We've previously mentioned that "The Simpsons" has often dealt with death. Ancillarry characters pass on every few seasons or so, like Mona Simpson, Edna Krabapple, or Maude Flanders, who met her unfortunate end when a T-shirt cannon knocked her off a grandstand.
In the upcoming season, however, we can expect a much more shocking demise. "This is going to be a bigger deal than King Joffrey on 'Game of Thrones,'" claimed producer Al Jean to TVLine on Tuesday, comparing the character's impending death to a recent murder on the HBO series. (Jean even nicknamed the upcoming "Simpsons" death scene as "the Yellow Wedding" — another reference to the infamous murders on "GoT.")
But even though this "great" character is leaving behind his/her animated mortal coil, viewers shouldn't expect that he/she will be gone from Springfield for good. "We always have kind of a flexible reality," said Jean, hinting at the fact that we may once again see this character in a dream sequence, or in the show's annual Halloween episodes.
"This does not mean the end of [their] participation in 'The Simpsons,'" producer Matt Selman said.
All that's left to do is guess at who this victim will be, until the answer is finally revealed in premiere episode of the show's 26th season this fall. Fortunately, Jean and Selman have given fans a few hints to keep them intrigued.
"People who reported on it then reported we were killing an 'iconic' character; I’d like to say it’s a great character, but I never used the word 'iconic,' said Jean. "It’s a terrific character."
The biggest clue of all, however, is what Jean has stated in previous interviews: "The character that dies is portrayed by an actor who won an Emmy for playing that character." But, considering that most of the cast members have at least one Emmy under their belt for Outstanding Voice Over Performance, it's not that telling.
On the other hand, only a few of the actors on "The Simpsons" have won an Emmy for voicing a specific character in a specific episode. For instance, Julie Kavner, the woman who voices Marge, Patty and Selma, has won an Emmy for playing Marge, Patty and Selma in one specific 2002 episode. But someone like Hank Azaria, who voices several characters including Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and Carl, has won an Emmy for voicing Apu specifically in a 1998 episode. In other words, he's won an Emmy for "for playing that character," as Jean stated.
If we round up all the instances that actors who have won under similar circumstances for playing "great" characters (discounting Emmys earned for portraying Homer, Marge, Bart or Lisa), the list reads as follows: Hark Azaria, for Apu; Kelsey Grammer, for Sideshow Bob; and Anne Hathaway, for guest-voicing a character named Princess Penelope. (But c'mon, you know it's not going to be Princess Penelope.)
Of course, our guesses only make sense if Al Jean was putting the same emphasis on the words "that character" that we assumed. We'll just have to wait until the season premiere of "The Simpsons" to find out, but in the meantime, care to take a guess at who's getting the axe? (If our assumptions are correct?)