For over a month now, fans of The Simpsons have been fretting over the fact that longtime voice actor Harry Shearer might be leaving the show before Season 27 comes around later this year. There are possibly discussions happening behind the scenes to try and keep the actor involved, and even though nothing official has come out about it, Simpsons co-star Hank Azaria is not convinced that we’ve heard the last of Shearer.

At the Garden of Dreams Foundation talent show last week, Vulture spoke with Azaria about Shearer’s absence, and his thoughts have us a little more optimistic about the animated series’ future, even if Azaria isn’t the one responsible for making things happen.
You know, I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s gone. We’re very hopeful that something gets worked out. I’m not giving up on this.

It sounds like as far as Azaria knows, someone is still trying to make this happen. Shearer dropped out of the show over money issues – no big surprise there – and that’s almost always the easiest problem to fix in these kinds of situations. Although if Shearer got a bigger payday, that would probably mean the entire cast would have to get one, and Fox may indeed balk at that.

When asked if the remaining cast would possibly spread Shearer’s characters around and tackle the giant lot themselves, Azaria wasn’t biting.
I don’t think we’ve gotten that far yet – we’re either very hopeful or in denial, we’ll see. If he really doesn’t come back, the show has to continue in some way at least for a while

The Simpsons is already confirmed to stick around through Season 28, so Shearer’s 20+ characters would need someone else behind them for at least that long. As a possible solution, Azaria tosses the idea out there that they may “do a YouTube thing,” where they try to find a replacement by looking to the public. It wouldn’t take very long to find some excellent options, as we’ve already talked about the abilities of comedian Brock Baker, who near-flawlessly imitated a large chunk of the characters that Shearer is famous for voicing. But it only takes a quick search to find other impressionists that could also be worthy of the gig.

Azaria ends his answers by calling for Shearer to “please come back,” and we share his sentiments exactly. It just wouldn’t be The Simpsons without Shearer voicing Mr. Burns, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy and the rest. We know that Season 27 will contain Homer and Marge legally separating temporarily – but not divorcing – and Bart getting killed by Sideshow Bob, but we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to see if the entire cast will be back for it.

Want a refresher on some of the amazing voices that Hank Azaria performs on The Simpsons? Head to the next page for a hilarious video.

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