Family Guy killed Brian the dog in a shocking episode on Sunday, but some internet sleuths believe the beloved talking pooch may not be gone after all.
In the episode, the family’s toddler Stewie decided to take apart his infamous time machine after some time travel mishaps. When Brian is then hit by a car, Stewie is unable to put it back together and save his canine friend.
It seemed to be a permanent end, and Family Guy producer Steve Callaghan said killing off Brian was actually a strategic decision.
“This was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” Callaghan told E! News. “As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.”
But Callaghan and the show’s writers realized that they could not easily kill off one of the actual family members, so they decided Family Guy would kill Brian instead.
“It seemed more in the realm of reality that a dog would get hit by a car, than if one of the kids died,” Callaghan said. “As much as we love Brian, and as much as everyone loves their pets, we felt it would be more traumatic to lose one of the kids, rather than the family pet.”
The move has been met with protest by fans, some of which started a petition asking Family Guy to bring Brian back.
But others think the move may not be permanent after all. Rumors have circulated that the show plans to revive the dog, which is voiced by the show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane. The television blog Junkie Monkeys found several pieces of evidence that suggest Family Guy has Brian featured in future episodes, including a screenshot of a yet-to-be-aired episode released at Comic Con that shows Brian sitting with the entire family.
There are also two unaired episodes later this season with titles suggesting a Family Guy return for Brian — “Brian’s a Bad Father” and “Brian’s Got Back.”
Another confirmed plot for an episode next season is described as:
“An unnamed episode will guest star Maya Rudolph as a runner whom Brian falls for and Glenn Howerton as the publisher of a children’s book written by Joe. The episode is slated to air in the fall of 2014.”
Other fans believe that Family Guy without Brian does not make sense, as writers have spent years turning him into a major character and important member of the family. Only time will tell if they are right.