“Who Shot Mr Burns” is one of the most iconic episodes of The Simpsons, but the ending could have been completely different to the one we know and love.
Of course, any self-respecting fan will know it was Maggie who pulled the trigger and shot Mr Burns, as is revealed in the final twist of the dramatic double episode.
But Josh Weinstein, a Simpsons writer who teamed up with Bill Oakley to pitch the idea for the episode, has revealed that Maggie wasn’t their original pick for the shooter.
In a post on Twitter, Weinstein shared the first page of the original episode pitch containing a description of how the plot would pan out and which character would be responsible for the shooting.
Check it out:
Summary of our pitch for "Who Shot Mr. Burns" from the June '94 story conference notes.
Neat to see how this developed (we thought it could be Barney but on the very next page -so within minutes of discussing it- someone suggests Maggie) And Patty & Selma could've been suspects. pic.twitter.com/8O3mOdY7vr
— Josh Weinstein (@Joshstrangehill) March 11, 2018
Right!? Maggie is not even mentioned as a suspect. Weinstein and Oakley initially favoured pinning the crime on an unimportant drifter or a new character as some kind of parody, but they eventually decided that a familiar character would be a better choice.
It turns out Barney, Patty and Selma were slated as the most likely candidates, driven by various motives.
I, for one, am glad they eventually chose Maggie, because no one expected it and we didn’t have to lose any of our favourite characters.
Throwing Barney in jail would have been too sad and getting rid of Patty or Selma would have been too anti-climactic.