Will ‘Family Guy’ Bring Back Brian? [Updated]

Published 8 months ago by

family guy brian returning Will Family Guy Bring Back Brian? [Updated]

[WARNING - MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!]

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Since Sunday night, petitions and online rancor have been directed at Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and FOX for the stunning decision to kill Brian Griffin, one of the show’s most popular characters. But earlier today, it seemed as though this might all be a bit temporary when it was widely reported that a website had popped up bearing FOX branding, links to the Family Guy social sites, and a countdown clock with 10 days left on it.

What was supposed to happen when the clock struck the zero hour? Apparently, Brian Griffin was supposed to make an announcement  - doubtlessly promising a return, offering a profound goodbye, or admitting that his death was a farce – but now it appears that the validity of the site may be in question.

According to TV Line, 20th Century Fox has denounced BriansAnnouncement.com, stating:

“The producers have confirmed that the ‘special announcement from Brian’ website is a hoax and was not created by anyone connected to the show, studio or network.”

So, end of story? Not quite. Though FOX says that the site is fake, the conversation that it has sparked is very real: is Brian ever coming back, and if he does, will viewers return, or has that bridge been burned?

family guy brian returning brian stewie Will Family Guy Bring Back Brian? [Updated]

For their part, TV Line also speculated about an upcoming episode of Family Guy called, “The Christmas Guy”, which is set to run on December 15th. In that episode, “Stewie hatches a plan to get ‘the one and only thing he wants for Christmas.”

That could be something or it could be nothing, but what will angry Family Guy fans say if Brian does come back three weeks after this whole roller coaster ride, revealing this whole thing to have been either a massive PR stunt to juice ratings (which are down), a chance to tinker with the show, and/or an opportunity to sell more Family Guy baubles? The reaction could range anywhere from joy over the return of Brian, to a sense of betrayal and irrevocable anger toward the series, Steve Callaghan, and Seth MacFarlane.

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, many are still trying to figure out why they did the damn thing in the first place, but it could be something as simple as boredom settling in among the show’s creative team.

Let’s face it: fans don’t usually take to change when someone is messing with something that they have loved for almost 15 years. However, if you put yourself in Seth MacFarlane’s shoes and realize that he’s been playing and writing the same character for 12 seasons since 1999, you have to realize that it is possible that there may be nothing more appealing to him and the rest of his team than the idea of change. Even if it is just for change’s sake and even if the result is a wrong-sounding dog on Family Guy.

ted 2 sequel release date Will Family Guy Bring Back Brian? [Updated]

What is not likely appealing, though, is the destruction of the thing that they have spent all of that time building and living off of, even if you’re Seth MacFarlane and you now have other plates spinning. Boredom can make a person re-arrange their entire house, but it won’t make a sane person paint their walls with fire.

If MacFarlane didn’t realize the jeopardy that he was putting the show in when he signed off on this, it’s impossible to imagine that he doesn’t know it now after the loud and angry response. Will the fan-rage subside? It must, to some degree, but there really is no precedent for this kind of poke in the eye to a show’s fans, so no one is going to offer up a sunny forecast where this turns around and has a positive effect on Family Guy or its ratings.

So, even if the plan was to keep Brian gone (which seems, unlikely because of how reckless a move that it), it seems likely that we are inevitably headed for as quick a course correction as the show’s logistics will allow, and one that will try to stop the bleeding and mend the wound. And if it seems unlikely that Family Guy‘s vocal fans can kick up enough dust to make the network and the showrunners do their bidding, please do recall that they already brought the show back from the dead once, so they can probably do the same thing with an animated dog.

Update: 

Back at the end of October, EW reported that Maya Rudolph was set to appear in an episode of Family Guy later this season.

Rudolph, a veteran of SNL and Up All Night, will assume the role of an avid runner who catches Brian’s eye. To win her over, he pretends to be a fellow jogger. “After Brian experiences the ‘runner’s high’, he becomes a distance running douche, and even signs himself up to run a marathon,”  Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan tells EW.

Obviously, Callaghan knew what the future held for Brian three and a half weeks ago, so was this a slip up that undermines the gravity of the “Death of Brian” storyline, or a bit of pre-planned misdirection?

