When season 26 premiered in September, the creators of "The Simpsons" killed off Krusty the Clown's dad, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, shocking both fans of the show and social media users. Now another character may be next on the chopping block.
In a crossover episode of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," the longest-running animated show on television left a mysterious teaser featuring the headstone of Ralph Wiggum during the closing credits, which aired on Nov. 9. Lesly Goldberg of The Hollywood Reporter asked executive producer Al Jean if Police Chief Wiggum's son, who also has some affection for Lisa Simpson, really was on the short list of death.
"No, [it was] just a random joke," Jean said. "In a previous future show, we saw Ralph as a police chief with multiple clones - each being killed."
Jean also mentioned that some fans interpreted the year 2017 on the headstone as the final season, but he had doubts that the award-winning show would end by that time.
However, Jessa Carter (known by her Twitter byline @DangerGirl101) of CarterMatt.com argued that the rabbi's death on "The Simpsons" season 26 premiere received a lot of press attention and turned into a massive ordeal. She doesn't think that another character death would happen soon on that animation.
"We cannot really see 'The Simpsons' ever killing off another character, unless there is a request maybe from a voice actor or something controversial happens behind the scenes," Carter wrote. "Now that they've been through the controversy of the past year, it feels like they are going to prioritize more trying to do some great things with the characters that they have, and get attention from casual fans in other ways."
In the world of animations such as "The Simpsons," the producers and writers often kill off a character and bring it back to life later. However, Jean told Avery Thompson of Hollywoodlife.com in September that the death of Krusty's father is a permanent change, fueling speculation that the next character death will be treated in a similar fashion.
"Well, when we kill them, they stay dead. That's my motto," Jean said. "But, you know, in animation you can certainly have somebody remember somebody else or fantasize or have a dream about them, so I wouldn't rule that out."
Thompson reported that Jackie Mason, who won an Emmy for his voiceover in the episode "Like Father, Like Clown" in 1992, was the voice of Rabbi Krustofsky.
Jean told The Hollywood Reporter that he was surprised by the reaction surrounding Krustofsky's death.
"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. "People all over the world were trying and are trying to solve still this mystery."
Viewers can find "The Simpsons" airing on Fox at 8 p.m. Sundays. Previous episodes from this season can also be watched online through the Fox website.