Like a lot of actors, Adam West passed away leaving a body of work yet to be released, and if you’re a fan of the Fox animated comedy Family Guy, it’s probably been top of mind for you just how long much longer Quahog will be living under the firm, often bizarre and occasionally nonsensical leadership of Mayor “Adam West”. Well, if you’ve already read the headline, then you know that there are five episodes of the show that West completed before he passed away earlier this month, but the show’s executive producer is also talking about the fate of West’s animated persona.
“Mayor West will be in five more episodes of the show that are scheduled to air this coming season,” said EP Steve Callaghan in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. This must be doubly hard for Callaghan because he’s the one that introduced the character Mayor West in the show early in Family Guy’s second season.
Callaghan added that there was never any thought in the Family Guy‘s writers room of pulling West’s work from the episode, especially when there’s a scene of him “riding a hoverboard with a rat in his pocket,” and presiding “over a ceremony for a group of millennials.” Callaghan did discuss that West’s passing also forced them to make some changes. “There were two or three episodes where his character had been written in, but he hadn’t yet recorded those, so obviously we’ve made accommodations for that,” he said. “There was one scene where he was officiating a wedding, and it was easy enough to just have a different character do that. I [wouldn’t] even consider having someone come in and try to imitate his voice.”
Having said that, the producer and his fellow writers are still unsure about how they’ll deal with West’s absence, but it was a problem they were already tackling with another recent passing. “We haven’t exactly decided how we’re going to address the departure of Adam West’s character from the series,” Callaghan explained. “In fact, this is something that we’ve been dealing with concerning the loss of Carrie Fisher [who recurred as Peter’s boss Angela]. But what I can say is that both of their departures from the show will certainly reflect the importance that each of those characters — and actors — had within our series.”
Death is always difficult for shows like Family Guy to deal with as those characters never age and can almost literally go on forever, but it might be wise for Family Guy to take its cue from The Simpsons, who twice have had to deal with the sudden passing of a cast member, in 1998 with the murder of Phil Hartman and in 2013 when Marcia Wallace suddenly died of pneumonia. In both cases, the characters those actors played were quietly retired, although there was a touching tribute to Wallace’s character Edna Krabappel from her screen husband Ned Flanders in the episode, “The Man Who Grew Too Much.”
Family Guy returns this fall on Fox.