When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox for just over $71 billion last year, the company wasted no time in telling whoever would listen just how important The Simpsons would be to its future. Now, a new promotional poster for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons perfectly demonstrates just how nightmarish the corporate synergy between the different Disney divisions is.
In The Simpsons’ upcoming “Bart the Bad Guy” episode, originally announced in October, everyone’s favorite animated family will be thrown into a world Marvel Cinematic Universe fans will immediately recognize. Parodies based on popular Marvel characters, including Thanos, Iron Man, and two others who appear to be based on Gamora and Drax, are seen in the poster. It’s a beautiful marriage of Fox old and Disney new.
In the episode, Bart gets to see a highly anticipated movie — based on the Avengers franchise — before he dies. Rather than come clean, Bart decides to roll with it and then use spoilers as blackmail. The official synopsis from Fox reads:
Bart accidentally sees a brand-new superhero movie a month before it comes out… and the world cowers before his newfound plot-spoiling powers. Thus, a new super-villain is born: Spoiler Boy! Can heroic movie executives stop Bart before he succumbs to the temptations of ultimate evil?
Remember when Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo pleaded with fans on Twitter not to spoil the movies? So does The Simpsons’ writing team, apparently!
An episode of The Simpsons tackling spoiler culture and the state of blockbuster giants like Marvel Studios’ Avengers is already a meta-take in the post-Disney and Fox era, but it gets even better. The Russos will play executives at the media conglomerate who are pissed off that Bart lied to them. As the cherry on top, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will also lend his voice acting talents — reportedly as the villain Chinnos.
If that’s not a succinct and on-the-nose-way to address Disney’s overpowering dominance of the entertainment industry, I don’t know what else is. The Simpsons has always found ways to poke fun at the corporations governing the lives of not only its viewers and the show’s creators, but the fates of its fictional main characters, too.
And Disney was never safe. In fact, it was The Simpsons that originally predicted that Disney would buy 21st Century Fox in a 1998 episode of the show. When Disney announced that every season of The Simpsons would stream exclusively on Disney Plus, the company’s flagship streaming platform, a short commercial was used featuring the cartoon family dunking on Disney’s brands.
A Simpsons episode dunking on a film culture largely created by Disney over the last decade (one that revolves around the most successful movie of all time — Endgame — that was produced by Disney) that also incorporates Disney executives as voice actors is corporate synergy at its peak.
It’s both beautiful and a nightmare. I love it, and I hate it. The episode airs March 1st on Fox.