Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, along with his co-showrunners Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin, met for an interview to commemorate the show hitting its 400th episode.
Sitting with The Hollywood Reporter, the trio was asked to speak about their show’s Star Wars parody episodes, the first of which, “Blue Harvest,” started off the sixth season. Sulkin described the episode as “The peak moment of [his] career,” and elaborated, “Seth was nice enough to entrust me with writing that Star Wars episode. I got to go to Lucasfilm and Lucas Ranch with Seth and a few people from production, and we got to watch it with George Lucas. He laughed the whole time, to his credit. It was just awesome. Just fantastic.”
The co-showrunners touched on a number of other topics during the interview, such as how Family Guy has grown since its first season in 1999, and how they maintain its trademark edgy humor despite the alleged “cancel culture.” Appel also went on to reveal an interesting change in the notes they receive from the network, following Fox’s 2019 acquisition by Disney. “The difference is, Disney owns so many properties that I will find myself making legal arguments that I know are winners about parody and why we can get away with certain things. And then the question becomes, ‘Well that may be, Rich, but Marvel doesn’t want to see its character portrayed in this light.’ And I’ve sometimes said, ‘Well, what if we just air it and see what happens?’ ‘No, that’s not how we work.'”
Family Guy in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
“Blue Harvest” is an hour-long episode parodying Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, in which Peter Griffin, the titular “Family Guy,” retells the plot of the movie, featuring the citizens of Quahog as various Star Wars characters. “Blue Harvest” first aired in 2007 and received generally positive reviews, and was made with the permission of LucasFilm under the condition that all characters appear exactly as they do in the film. By December 2010, two more hour-long follow-up episodes parodying both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi had been released. All three episodes were sold together as box-set called Laugh it Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy for DVD and Blu-ray.
Since joining the writing staff of Family Guy in 2005, Sulkin and MacFarlane have worked on a number of projects together. Sulkin co-wrote the scripts for Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West, and MacFarlane was credited as an executive producer on Sulkin’s own show Dads, which ran for one season in 2013. In 2018 Sulkin, along with Appel, became a showrunner for Family Guy starting with the show’s 16th season.
Family Guy‘s 400th episode, “Get Stewie.” airs on Nov. 20 on Fox.