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The Real Reason Li'l Sebastian Died On Parks And Recreation

Over the course of its seven seasons, Parks and Recreation introduced viewers to a wide array of memorable characters. In fact, by the time the series was coming to an end, Parks and Recreation had assembled a diverse and exciting cast of guest characters for itself, but few of them were ever quite as beloved by both the show's characters and viewers at home as Li'l Sebastian was.

Introduced in the show's third season, Li'l Sebastian — a mini-horse with an honorary degree from Notre Dame — was considered a local treasure by Pawnee residents. Unfortunately, Li'l Sebastian didn't last long in the series itself, as it was revealed later on in Parks and Recreation's third season that Li'l Sebastian had died, a tragic turn of events that ultimately led to the entire town putting together a huge memorial service for him.

While his small amount of screen time on the show makes it appear as though Li'l Sebastian was always doomed to die in the series, Parks and Recreation fans may be surprised to learn that, apparently, that's not actually the case.

Parks and Recreation's Li'l Sebastian died so another could live

The Parks and Recreation writers were intent on there being some kind of notable death in the show's third season finale, but it wasn't always going to be Li'l Sebastian who died. Parks and Recreation co-creator, Michael Schur, revealed to HitFix back in 2011 that, actually, the show's writers originally had the idea to kill off a human character in the finale.

Schur said the writers considered killing off either Kevin Symons' Councilman Dexhart or Mayor Gunderson in the finale, the latter of whom was referenced several times throughout the series before making his one and only screen appearance in the show's final season (where he was played by Bill Murray). However, Schur said that the Parks and Recreation writers ultimately decided that having a "very old miniature horse" die was a "slightly less morbid" direction for the finale to go.

In other words, while it came down to either Li'l Sebastian or two notable Pawnee government officials, it was ultimately Li'l Sebastian who met his end in the show's season 3 finale. To the show's credit, though, Parks and Recreation did manage to give Li'l Sebastian quite the send-off — one befitting of a character as beloved and unique as he was.