The Simpsons is announcing some cast changes for Season 32. The long-running animated series first pledged in June that it would no longer have white actors play non-white characters, and they’re sticking to their promise in the upcoming season. The character of Carl, Homer’s (Dan Castellaneta) co-worker at a nuclear plant and Lenny Leonard’s best friend, will now be voiced by Better Things actor Alex Désert, Variety reports.
The character was previously voiced by Hank Azaria, and Désert will be taking over for at least the season premiere episode. “We are very pleased to welcome Alex Désert, playing Carl in the Simpsons season premiere,” a statement from the show reads.
The news comes after Fox announced this summer that they’d be making some changes to The Simpsons cast. “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the network said in a June 26 statement. Months before Fox’s announcement, Azaria, who also voiced Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on the series for years, confirmed in January that he would no longer be playing Apu, the owner of Springfield’s Kwik-E-Mart.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s someway to transition it or something,” he said at the time. “What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore.”
The Simpsons joins multiple other animated series that are rethinking their casting decisions this year. Big Mouth, Netflix’s puberty comedy series, replaced Jenny Slate with Ayo Edebiri after the actress said she was stepping down from her role as Missy. Central Park, Apple TV+’s musical series, also underwent some changes when Kristen Bell announced she would no longer play her mixed-race character, Molly. Family Guy‘s Mike Henry and Bojack Horseman‘s Alison Brie also stepped away from their roles as non-white characters.
The Simpsons Season 32 premieres this Sunday, Sept 27 on Fox.
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