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Family Guy airs Sundays on FOX @9PM

Source: TVLine, EW

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89 Comments

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  1. terrible idea to kill brian… you would think it was gunna be meg who died but they went the total opposite diection….being bored or playing the same character since 1999 isnt an excuse…its like if the simpsons killed off homer or bart for being on the air since forever

    • Why is “being bored of playing the same character since 1999″ not an excuse? Are recognisable voice actors forbidden from leaving a position just because YOU say they shouldn’t?

      Granted, the could well have given Brian another voice actor, but as you say, he’s so recognisable (and Family Guy is voiced in its entirety by about three people) that it would do more damage than just killing the damn mutt.

      • Brian is played by the same voice actor who does Stewie and Peter and many more people and who also happens to be the creator of the show

  2. Veterinarians are trying to bring him back! – http://bluepearlvet.com/veterinarians-confident-they-can-still-save-family-guy%E2%80%99s-brian/

  3. Probably.

  4. I have always read this as a move of desperation to bring collective interest back to a show that even Seth MacFarlane admitted should have been finished a long time ago (if memory serves correctly, the episode with Stewie and Brian was his intended finishing point).

    Ironically, as someone who used to watch it regularly and laugh regularly, later episodes I stumbled across merely raised a smile (a lot life ‘South Park’ in this sense). It was actually the more dramatic tints towards Stewie and Brian I enjoyed. Fundamentally, you actually cared about the two of them. So, short time, the regeneration of interest has worked. Long term? Brian will be back as the numbers drop and the ‘Mafia’ dog called Vinny has become a depressingly tired “fuggedda ’bout it” cliche.

    • *the episode with Stewie and Brian in the bank vault*

      I really should proof read my comments sometimes…

      • I think SR needs an edit button for the comments. Maybe have it on a 60 second timer like Polygon (gaming site) has it.

    • isn’t the whole show about cliches and stereotypes?

  5. This new dog character is BS. Tony Sirico from The Sopranos? Yeah, stupid. Sopranos is an amazing show and Sirico was great in it, but on Family Guy? Really? He was annoying, boring, and just overall unfunny. Stewie and Brian’s chemistry was amazing for specific reasons and ANY new character will never top that, especially the one they’re going with. It’s a bad sign when a show kills off a fan favorite.

    • “He was annoying, boring, and just overall unfunny.” I’m going to take a guess that was Seth’s intention. Seth’s show hasn’t been funny for awhile, but Fox still wants blood from a stone.

  6. The title of the article IS a spoiler.

    • Yup, SR seems to be making a habit of this.

      • Unfortunately that’s very true.

    • Yeah I thought so too, but I guess the defence could be that they didn’t say he died, just implied that he went away somehow. But yeah, I’m glad I saw the episode before reading the headline.

  7. Not that I care, but like the Governor post last week for TWD, you have again included spoilers in the title of the article and then hilariously post a ‘spoiler alert’ below the picture.

    • It might be more fitting for them to start the article with : [WARNING - MAJOR SPOILERS IN TITLE!]

  8. I enjoyed this show the first couple of years, when it was funny. Now, far from it. Either it has gotten old, or I have grown up a bit. I particularly don’t care for when it makes of people with disabilities, which may not be often, but still…

    • …makes “fun” of…

  9. Since when does speculation equal spoiler?

    • Since it tells those who couldn’t watch the corresponding episode(s) yet that Brian is gone.

  10. Feel like I’m the only one, but Brian was my least favorite character. Hated how he came across in the later seasons. I was hoping he was the one to get killed off. Obviously it’s not going to be permanent. Find it hard to believe anyone really thinks he’s not coming back.

  11. On top of the update to the article, there are apparently at least a couple of future episodes which have already been titled and include Brian’s name. So, either the series staff really were engaging in a campaign of misdirection prior to the episode and thus the future titles were either fake or will be flashbacks or something, or the logistics of the situation (i.e. TV production, and having to lock down things like guest stars and episode titles far in advance) simply mean that Brian’s death is temporary and was never going to stay a secret.

    Well, if it’s permanent, the only truly important question is whether it’s going to do anything to stop the continual ratings drop that the show is suffering from, which is why they’re even coming up with stunts like this and the Simpsons crossover episode at all.

  12. Thanks for having a spoiler to the show right in the title of the article. Could’ve at least kept which character died vague.

    • And how long should we avoid mentioning one of the most talked about things on the Internet? 2 seasons? 3?

