The Simpsons Showrunner Al Jean on How the New Marvel-Themed Short Came to Life

Throughout its more than 30-year run, The Simpsons has lampooned virtually every corner of pop culture, though the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company has opened the door for even more storytelling opportunities, including the all-new Disney+ short The Good, The Bart, and The Loki. More than merely featuring nods to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the short enlisted Tom Hiddleston to voice his Loki character, who finds himself in Springfield and on a collision course with the town's resident prankster, Bart Simpson. The Good, The Bart, and The Loki is now streaming on Disney+.

"We got the deal to do the crossovers, we would generate them and then send them to either Star Wars or Marvel for approval," Simpsons showrunner Al Jean revealed to ComicBook.com about how the project came to life. "The deal was closed in January, so the first thing we wanted to do is hit 'May the Fourth Be With You' for Star Wars. As we were finishing that around April, we said, 'Hey, Loki's coming up as a mini-series, late June, early July. We could hit that. It's quick, but we can do it.' And once I saw that, I thought, 'Well, Loki's the natural because it's going to be a smash and, Tom Hiddleston, if we can get him to voice Loki, he's really funny.' So that was the key and we did, and it was everything we had hoped for."

This is far from the first time the animated series has embraced the spirit of comic books, as it has featured not only overt references to popular characters, but even seen famous figures within those worlds voice characters for various adventures. As a lifelong collector of comics, Jean reflected on how the world of comics has changed over the years.

"It's surreal, and I can even quote one of the most surreal moments of my life where I got to have lunch with Stan Lee," Jean pointed out. "And I said, 'Wow,' it was like 20 years ago, 'I'm so excited. I've always wanted a Spider-Man movie to come out.' And he said, 'So have I.' I was like, 'I guess you have, haven't you.' I'm so glad that he saw, and so many of the Marvel creators got to see, these things go from beloved ... I wouldn't say 'niche,' because they were super popular, but to so amazingly huge in the world. It's fantastic. It's amazing."

While timing was a helpful component when it came to conceptualizing the short, The Good, The Bart, and The Loki also had unexpected connections to the future of the MCU.

"We just had to figure out a story and the basic story we happened upon was that Bart is to Loki the way Lisa is to Thor, that they're both jealous of these siblings. I thought, 'Oh, well, Lisa could be Thor because Natalie Portman is Thor in the next movie.' Then it was the idea that Loki envies Bart's life and once we had that, then we had a story," Jean detailed. "Then the other thing we wanted to do was to do this ridiculous amount of post-credit sequences for a four-minute short, because the Marvel movies always make you sit in your seats until the very end. And we did that, too. And then the last sequence, obviously we didn't see anything [about Loki in] advance. We saw the trailer when it came out, we saw the episodes as you've seen them on Disney+. But when the first episode came out, Jim Brooks said, 'We've got to do a reference in that short.' So we parodied the first episode at the end of this and then we had to stop. We couldn't go further. And I don't know, people would ask me, 'Do you know how it ends?' I don't know. I've only seen three or four episodes like everybody else."

He continued, "I think the second one talked about Loki falling a long distance and we have him falling a long distance so it was actually closer than I ... it was one of those prediction things where it's closer than I had hoped. My only prediction about the ending is it won't wrap things up completely."

In regards to future shorts, Jean teased, "We'll keep doing it as shorts. We'll do other stuff on Disney+ or maybe go back to Marvel and Star Wars. With the series, we have another two seasons and we're halfway into the first of those two. And it's just amazing to me to be able to do new episodes with these characters, the same basic cast, and reflect the world of 2021. I mean, I never would've dreamed back in 1991 that we would still be going."

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The Good, The Bart, and The Loki is now streaming on Disney+.

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