Two Sundays ago on The Simpsons, Homer and his family were snatched from Dizzneeland and whisked away by drooling aliens Kang and Kodos (revealed in November to be a married lesbian couple with the last name Johnson) to their home planet, Rigel 7, where the Simpsons were almost served up as a meal.
Here’s a tasty little tidbit about “The Man Who Came to Be Dinner”: It almost came to be the next Simpsons movie.
Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, who recently tweeted this factoid, tells EW that the Jan. 4 episode, which he co-wrote with David Mirkin, was originally planned to air in 2013 as the season 24 finale, but then he and executive producer James L. Brooks opted to hold it back as a possible plot for a sequel to 2007’s The Simpsons Movie. “Two of the allures were exploring the rules of the new world and the cinematic nature of doing something in space,” says Jean. “But then we were worried that people might think it’s an idea that’s not canonical—it doesn’t really happen, unlike all of other 560 episodes that really ‘happened’—so the ultimate decision was to air it as an episode,” Jean explains. “It just got to the point where if we were unsure about it as a movie, then it would be good to air the episode. And then if we do a movie, we’d just think of something else…. So if you want to know what was thought of a possible Simpsons Movie 2, we just aired it—for free. You can see it for free!”
The Simpsons Movie grossed $527 million worldwide, so of course there remains considerable interest in another big-screen adventure. Then again, it’s been seven and a half years since that film was released. What are the chances of a sequel eventually happening? “My guess it’s 50-50,” says Jean. He cites the difficulty of finding the time to work on a movie while still making the show while adding: “Our feeling is that the first movie was pretty successful and we don’t want the second movie to be any less successful. And I’m not talking about financially only—I’m also talking about no one wants to do a movie where people think, ‘Why did they do that? It wasn’t necessary.'”
Now that they have used this potential big-screen story for the small screen, are there other ideas floating around the writers’ room that are being considered for another movie? “We actually think of ideas for shorts more easily than for features,” says Jean, who was one of the writer-producers of the Simpsons’ Oscar-nominated short film The Longest Daycare. “To be honest, there’s nothing that I’d say, ‘This is what we were thinking we would do if we did a feature.’”
Sounds like you have a better chance of finding your car in the Dizzneeland parking lot than you do The Simpsons Movie 2 in a theater near you anytime soon.