As The Simpsons reaches its 700th episode, producer Al Jean admits he doesn't know "how much further" the long-running animated comedy series will go. Just recently, Fox put in the order for another two seasons of The Simpsons, guaranteeing the cartoon will stay on the air until at least 2023. The renewal also means we'll ultimately have at least 757 episodes of the series overall.
Speaking about the milestone episode with Variety, Al Jean was asked about the future of the series. The producer laughs at the idea of making it to an even 1,000 episodes, pointing out that it would take another 12 years to reach that marker. All he knows for sure is that we'll reach 757 at the very least, and while Jean sees the The Simpsons going a bit further, he also notes that the party is going to have to end sooner or later.
"We're definitely going to do 757 [episodes]. I wouldn't say that's the end but I don't know how much further we can go."
While The Simpsons has to end at some point, Jean also predicts that the franchise will not simply go away. In fact, Jean feels that it would just be a matter of time before Fox reboots the series once the original version concludes its legendary, record-setting run. It's hard to argue his point, with other classic animated shows like Beavis and Butt-head getting new reboots in the works. As Jean explains:
"As soon as they cancel us, they'll reboot us. I'm confident, after I'm gone, there'll be some sort of Simpsons [reboot] coming. It's too ubiquitous to think that it'll just disappear."
It's been quite the journey for The Simpsons. The animated family was originally conceived by Matt Groening for animated shorts to air on The Tracey Ullman Show, first appearing in 1987. Based on the popularity of the crudely-drawn family, The Simpsons was given its own show at the tail end of 1989, becoming one of pop culture's most recognizable TV shows ever since. At nearly 700 episodes, it's become the longest-running American animated series as well as the longest-running American sitcom.
Appearing on the series since the start, the voice cast includes Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer. Also appearing in supporting voice roles are Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille, and Maggie Roswell. Over the course of the series, we've also lost several fan favorite voice actors from the show, such as Phil Hartman, Marcia Wallace, and Russi Taylor.
Over the past year, the cast has also seen some notable changes. Previously, the producers announced that white voice actors would no longer be voicing non-white characters. Major characters have since been recast, as veteran voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson recently took over the role of Dr. Julius Hibbert from Harry Shearer.
The 700th episode of The Simpsons, dubbed "Manger Things," premieres on Sunday, March 21, at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. A sneak peek clip from the episode has been released ahead of the premiere. This news comes to us from Variety.