The Simpsons Movie Sequel - Will It Ever Happen?

Nearly 18 years after "The Simpsons" debuted as a standalone animated series (and its instant rise to permanent pop culture phenomenon status), "The Simpsons Movie" hit theaters around the globe in July 2007. The film was a box office smash, and in part due to the film's tremendous success — and also because "The Simpsons" just keeps trucking over on TV — chatter, demand, and speculation began about another big-screen extravaganza featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, and the other many quirky, familiar residents of Springfield, U.S.A. 

Well, over 15 years have now passed without a second "Simpsons Movie" ever hitting the multiplex. While personnel associated with the show have addressed questions about the animated film and offered vague promises about it arriving some day, that sequel has yet to enter production. So, will "The Simpsons Movie 2" ever be realized? Here's what we know about the often-promised, never-delivered "Simpsons Movie" sequel.

Why isn't The Simpsons Movie sequel happening yet?

Any movie — even a potential follow-up to 2007's "The Simpsons Movie" — is all about the characters. And the writers, cast, and crew of a potential "Simpsons Movie" sequel already have the opportunity to focus on those characters and tell their stories 22 times a year.

After all, "The Simpsons" is still a primetime weekly series for Fox, and the staff is contractually obligated to produce nearly two dozen half-hour episodes a season. Not only is everyone involved with "The Simpsons" extremely busy and preoccupied with the creative and physical labor of making a network television series, but they also tend to use up any and all good stories for Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and the hundreds of other residents of Springfield. To make a movie would require a very grand idea, worthy of the participants' time and the big-screen treatment.

That may shed a bit of light on comments from several "Simpsons" producers who participated in a panel discussion at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. During the event, they indicated why a sequel hadn't yet entered production. "We talk about it, but if we do it we only want to do it if it's going to be really good," writer/producer Al Jean said. "We would never do it just to cash in, so if it comes out, it's because we believe in it." Further driving the point home, Jean also spoke with Entertainment Weekly in 2015 and gave them the likelihood of another film: "My guess it's 50-50."

A Simpsons Movie sequel almost got the greenlight

We almost had it — we almost had a "Simpsons Movie 2." In July 2021, "Simpsons" showrunner Al Jean spoke with and indicated that after years of mulling it over, they'd been seriously considering a sequel. So what stopped the movie from moving forward? Well, according to Jean, they were giving the project serious thought right before COVID-19 temporarily shut down Hollywood. 

"We were really talking about it a lot before the pandemic," he said. "And now I think just as a caution, I want to see how movies and, specifically, animated movies come back because I wouldn't want to do it just as a streaming experience. We really want it to be a theatrical movie because that was the point of the first one, it was a thing you couldn't get anywhere else." 

Obviously, a lot has changed since 2021, and theaters are back in business. And with the success of films like "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," maybe that will inspire the "Simpsons" producers to finally get the animated ball rolling.

What producers have said about a Simpsons Movie sequel

Any future "Simpsons Movie" couldn't happen without the involvement or approval of Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" and still a hands-on executive producer. Even if the show's regular writers come up with a can't-miss idea for a cinematic follow-up, Groening may be hesitant to give his approval because he found production on the first film to be stressful and all-consuming.

"We got very frustrated," Groening told ScreenRant. "We thought it would take two years, but it ended up taking four. Some day maybe we'll do another one — but don't hold your breath." In a 2013 Q&A at UCLA Law School, Groening explained the big issue was that the movie required the services of the series' crew and that it essentially "stole animators from the show and drained our resources."

At a 2019 appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, Groening floated the distant possibility of the sequel. "We're almost recovered, almost," he said of the first film's production. "No doubt there will be another 'Simpsons' movie one of these days." What's the main reason for Groening's assertion? Well, it's Disney's purchase of "Simpsons" parent company 20th Century Fox in 2019. As Groening put it, "I think Disney wants something for its money."

Interestingly, according to Jeff Sneider's "The InSneider," the "Simpsons" long-time home of Fox — part of the umbrella entertainment corporation now owned by Disney — entered production in 2023 on a new movie in order to help force "The Simpsons Movie 2" into existence. An anonymous source close to the situation reported that Fox ordered the coming-of-age political comedy "Ella McKay" from writer-director James L. Brooks, who's also a longtime executive producer of "The Simpsons." Having done him a favor, Fox may want "The Simpsons 2" in reciprocation.

What could be explored in a Simpsons Movie sequel?

According to "The Simpsons" writer and producer Al Jean, the franchise's creative staff only wants to pursue another film if things align from a business and artistic perspective. "Our feeling is that the first movie was pretty successful, and we don't want the second movie to be any less successful," he told Entertainment Weekly. "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.'"

That said, the plot of any "Simpsons" film would have to be spectacular. For example, "The Simpsons Movie" was far too complicated for a TV episode — it revolved around Homer single-handedly making Springfield unlivable, leading to the government placing a dome atop the city and the pariah Simpson family fleeing to Alaska. "Simpsons" writers would need and want to devise a similarly expansive plot with high stakes.

Indicating just how grand and beyond-TV writers and producers want to go, here are some rejected ideas for the original "Simpsons" movies. Executive producer James L. Brooks told writer Ben C. Sin that the Season 4 episode "Kamp Krusty" — in which Bart and Lisa attend a nightmarish Krusty the Clown-themed summer camp — was conceived as a film. Additionally, creator Matt Groening wanted to make "Simptasia," a parody of "Fantasia," but he never got a script together. Phil Hartman, who voiced Troy McClure until his death in 1998, also planned to make a live-action movie about the B-movie actor and recurring "Simpsons" character, but that sadly never came to pass.

Who would star in The Simpsons Movie sequel?

"The Simpsons" is the longest-running primetime series in American TV history by a wide margin, broadcasting more than 700 episodes since 1989. And unlike other shows that run for decades, "The Simpsons" has kept its main cast almost entirely intact, likely owing to the relatively high pay and low time commitment of voice acting versus flesh-and-blood performances. Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Smithers), and Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum) have all brought "The Simpsons" to life since Season 1 and will continue to do so at least until 2025 to meet Fox's episode orders.

A project as ambitious as another "Simpsons Movie" would require the talents of all of the show's regular voice actors to perform their usual characters. Fortunately, they're all under contract, and we know for a fact that Smith is definitely up for another outing. Speaking with The Movie Dweeb in 2022, the Lisa actress said she'd be interested in a sequel taking place during the holidays. "I do really believe that there will be a number two," Smith said, "and my pitch is that it should be a Christmas movie, so that it has annual relevance for the rest of time."

A Simpsons Movie sequel concept was made into a TV episode

In the early 2010s, "The Simpsons" writing staff struck upon an idea for an episode so big and outlandish that it nearly became the basis for a potential second "Simpsons Movie." Credited to Al Jean and David Mirkin, the episode "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" revolves around King and Kodos — the massive, one-eyed, slithering green aliens who make regular appearances in the fantastical "Treehouse of Horror" anthologies. This time, they kidnap the Simpson family from their vacation at "Dizz-Nee-Land" and whisk them off to their home planet of Rigel 7 (and Homer almost gets eaten).

"The Simpsons" is generally grounded in realism. "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" is a wild, sci-fi adventure, to the point where Jean and Mirkin agreed with "Simpsons" executive producer James L. Brooks that the idea was so out there that it should've been a standalone project. "We were worried that people might think it's an idea that's not canonical," Jean told Entertainment Weekly. Then they got apprehensive. As Jean explained, "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." Eventually, "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" was finally produced and aired on TV in 2015.