The Simpsons Showrunner Confirms There Had Previously Been Talks of Spinoffs

While the titular family has been the key fixture of all episodes of The Simpsons, over the course of 33 seasons, fans have met a variety of hilarious and complex characters, some of which become key components of episodic narratives. Given that The Simpsons has also been able to deliver audiences a feature film and a number of different shorts, it's clear that some of the supporting characters have enough background to be able to become the focus of adventures independent from the family, with showrunner Al Jean recently detailing that creator Matt Groening had previously hoped to develop a spin-off series that would deviate from focusing solely on the family.

"Anything is possible. There was a discussion a long while ago about doing a spin-off series of Simpsons background characters, but [James L. Brooks] felt at the time that he wanted to concentrate on the main show, which has paid off in 33+ seasons, but I'll just say there's no animated property like The Simpsons that hasn't gone on in various forms forever," Jean confirmed with when discussing spin-off potential.

The Season 7 episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" embraced the concept of exploring the lives of other Springfield residents and what they got up to when they weren't directly interacting with the Simpson family, with Jean noting that it was the potential demonstrated in that episode that led to talks of such a spinoff.

When discussing the nature of that episode and if a spinoff would follow such a formula, Jean confirmed, "That was what led to the discussion. Matt Groening wanted to do a series like that, but it didn't go through."

A potential spin-off series isn't the only expansion project that had been up for discussion, as Jean confirmed earlier this year that there were talks of doing another film, though the pandemic and reopening of movie theaters complicated those talks.

"We were really talking about it a lot before the pandemic. And now I think just as a caution, I want to see how movies and, specifically, animated movies come back, because I wouldn't want to do it just as a streaming experience," Jean confirmed with about a possible sequel film. "We really want it to be a theatrical movie because that was the point of the first one, it was a thing you couldn't get anywhere else. I'm going to movies, I'm vaccinated. I'm really rooting for the movie industry, but I want to see what, personally, the landscape is. And then they also have so many great movies, I think they have five Avatar movies, five Star Wars movies in waiting ... so they have a lot to roll out and we're going to go see Black Widow this weekend. I'm going to support the theater, even though I have Disney+."  

Stay tuned for details on the future of The Simpsons franchise.

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