Hard as might be to believe, it has been ten years since the release of The Simpsons Movie in cinemas. The long-awaited big screen debut of America's first family of television was a resounding success, but a sequel never followed.
Fox's TV series heads into its 29th season this year, with at least two more planned taking the show into 2020. Matt Groening's creation is a cultural touchstone and remains enormously popular, but a return to the silver screen still hasn't happened.
"I'd love for there to be another one," director of the first film David Silverman told Entertainment Weekly in an interview marking the film's tenth anniversary.
"We're still a ways away from it," he added. "We talk about this and that. We're thinking it over, but nothing's happening just yet."
Writer and producer Al Jean added that a sequel has been discussed "just in the vaguest strokes, just in the possibility of it," and that any potential follow-up is still in "the very earliest stages."
"I certainly am cautious about a couple things," Jean said. "I wouldn't want it to be risky in terms of budget, and I would not want it to be anything that we did purely for the money. I would want it to be a really great movie.
"I personally feel no need for another one unless it's great."
It took 18 years for Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie to transition to cinemas, and one of the biggest reasons why was the workload imposed on the Simpsons team, who'd still be developing a TV series.
Silverman referenced this in the interview, saying: "It's still daunting because it really knocked the stuffing out of us to do the movie and the show at the same time."
The Simpsons Movie saw the family exiled from Springfield as a government plan to enclose the town in a giant glass dome is enforced. On the outside, it's up to The Simpsons to get back home and save the town from being blown up.
In October, executive producer James L. Brooks revealed (to nobody's real surprise) that 20th Century Fox "very much" wanted a sequel after the original took more than $500 million at the worldwide box office.
"Maybe we will and maybe we won't—that's where it is," he explained. "How do we divide our labours, and do we believe in the idea we have? We may go into a more active exploration of a second movie soon."
In 2015 Al Jean revealed that season 26 episode The Man Who Came to Be Dinner tells a story that was once saved as the potential plot of a Simpsons Movie sequel. In the episode, The Simpsons are captured by aliens Kang and Kudos and taken to their homeworld on Rigel 7.
Jean said it had been "seriously considered" before it was used in the episode.