This has been a long time coming, and it is now official — Hank Azaria will no longer be voicing Apu on The Simpsons.
In a new interview with Slashfilm while at the TCA Winter Press Tour this week, the longtime voice actor made it clear that he is stepping down from the controversial role, which he has played for many years:
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something … We all made the decision together… We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
The road to Azaria’s departure from the role has been a long time coming, and it started with a documentary from comedian Hari Kondabolu in The Problem with Apu. The focus of that was to look at the problematic nature of a character, and how you can still find love within a show while wishing that certain things would change. Apu came under fire for representing a stereotype and also for a white actor taking on the role. Azaria said some time ago that he was open to stepping down from the role, and now it’s official.
As for the future of Apu as a character, that remains to be determined. The character could be “retired” from the show, as have been others in the past. Another possibility could be that a new actor takes on the role and the part becomes more defined and captures a larger immigrant story, as opposed to something seemed one-note and a poor representation of the South Asian community.
Regardless of what happens with Apu, it is clear that The Simpsons is not going anywhere in the near future. The show remains very much on the air, and there is no talk about Fox shutting it down. (New episodes of the series will resume next month — read more about it here.) Azaria will presumably still around the show, where he will voice many other parts.
What do you think about Azaria stepping away from this role?
Best sure to share in the comments, and stick around to get some other news when it comes to the series. (Photo: Fox.)