Are ‘Futurama’ and ‘Disenchantment’ in the same universe?
In the summer of 2018, Netflix premiered the first 10 episodes of Disenchantment from Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The series, set in an unspecified medieval period, centers around the adventures of Bean (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), a precocious 19-year old princess from Dreamland, and her personal demon Luci, played by Eric André. The show features magic both wizardly and salomonic.
Groening also created Futurama, an animated series set in the 31st century that focuses on the exploits of Philip J. Fry (Billy West), a pizza delivery boy who is cryogenically frozen and reanimated in the year 2999 to work at a delivery company called Planet Express. The show also focuses on his roommate, the robot Bender Rodriguez, as well as his coworker and love interest, Turanga Leela (Katey Sagal). Much of Futurama’s humor centers around science and the way that American media of the mid-20th century predicted that it would be applied to daily life in years to come.
The questions posed by Groening fans since Disenchantment premiered were, “Will it share a common universe with his other series? Will we one day see John DiMaggio’s King Zøg interact with John DiMaggio’s fan-favorite Bender the bending robot? Will Luci live to make mischief with Bart Simpson?” While the answers to the last two questions remain to be seen, an Easter egg in a season one episode caught by eagle-eyed fans gives us a definitive answer “Yes” to the first.
In the tenth episode of the first half of the first season, the demon Luci looks into a “back in time” globe and we briefly catch a glimpse of Futurama’s Professor Farnsworth, Fry, and Bender sitting in the Forwards Time Machine from the episode “The Late Philip J. Fry,” in which the trio travel through the destruction of the Universe and the entire history of creation over and over. This means that at some point, they existed in the same time and place as the medieval events of Disenchantment.
However, this is where things get tricky, as Groening’s other hit series, The Simpsons, featured a full-fledged crossover with Futurama in the sixth episode of season 26, titled “Simpsorama.” In this episode, the Planet Express crew comes back in time to our present to kill Homer Simpson, believing it to be the only way to prevent the creation of creatures descended from a half-eaten sandwich that Bart placed in a time capsule behind Springfield Elementary.
“Simpsorama” canonically places the show in Futurama’s past, meaning that the three Groening shows exist within the same timeline. However, it doesn’t end there, because Fox’s other smash animated hit, Family Guy, also featured a full-length crossover with The Simpsons. The premiere episode of the thirteenth season, spearheaded by Family Guy executive producer/former Simpsons writer Richard Appel, kicked off with Peter Griffin and his family fleeing their angry neighbors and getting stranded in Springfield.
It doesn’t stop there, as a character from another beloved Fox animated show gets involved. In a scene where Homer and Peter are flying in a biplane, Bob Belcher from Bob’s Burgers pops in for a cameo. In addition, Fred Flintstone makes an appearance, meaning that not only is The Flintsones now officially a part of the Groeningverse, but so is the other Hanna Barbera animated sitcom The Jetsons, thanks to the 1987 crossover event film The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
Once we extend the Groeningverse to The Flintstones, it means that the events of the classic sitcom Bewitched, which centers around an ordinary 1960s businessman who happens to be married to a witch, became canonically linked. Darrin and Samantha Stevens, the titular characters from Bewitched ⏤ played by Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery, respectively ⏤ appeared on The Flintstones in the episode “Samantha,” meaning that, conceivably, Samantha Stevens could have gotten her magical powers from the same source as Disenchantment’s Luci the demon.
Talk about a magic trick.