'Futurama' ready for final goodbye

The cast of Futurama (FOX Handout)

The cast of Futurama (FOX Handout)

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:24 PM ET

Bad news, everyone.

After 14 years and more presumed deaths than the slobbering xenomorph queen in Aliens, Futurama is finally coming to a permanent end.

Actually, it's already come to an end. But just as it would take more than eight minutes for the destructive force of a supernova sun to reach planet Earth and burn it to a cinder, Futurama's series finale, which was broadcast in September on Comedy Central in the U.S., is rippling across space and time to Canada, where it will air Thursday on Teletoon.

This time, the show is definitely over. Probably. Maybe.

"I keep telling people this time it really is the end, and nobody believes me," says David X. Cohen, the co-creator, executive producer and head writer of Futurama.

"It may have something to do with the fact I've said that two or three times before."

In 1999, The Simpsons godfather Matt Groening and series writer Cohen launched a new sci-fi animated series on Fox. The show revolved around Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West), a pizza delivery boy who is accidentally cryogenically frozen in the year 1999, only to be thawed out in the wondrous retro-future of 2999.

But Fox and Futurama's creators never saw eye-to-eye on the show's themes - heck, the very first episode has Fry and his robot companion Bender (John DiMaggio) meeting in a "suicide booth" - and the series was cancelled in 2003 after four seasons. Still, fan demand eventually convinced Cohen and company to make four direct-to-video Futurama movies, which led to Comedy Central commissioning two more TV seasons.

Thursday's episode, which features the marriage of Fry and his one-eyed love interest Leela (Katey Sagal), is technically the show's fourth series finale. But this time it actually feels like time to say goodbye.

"For me at least, personally, the show feels more complete at this point, whereas previously when we went off the air I felt like we got cut off at the knees before we got to do a lot of the things we wanted to do," says Cohen.

The show evolved significantly over its 140 episodes, reaching a place where wasn't afraid to take its underlying science seriously, nor dip occasionally into heartfelt emotion. From the infamously sad fourth season episode Jurassic Bark to this season's Game of Tones, Futurama has yanked at heartstrings several times.

So it's no wonder fans are hoping that this isn't truly the end. Could it come back? Again?

"For me, it would have to come back in the right condition, which means not a huge budget slashing or doing it in Flash animation or doing it in a tiny window on your phone," says Cohen. "Although I shouldn't rule that out, because maybe that's the future of everything."

Futurama will definitely return at least one more time: A crossover between Futurama and The Simpsons will happen next year, quite possibly as The Simpsons' 26th season premiere.

"It's been written, it's being animated, many of the Futurama cast have recorded their parts. Everybody was very excited," says Cohen. "If Futurama doesn't come back as a series, maybe it will keep coming back in weird pop-up places."


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