      Oh, that’s right, it’s been a big whopping secret: https://www.google.com/search?q=family+guy+brian+death&oq=family+guy+brian+death&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.4066j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8

      • guess we couldn’t use a pic of brian and stewie either – that’s a 50/50 spoiler. Prob should avoid ANY pic of the family guy characters cause we would still be spoiling SOMETHING.

        [FACEPALMS, DRAGS PALM ACROSS FACE SLOWLY AS IF TO WIPE OFF THE RIDICULOUSNESS...]

        • I think the real point isn’t so much the issue of the title of the article spoiling anyone on anything, but rather how completely useless and absurd it is to then have a spoiler warning at the beginning of the body of the article. The title is already the major spoiler; the content of the article is just loose speculation and public production details, neither of which really constitute spoilers in any sense.

          • THIS! Write the article however you want, just keep the spoilers out of the title. IGN managed to do it just fine.

        • Kofi why do you always flip out with illogical arguments when people bring up spoilers? Three seasons!?! Pictures of Family Guy!?! Shirley you can’t be serious.

          The title has a blatant spoiler in it. Why not just admit it? Your post is rather defensive for no reason. Bobby made a good point and your reply had zero merit and since you work for the site it comes off looking bad. I don’t care about spoilers but the only thing ridiculous here is your response.

        • Spoil as much as you want but don’t do it in the friggin’ headline. I don’t care what the internet talks about. I don’t live on the internet and I choose the sites I visit very carefully. Until this headline I didn’t know anything about this. You spoiled it!

          Sure, you in the movie journalism business don’t care about spoilers anymore, because you are spoiled about everything by profession and it’s not a big deal for you. But trust me, many of your readers do care and it is very big deal for them that you suck the last few surprises that movie and TV entertainment can offer right out of it by being inconsiderate. And then you mock us for that? Great job. I guess you don’t care about your readership eiter, huh? Well, you should.

          • Then please tell us how much time is needed before it’s no longer a spoiler.

            • A spoiler is always a spoiler, there isn’t really a time limit for that. You simply don’t spill major plot points without a fair warning, period. When people can read a spoiler by just skimming the headlines there is no fair warning. Avoiding situations like that should be common courtesy.

              It also doesn’t matter if the movie/show in question is a week, a month, a year or a decade old. Granted, the more time has passed the less likely it is that a person is still going to watch a certain movie/show and the plot becomes common pop culture knowledge after a while, but when an episode wasn’t even broadcast in other countries yet it’s most definitely too soon to be that inconsiderate.

              Of course there is another angle to the whole thing: if you put a spoiler right in the headline for everybody to see it generates more views, and views equal money. I suppose it doesn’t matter if the views are generated by interested people, or angered ones, but in the long run this kind of operation will cost a few visitors and thus views, the very livelihood of the site. Just saying. ;)

              I must admit, I’m not even too mad about the spoiler itself, but rather about the reaction to the very valid criticism/feedback. It’s very disappointing, actually.

  13. Everyone knows the only way to kill a cartoon is dip.

  14. I don’t mind a temporary shaking of things up, but no one wants Brian to be gone forever, and I’m not sure that killing him was the best way to give him a break. A lot of fans feel betrayed, it seems. There seems to be a collective “Wtf…why did you do this…” in the fan base.

    If he had died more comically, that might have at least made it better, but the show really made it as dramatic and serious as possible. People don’t know how to feel about this, except they are kind of pissed and know they want Brian back.

    Probably not McFarlane’s best move.

  15. I liked the show because of Brian and Stewie. If Seth MacFarlane is “bored”, there are other ways to change things up. That is the beauty of animation! Why chose to kill off a main character? Bad idea. Whatever MacFarlane’s plans are, he kind of ruined it for a lot of fans. I don’t blame them for never watching FG again. It was a sad episode. Defintely a bad move.

  16. For God sake, who gives a $hit.

  17. One quick glance at the Family Guy Wiki and a Ctrl-F for “Brian” reveals TWO upcoming episodes with Brian’s name in the title. That is all.

    • Which had aired on the 24th and the 17th

  18. Ok, I’m going to say it, Brian wasn’t killed, he was murdered! Watch the scene over again, the car aims right for him, and doesn’t stop! Doesn’t even try to brake. My first obvious suspect, Quagmire, but probably too obvious. The next suspect, that Simmons News Anchor. It’ll probably be someone I haven’t thought of. Maybe they’ll touch upon at this at the end of the season, Brian’s spirit could seek out Stewie to dish out justice.

