The Future of The Simpsons ?

Next Friday, the beloved cartoon family The Simpsons will be coming to the big screen in The Simpsons Movie and had a chance to attend a small press conference with the creators, where they told us a bit more of what to expect on the show’s next season and the ubiquitous question of a sequel.

“This coming season on the TV show, which is in the works, is just about our most ambitious yet,” “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening admitted, before passing the baton to producer Al Jean, the current showrunner, for a brief preview.

“Yeah, the premiere is September 23rd,” Jean told us, “Stephen Colbert plays a life coach that Homer gets because he wants to turn his life around and he’s great, the next week we have a show that has Placido Domingo and Maya Rudolph as guest stars, where Homer becomes an opera star, and he has these groupies who are these middle-aged matrons that chase him around and Marge is really jealous. We also have Jon Stewart coming up later in a political show where they move Springfield’s primary to first in the nation and the candidates come and invade the town and the town is so disgusted, they all write in ‘Ralph Wiggum’ so we’re actually trying to start a ‘Ralph for President’ boom in 2008.”

Jean also told us that there would be a “couch gag” at the beginning of the first episode of the new season that refers back to what happens in the movie. “The key to the show is that each episode sort of goes back to Square One, it’s like a cosmic Moebius Strip, so the movie will work its way into the show, but you don’t have to have seen the movie to like the show.”

Having just finished the movie after working on it for four years, it was probably way too early to say whether or not they’d want to make a sequel to the movie, even though it’s likely to make a bucketload of money next weekend.

“We’ve finished the movie so recently,” series creator James L. Brooks concurred. “As you know, we have a joke about it.”

Al Jean took the more serious approach to the question: “I would think too that it would be the same role of this movie in that we’d do a sequel if we had a great story, and we wouldn’t do it just to do a sequel. You see movies that come out where you’re like ‘Why did they do another one? I loved the first one so much.'”

Groening got the last word on the sequel question with, “So what we’re saying is 18 years from now.”

Matt Groening also briefly spoke about his other series “Futurama” which will be returning in a big way later this year. “We’re doing four straight-to-DVD ‘Futurama’ movies and then new episodes on Comedy Central starting in 2008. The first DVD for ‘Futurama’ will be out for the holidays.”

The Simpsons Movie opens everywhere on Friday, July 27. Check back next week for a lot more with the creators.


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