So far, “The Simpsons” has opted for a very conscious approach to the loss of actors. Vulture reports that after the death of Phil Hartman, his ongoing characters Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz disappeared from the show along with other supporting characters he voiced. When Marcia Wallace died in 2013, the “Simpsons” writers wrote a tribute episode, reusing old dialogue to say goodbye to the character (via Variety). In fact, real-life deaths have led to more than a few “Simpsons” characters mysteriously disappearing.
However, The Simpsons has never had to deal with the sudden end of a regular series. During a discussion on the r/TheSimpsons subreddit, some fans of the show debated how such a loss would affect the series. Not surprisingly, many of these questions centered on the voice actors behind the central members of the titular family. In one post, u/Financial-Donut-6560 asked, “What do you think you would do if someone like Dan Castellaneta or any of the other actors died suddenly?” Of course, the unknown answer to that question is almost too hard to understand or to think about it.
Nevertheless, there were a number of predictions. For example, u/rosathoseareourdads insisted that this would surely spell the end of the series. Conversely, some other commentators insisted the producers would simply recast the roles. Perhaps one of the most interesting suggestions came courtesy of u/TFlarz, who wrote, “I’m almost literally 50/50 between ‘they’re just going to create new scripts using existing voice clips’ and ‘quit the show immediately and show reruns’. ‘”
While it remains to be seen how the series might actually handle such a situation, let’s just hope we’re a long way from writers having to face such a difficult question.