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How Futurama's Ending Might Not Be What You Think

In the long, bloody history of science fiction's war on accessibility, Futurama somehow managed to beat shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who to the Easter egg punch at just about every turn. Just about every detail in the show's seven season run peels back to reveal more weirdness. Think that New New York's endemic owl infestation is just a visual gag, or that Leela's parents didn't show up until season four, or that you're not currently under the control of Hypnotoad? You just weren't paying close enough attention.

For over 20 years, the Futurama fan community has been deconstructing the show's secrets piece-by-piece, trying to decipher David X. Cohen and Matt Groening's DaVinci Code-adjacent plotting — often with stunning results. Languages have been translated, Niblonians have been spotted, and an entire mathematical theorem was even uncovered. Most impressively, it's the fans who seem to have done what two networks and a bevy of writers couldn't: They figured out a way to keep Futurama going indefinitely without a single new episode produced. Magic, you say? Wrong! Science. 

Viewers who made it to the Futurama series finale will tearfully remember that the series was written as an infinite loop. At the end of the final episode, "Meanwhile," it's revealed that time is functionally set on repeat. The Professor, just before the events of the pilot episode, invented a device that would tear through reality, putting everything back where it was just before the machine's invention if it were ever to be activated and wiping everyone's memories in the process. The episode ends with Farnsworth pressing the button, turning Futurama into the only show that you can restart from the beginning at the end of a binge session, while making the argument that you're just starting the next season.

Could Futurama come back and make everyone cry again?

Enter Reddit's /r/futurama board, where user FuturamaTime expressed their belief that the show could go on.

Maybe, they posit, the Professor will be shielded from the device's memory wipe by his spherical blue force field. Perhaps, they continue, since the Professor describes the device as his "new" invention, it's actually a fresher model than the one shown just before the events of "Space Pilot 3000." Could it be, they wonder, that Fry, Leela, and all the rest simply traveled back to the beginning of the events of "Meanwhile?" Or, if not, could the Professor undo the effects of the machine using the chronitons harvested in "Time Keeps On Slippin'?" 

"There was a part," FuturamaTime points out, "where Fry, Leela and Bender filled 3 jars of chronitons. Maybe there was one or two more jars of chronitons left. Which makes it clear that the time button was created in the later seasons, not at the beginning of 'Space pilot 3000.'"

At best, FuturamaTime's theories seem like wishful thinking, a fan theory formulated out of a desperate desire to spend more time with beloved characters. Trashing the poetic ending to Futurama for the sake of milking more episodes would be ... well, it would actually be very Futurama. In case you forgot, this was the show that wrecked a million people's Thursday by introducing Fry's dog, then found and unceremoniously junked another of his dogs a few seasons later. Maybe the theory has legs. Futurama doesn't care about your feelings.