Welcome to one of those instances when a story starts out one way, and then takes a turn when you realize that the article you're reading buried a pretty interesting lead. Case-in-point, EW – which posted a preview of this Sunday's new episode of Family Guy, "Disney's The Reboot." If you couldn't tell from the title, the long-running animated FOX sitcom is taking aim at new "corporate overlord" Disney's $71B deal to own 21st Century Fox's (see where we're going here?) film and TV properties.
Now let me be clear – we're going with our initial plan: you can find a teaser and preview images for what looks to be a major meta/fourth-wall-breaking affair (more on that below). But it was what executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel had to say about the show's creative relationship with their new bosses that caught our interest.
Appel emphasizes that not "one iota of change" has taken place when it comes to the show's content and tone – but that doesn't mean there still isn't a bit of "trying to test the waters" going on: "We haven't run into too many brick walls, but we see the bricks. The only thing that we're aware of is various random characters we might throw over a cliff now apparently might have a Disney parachute."
One advantage of being owned by a company that owns as many IPs as Disney does is that it makes it easier for Family Guy to take on a wider range of the pop culture landscape – right?
According to Sulkin, not necessarily…
"Unfortunately that's not quite the case, although this is not us getting annoyed at Disney because clearly they know what they're doing. Part of their M.O. — and it's obviously worked very well for them — is to be protective of their different brands and in a way to keep them separate. So if we went to them and said, 'Hey, we want to do a Marvel–Star Wars crossover episode,' I think that would probably be the fastest 'no' we've heard around here in awhile. Which seems at odds with 10 years ago, we're doing Star Wars episodes with the full endorsement of Lucasfilm. But Disney acquired all these properties, and they have a vision for where they want them to go, and where they want them to go is not making poop jokes on Family Guy."
"Family Guy" season 18, episode 4 "Disney's The Reboot": In a special meta episode of FAMILY GUY, the network decides that it's time to explore some unique ways to reboot the series. When three versions of the reboots are shown to a focus group, the feedback takes some surprising turns