The Simpsons recently received another renewal over at Fox and, for all the positive press the acclaimed animated series has gotten over the past decades, one controversy has loomed over its head as of late. The Simpsons removed Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from its series after complaints that the character was problematic, and while the show has taken steps to ensure the character won't be offending audiences anytime soon, Apu has yet to be re-integrated into the series. But that could be changing soon.
For those who may have lost hope that Apu would ever return to The Simpsons, there has been a significant development. Creator Matt Groening recently spoke to USA Today about the show and, when asked about Apu, he had this to say:
We've got plans for Apu, but we have to see if we can make the stories work. . . . We're working on something kind of ambitious. That's all I can say.
The news is sure to be exciting for fans, though Matt Groening also confirmed that the series has not found a voice actor for Apu since Hank Azaria stepped down from voicing him. While itt may disappoint some that there are seemingly no immediate plans to bring the character back, it does seem like the team at The Simpsons are indeed looking to incorporate him and his family back into the series in some way moving foward.
One has to wonder exactly what Matt Groening means by "ambitious," especially in the context of a series that just celebrated its 700th episode. The series has done it all and then some, so what in the context of The Simpsons would be considered ambitious? This is only speculation, but I wonder if perhaps an Apu-centric spinoff could be on the way?
It's possible, though, this could also mean The Simpsons will re-introduce Apu in one of its upcoming episodes and explain why he's been away for so long. In either case, Matt Groening's choice in saying "stories" would imply viewers will have more than one adventure involving Apu, though he also confirmed the team is still vetting the ideas to make sure they work.
Matt Groening has sparked some controversy over the years for his response to the Apu controversy, which the creator even noted in his latest interview. Groening recently clarified that while it wasn't his decision to replace voice actor roles with actors who matched the ethnicity of the characters voiced, he did support the decision fully. Groening also explained that the show never intended to intentionally exclude minorities in its past efforts, but he rather enjoyed the feat of having so few actors voice a wide variety of characters. Times change, though, and The Simpsons has joined the ranks of other shows in replacing voice actors with new actors who better represent the characters portrayed.
The Simpsons airs on Fox Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET. The series has been a primetime staple of the network for some time alongside many iconic animated shows, one of which could be returning to television in the future.