Brian the dog isn’t really dead after Family Guy tried to pull a fast one on its fans.
The show killed off the popular Griffin family member on November 24, leaving fans shocked and some of them hurt enough to start a petition calling on the show to bring him back from the dead.
Now it appears that was the plan all along, as Family Guy execs will be bringing Brian the dog back on the December 15 episode, Entertainment Weekly reported.
In the last episode, Brian (voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane) was run over by a car and then buried by the Griffin family. Stewie had just taken apart his time machine that could have reversed the disaster, and couldn’t get the part needed to make it run again.
To move on, the Griffins got a new dog Vinny (voiced by Sopranos actor Tony Sirico).
In interviews after the shocking death episode aired, Family Guy writers played it off as if Brian the dog was gone forever.
“We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” executive producer Steve Callaghan said at the time. “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 it didn’t take some sharp-eyed Family Guy fans long to figure out that Brian the dog would likely make a comeback. The television blog Junkie Monkeys uncovered a screenshot released a Comic Con of a yet-to-be-aired Family Guy episode showing Brian sitting with the entire family.
There are also two episodes set to air later this season with titles suggesting that Brian the dog will play a role — “Brian’s a Bad Father” and “Brian’s Got Back.” Another episode planned for the fall of 2014 features Brian falling for a runner played by guest star Maya Rudolph.
It’s not yet known how Family Guy will bring Brian the dog back to life, but fans can tune in December 15 to find out.