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Why The Simpsons Movie Took 20 Years To Finally Get Made

Now nearly 35 years beyond their introduction on "The Tracey Ullman Show," the Simpson family members are undoubtedly small screen icons. For 33 seasons, viewers have tuned in to "The Simpsons" to see what kinds of hilarious, often satirical antics Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and the rest of the Springfield gang have gotten themselves caught up in this time. Sure, the show isn't the TV juggernaut it was decades ago, but its popularity has remained strong enough to keep it in some kind of spotlight. Perhaps its most prominent in recent years came as a trip to the cinema in 2007 for the aptly-titled "Simpsons Movie."

Directed by longtime "Simpsons" creative figurehead David Silverman, "The Simpsons Movie" finally brought the titular family to the movies in a big way. As a consequence of Homer's pollution of the water supply, the Environmental Protection Agency encloses Springfield and all of its residents in a giant glass dome. The Simpson family manages to escape, though Marge (Julie Kavner), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), Bart (Nancy Cartwright), and Maggie (Cartwright) give up on Homer due to his irresponsibility. Determined to get his family and friends back, Homer takes it upon himself to save Springfield from imminent destruction.

Though it's not necessarily regarded as the greatest piece of "Simpsons" media out there, "The Simpsons Movie" did well financially and critically. Not to mention, it thrust the property into the mainstream in a way that the TV show hadn't done in some time. With all that in mind, one has to ask, why didn't "The Simpsons Movie" arrive sooner? As it turns out, that was originally the plan.

Finding the right story was crucial to those making The Simpsons Movie

Since the very beginning of "The Simpsons," those who helped bring it to life eyed a theatrical adaptation at some point. However, it took ages to crack the code of where to go with the story. Concepts like a feature-length take on the Season 4 episode "Kamp Krusty," a "Simpsons"-infused rendition of Disney's "Fantasia," and even an anthology film focused on several "Treehouse of Horror" tales bounced around, but none of them ultimately came to pass. By the turn of the century, it seemed like a "Simpsons" movie was nothing more than a pipe dream, that is until the project really got off the ground in the early 2000s.

Come 2001, the "Simpsons" cast officially signed on to take part in a film should it come to fruition, and not long after, work on a script began (via USA Today). By 2003, Matt Groening and his massive team of writers had begun dedicating serious time and effort into putting together the story, workshopping various plots, potential antagonists, and overall storytelling approaches to create the best movie they could. "We know we're taking your good money, and we wanna really give you something that you haven't seen before," Groening told DigitalSpy in July of 2007, pointing to the dedication and ambition of the folks involved in the production.

"The Simpsons Movie" may not have hit the silver screen during the heyday of the show it stems from, but at least it came out at all. Besides, it's plain to see those behind it wanted to come as close as they could to sticking the landing story-wise, so in that respect, the wait is very much justified.