Will Apu be written off The Simpsons? No. At least not anytime soon. That’s according to series creator Matt Groening, who said at the D23 Expo this weekend that Apu will stay on the show.
“Yes. We love Apu. We’re proud of Apu,” Groening said, as reported by Variety.
Much of the debate around The Simpsons and Apu specifically has come from Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu. The movie explores Apu as a character and focuses on him as a stereotype. Series producer Al Jean explained previous (via Variety) that he watched this documentary and spoke with The Simpsons writers about it.
He said he takes the matter “very seriously.” Some people are offended by Apu and others aren’t, so that makes it a “difficult choice” to make about the future of Apu on The Simpsons, Jean said. “I don’t want to offend people but we also want to be funny. We don’t want to be totally politically correct,” he said. “That has never been us. It’s given us a lot of thought.”
Apu voice actor Hank Azaria has said he’s willing to step down from voicing him in light of the blowback.
Going back to Groening, addressing the Apu situation in 2018, he said, “People love to pretend they’re offended.” He commented again later, saying people today have an “outrage of the week” and then move on to being upset about something else.
“I think particularly right now, people feel so aggrieved and crazed and powerless that they’re picking the wrong battles,” he said.
Castlevania showrunner Adi Shankar told IndieWire in 2018 that he heard from multiple sources that The Simpsons would eliminate Apu going forward. However, Al Jean responded on Twitter to say Shankar isn’t a spokesperson for the show.
Adi Shankar is not a producer on the Simpsons. I wish him the very best but he does not speak for our show.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) October 28, 2018
The Simpsons Season 30 wrapped up in May this year; Seasons 31 and 32 are currently on the way, bringing the show up to 713 episodes.
In other news, The Simpsons producers have said Disney–which now owns the property–has been receptive to having talks about a Simpsons Movie sequel or spin-off series.