A few weeks ago, TV lost a true legend when former Batman star Adam West passed away at the age of 88. Unlike many who reach that age, West still kept his career going strong, even returning to his caped crusader role for a pair of animated features. For today's TV audiences, his absence will be felt the most on Family Guy, where he voiced a non sequitur version of himself as the Mayor of Quahog. Now, executive producer Steve Callaghan has explained that more Mayor West is definitely on the way, and he hinted at what could happen next.
Mayor West will be in five more episodes of the show that are scheduled to air this coming season. . . . He's such an integral part of the series that it never even occurred to us to take that out. I would almost feel like that was somehow not properly honoring him. I think the proper way to honor him is to keep the character in the show. There were two or three episodes where his character had been written in, but he hadn't yet recorded those, so obviously we've made accommodations for that. There was one scene where he was officiating a wedding, and it was easy enough to just have a different character do that. I [wouldn't] even consider having someone come in and try to imitate his voice.
Two rounds of thanks are warranted here. First, hooray for five more episodes with Mayor West! Second, hooray that presumably no one on Family Guy's staff had the monumental breach in logic to seriously suggest another actor coming in to serve as Adam West's replacement for the role of Mayor Adam West. It's a show that doesn't exactly scream "Class!" on a minute-to-minute basis, so guarantees are never an option.
Admittedly, there are some ways it could play out in both an honorable and a comedic sense, but only in a super-temporary fashion. For example, if West's former co-star and decades-long friend Burt Ward would step in for the Mayor's final appearance, that wouldn't be so heinous. If Mayor West took off a mask and revealed himself to be George Clooney's Batman, though...yikes.
Understandably, Steve Callaghan was still emotional and fairly distraught when talking to EW about Adam West's time on Family Guy, and the still-fresh pain hasn't faded. It's possibly even been heightened as the show's creative team obviously had to go back and rewatch and re-listen to Adam West's yet-to-air performances to make sure nothing needed to be edited out for any reason. (Note that nothing needed to be edited out, though.)
As for what will happen beyond Adam West's final recordings as The Mayor, it's still up in the air, but fans can expect something fitting. According to Steve Callaghan:
That is something we've only barely started to talk about. In a very real, emotional way, I feel like we're all still kind of going through our own grieving process. We haven't really even had a full conversation about it. He just seems so irreplaceable. I don't know who could fill those shoes. If we do replace him, it would probably be a character that is very different, or maybe Quahog just goes without a mayor for a little while. There could very well be a situation where we leave that office empty as a tribute for at least some period of time. It's been a little too painful for us really get too deep into that conversation just yet.
So perhaps Family Guy will do the standard TV comedy thing and simply throw another character into the mix as the head of the town, or maybe that entire element gets completely removed from the show. Either way, fans are missing out. And as Callaghan points out, Family Guy is also still dealing with the death of Carrie Fisher, who also voiced a recurring character.
With more of Mayor Adam West's surreal antics still to come, Family Guy will return to Fox for Season 15 on Sunday, October 1, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows will arrive before then, head to our summer premiere schedule.