Folks, we live in a post Disney/Fox Merger world, and we’ve only seen the earliest stages of what this strange new frontier will show us. Today brings us another signal of just what sort of reality this corporate undertaking will entail, and it’s a doozy of an announcement.
The Simpsons, once the crown jewel in the Fox Television Network firmament, is obviously now a shared child between the former rival entities, and it will be heading to a very interesting place in the future: Disney’s D23 Expo. Oh wow, this is real, isn’t it?
It was announced that on Saturday, August 24th, at 10 AM PT, The Simpsons' creative team and some voice stars will host a panel discussing the show's television future will be held at Anaheim’s D23 Expo floor. And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s going to be a collectable Simpsons item that will only be sold at D23.
The panel’s guests will include the series’ creator Matt Groening, who has poked quite a bit of fun at Disney in the past. He'll be joined by executive producers Al Jean and Matt Selman, supervising director Mike B. Anderson, and Simpsons voice actors Nancy "Bart" Cartwright and Yeardley "Lisa" Smith themselves.
Should any readers be huge fans of The Simpsons, not only will attending this panel deliver the goods, but sticking around after the panel will be just as fruitful. All of the special guests mentioned above will be taking part in an autograph-signing session for an hour after the panel has concluded.
Beyond this being good news for regular D23 attendees, Disney's embrace of the animated family is a rather interesting prospect when you think about the possible effects it might have on another big pop culture event: San Diego Comic-Con.
What makes this whole enterprise rather weird, and another signal that I’m not used to this Disney/Fox merger just yet, is the fact that fans traditionally find The Simpsons at San Diego Comic-Con, being promoted with all of the other big ticket shows on the Fox network. Of course, now that the merger is complete, we might be seeing another change to the SDCC landscape coming rather soon that reflects recent self-imposed exits.
The big question that comes out of this announcement, made by the D23 folks themselves, is whether or not The Simpsons, or any other 20th Century Fox shows for that matter, will be making an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con. In the past, we’ve seen Marvel Studios pull out of the big trade show, in favor of the homegrown Disney convention that celebrates a full decade of operation this year.
Though seeing as Marvel's position might change with this year’s show, there may not be as big of a studio pull-back from SDCC as initially thought. At least, not for this year’s show. For now, what we do know is that D23 will be host to a pretty big event that celebrates The Simpsons (as well as others within Fox/Disney’s new corporate family) moving forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards their shared future. (Quote semi-attributed to Animated Bill Clinton.)
The Simpsons premieres its 31st season of record-breaking television this fall on Fox, with the premiere date coming on Sunday, September 29, at 8:00 p.m. ET.