambitious.
“There was a story where time froze and Fry and Leela were stuck there and there was one character traveling backwards in time who turned out to be Fry and Leela’s offspring,” Cohen explains. “This was a story that was so complicated; it involved a character not just moving backwards in time but whose dialogue was all reversed digitally. None of it made a lick of sense, but it would have been really cool.”
Groening adds, “We also need to do something about explaining where Roomba vacuum cleaners really came from.”