Family Guy says goodbye to Carrie Fisher this week in a touching yet glib funeral for her character, Angela.
Fisher joined the cast of Family Guy back in season 4 in 2005. She played Peter Griffin's boss, Angela, in 25 episodes between then and her passing in 2016. The show continued to air new episodes with Fisher's voice until nearly a year after her death, without addressing her passing at all. Finally, this Sunday's episode will amend that.
In an early clip published by Fox, Peter speaks at Angela's funeral. Naturally, his eulogy is laced with jokes, fourth-wall breaks and pop culture references, yet it also rings true as a send-off for one of the greatest actresses of her generation.
"That was Angela," he says after a quick succession of gags. "Fearless, spontaneous, honest — about herself just as much as she was about the world around her. She had grace, courage and an unmatched zest for life."
The show even finds a subtle way to reference Fisher's iconic role in Star Wars when addressing her legacy.
"She may be gone, but her voice will live on in DVD and Hulu Plus, and tiny droid projected messages," he says.
"I may have lost a boss," Peter concludes, "but heaven has gained a princess."
The tribute to Fisher has been a long time coming for Family Guy fans. It is clear that the writers took their time deciding how they would say goodbye to the character they got so much mileage out of. Last year, executive producer Steve Callaghan spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the episode.
“It’s very much intended and a respectful goodbye to both the character of Angela and also Carrie Fisher,” he said. “Peter has a speech in there where he’s talking about Angela, but we the audience know that he’s also quite deliberately talking about Carrie Fisher."
Callaghan had a lot of kind words about Fisher, who took a simple secondary character and gave her a lot of life.
“It would be easy for a less capable actress to make that character kind of one-note, gruff, and yelling all the time,” he noted. “But Carrie brought to it a depth that I don’t think just anyone could have… We’re incredibly grateful to her for that, and we all feel the loss of that now that we’re writing episodes that don’t have Angela in them.”
In her time on the show, Angela admonished Peter for his antics and often played the straight man. However, she also enticed him into an affair, and even attempted suicide in one episode, leading Peter to save her.
Callaghan admitted that the episode does more than say goodbye to Fisher. It also introduces her replacements — a new husband and wife management team played by Bryan Cranston and Niecy Nash.
"It’s not like the entire episode is about Angela’s departure, but it does introduce Peter’s new bosses that then sets the stage for what the episode is about," he said.
Fans will have to tune in to see how the casting shake-up works out. Family Guy airs at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.