Return of the Ultranet!
Today we celebrate the thirty-fourth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons, which premiered on Fox yesterday, the 25th of September with the episode “Habeas Tortoise”, in which, after public humiliation forces him to doubt his own intelligence, Simpson patriarch Homer forms an internet group devoted to solving the mystery behind the disappearance of a tortoise from the Springfield Zoo.
Since its debut on the 17th of December 1989, there have been 728 episodes of The Simpsons. It is now the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American sitcom, and the longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes. Ultimate owner, The Walt Disney Company, subsequently has an embarrassment of Simpson’s intellectual property (IP) to leverage. To date, there has been: a feature-length film in The Simpsons Movie, numerous comic book series, video games, books, and other related media, as well as a billion-dollar merchandising industry.
But where does the Metaverse feature in Disney’s plans? We have previously speculated about Disney’s Metaverse, Disney’s IP strategy, and exploitation of Disney’s IP assets in the Metaverse – see our May post on potential Star Wars-related content and our July post on our hypothetical “Marvelverse”. The Simpsons itself may have foreshadowed the Metaverse in its four hundred and ninety sixth episode Holidays of Future Passed, which depicts a descendant of the internet called the ultranet. Developed sometime before 2041, the ultranet allows users to enter a virtual world via a jack inserted on their neck.
A Simpson’s-themed Metaworld as part of a wider Disney Metaverse is a no-brainer here at themetabite.com. The sheer volume of content available from the thirty-three seasons of The Simpsons to date provide a huge palette with which to shape a Simpsons Metaworld canvas. So where to start? Well let’s start with The Simpsons, hometown, Springfield, an average-sized city in an indeterminate state of the United States. In the Metaverse, it will be anything but average. The city comes pre-loaded with a variety of areas for visitors to explore. These includes forests, meadows, mountain ranges, a desert, a glacier, beaches, badlands, canyons, swamps, a harbour, waterholes, and waterways. Major geographical features, made famous by the series over the years include the Springfield Gorge, Springfield National Forest, the volcanic Mt. Springfield, the West Springfield Desert, the Springfield Badlands (also known as the Alkali Flats), the gigantic Murderhorn Mountain, Springfield Glacier, Mt. Useful National Park, Springfield Mesa, Springfield Monument Park, and Springfield National Park.
But how will we explore Springfield and its environs? First, we’ll need some form of transport. Fortunately, we have a wealth of options available from the official Simpsons canon including Homer’s Plymouth Junkerolla, Bart’s skateboard, Flanders' Lawnmower, the Frinkosonic MHV, and the Springfield Monorail. As well as being able visit these locations, interact with well-known residents, and socialise with like-minded fans, visitors will be able to join multiplayer games like the Grand Theft Auto-esque Hit & Run, or compete in Simpsons universe esports, perhaps as a member of Springfield's American football team the Springfield Atoms, Springfield's hockey team the Springfield Ice-O-Topes, or the local bowling club down at Barney’s Bowlarama? Then there’s shopping. Ever pined for a Bartman or Krusty the Clown outfit for your avatar? Or a physical copy of Radioactive Man #1, the first issue of the fictional Radioactive Man comic? Or even a Simpsons artwork non-fungible token (NFT)? In a Simpson’s-themed Metaworld all of these can be yours!
Please leave a comment below!