    • Good observation. They did seem to hide who was in the car.

      Maybe it was a descendant of the Native American chick he banged when they went back in time earlier in the episode.

  19. If Seth wanted the series to end than he should have ended it. He has as much a right to refuse a contract renewal just as much as he has to accept one. If he wanted Family Guy to end he should have kindly dismissed Fox, thanked them for all the good times, and moved on to other things.

    To mess with the dynamic that made your series click with the fans and do something so drastic is just foolish. I say it is either a ruse to shake things up or he’s purposely trying to deep-six the series. And I don’t put much faith in the latter.

    I really enjoyed the chemistry between Stewie and Brian, and of all the characters in the show … I often thought that the two of them should have their own series. Sort of a “what happens between shows” type of adventures that they could’ve got into not only in this space and time but in others as well. Not to mention alternate universes too. :-)

    Well that’s my two cents anyways.

    • You spin-off idea his still possible and would be awesome!

  20. …it was a body-double…!

    • Shoulda been a cat…they have nine lives!

  21. Honestly, this could very well be the downfall of television as we know it. Remember the last time a huge entertainment medium decided to kill off their major character, then bring him back months later with little-to-no fanfare? Assuming this is the case, we may very well see viewership plummet to all time lows if Brian DOES wind up coming back without a real, real, REAL good reason for him to come back after what they signed off on.

    Oh, and in case you’re curious, I was referring to the first death of Superman. Don’t think it won’t happen if they bring Brian back? DC didn’t foresee their actions crashing the entire comic book industry, either.

    • “Honestly, this could very well be the downfall of television as we know it.”
      LOL
      I dont think it’s that bad.

  22. they better bring him back not really digging this new vinny replacement

  23. I think it was a smart idea to kill off brian. It may be stupid to say, the reason was boredom, but i fell they needed to do it.
    The Stupidest thing is the people on the internet saying “oh you should of killed meg instead”. Meg is voiced by someone who doesn’t make the show. Which means they’d be losing a voice actor and a character, instead of just a character. I’ll miss Brian but if they bring him back in just a few episodes, this would be the worst thing to happen to the show

  24. I hope they don’t bring him back, yeah i love the character but it would ruin the show if they did. This whole outcry on bringing him back reminds me of Affleck being cast as batman. Everyone will stop whining about it eventually and everything will be fine. They didn’t re-cast Batman because people were mad, so FOX don’t bring him back just because people want it.

    And i bet they are titling the episodes like that to get people to watch

  25. why not get rid of the useless characters like the kids instead of axing the one tolreable character in an otherwise boring, out of steam, redundant and childish load of garbage that only people with low IQ (and hipsters) ‘dig’.

    with that being said, every show runs out of steam, simpsons ran out of steam quite a while ago and is now just as boring and stupid as FG and pretty much every other animated parody out there (yes even south park is dying down). what goes up must inevitably come down, it just depends on how you go out :P

    • “…instead of axing the one tolreable character in an otherwise boring, out of steam, redundant and childish load of garbage that only people with low IQ (and hipsters) ‘dig’.”

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  26. This seems no different than South Park actually killing Kenny for a year and then bringing him back. Only difference is people might be angrier about the Brian death than the Kenny death?

  27. This is time travel crap people. X-men anyone? Brian and Stewie came back to what they considered “reality” in a different time machine from a different reality, where their family were Indians, and brian a buffalo. I bet he comes back, by them using the excuse that Brian only died in THAT reality. Considering all the lame time travel plots in movies and tv, this would NOT be a big stretch. He’s coming back, count on it. I’m not saying that this would make perfect sense, but it’s Family Guy for the love of God. Just wait. It’s likely just another “get more viewers with a shock episode” story arc. Been done a hundred times before, all over.

  28. I think it would be better if Brian stays dead. I like the character and agree he, Peter, and Stewie keep the show entertaining, just for having a lasting impact in the animation genre, since Family guy is sort of a trailblazer (The first since the Flintstones to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Program).

  29. Brian shall return in 2015 when Seth MacFarlane teams up with
    Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro and a bunch of old storylines in
    Ted Semetary:Brian’s Song
    -While on another drinking binge Ted stumbles upon a grave, mumbles
    some nonsense and pukes on Brian’s headstone. Brian awakens from
    the dead-and he is so pissed. Anyway, things happen and body parts
    are eaten and eventually Ted contracts cancer from Brian and dies.
    The End

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