By CYNTHIA LITTLETON
Disney XD’s mystery toon Gravity Falls will end with an hour-long episode expected to air early next year.
Series creator/executive producer Alex Hirsch announced via a Tumblr post his decision to bring the story to a close after 40 half-hour episodes and 17 shorts. Hirsch said he had always envisioned the mystery coming to a close on a specific timetable. The series’ penultimate episode, Weirdmageddon Part 2: Escape From Reality, is set to broadcast soon.
“The first thing to know is that the show isn’t being cancelled – it’s being finished. This is 100% my choice, and its something I decided on a very long time ago,” Hirsch wrote. “I always designed Gravity Falls to be a finite series about one epic summer – a series with a beginning, middle, and end. There are so many shows that go on endlessly until they lose their original spark, or mysteries that are cancelled before they ever get a chance to payoff.”
Gravity Falls tells the story of 12-year-old twin brother and sister Mabel and Dipper Pines, who are sent to spend the summer in a small Oregon town with their great-uncle Stan, proprietor of a roadside attraction dubbed the Mystery Shack.
Once in Gravity Falls, the twins begin to uncover clues to a larger mystery that involves their “Grunkle Stan” and other characters that bend the rules of space and time. Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal voice the Pines twins, with Hirsch providing the gravely voice of Grunkle Stan.
Gravity Falls was a departure for Disney XD as a toon clearly aimed at an audience of teenagers and above, given the intricacies of the mythology that drives the plot. The show is packed with clues and easter eggs leading up to the larger reveal about the source of the strange occurrences in Gravity Falls, among other phenomenon.
Disney XD confirmed it was Hirsch’s decision to bring the story of Mabel and Dipper to a close. Gravity Falls is consistently one of Disney XD’s most-watched shows. And because of its dense mythology and penchant for cliffhanger episodes, the show has generated a big presence in online fandom with recaps and discussions about plot twists and grand theories about the larger story.
Gravity Falls has had an unusual schedule pattern since its premiere in 2012. Disney ordered two 20-episode seasons, but the episodes have been parceled out slowly rather than on a weekly basis. Season 2 began airing in August 2014, running more or less weekly in November 2014. Two episodes aired in February and March of this year, followed by a handful of episodes in July, September and October.
The Gravity Falls shorts were sprinkled out online and on the channel to help tide fans over during the long hiatus periods.
There’s no word yet on a specific air date for the finale.
Hirsch in his Tumblr post expressed gratitude to Disney for allowing him to bring the curtain down on Gravity Falls on his own terms.
“I wanted Gravity Falls to have a mystery that had a real answer, an adventure that had a real climax, and an ending that had a real conclusion for the characters I care so much about. This is very unusual in television and a pretty big experiment, and Disney for their part has been enormously supportive. I know that hits are rare in this business, and its hard to let one of them go, so I’m so grateful that this company has had the vision to let me start (and end) the show the way I always wanted to,” Hirsch wrote.
Hirsch was an animation wunderkind who got his start on Disney Channel’s Fish Hooks before creating Gravity Falls. – Reuters