Family Guy: How Will Brian Make His Big Return?

The chorus of "Oh my God! They killed Brian!" from Family Guy fans after the Griffin pooch was run over by a car and killed in the November 24 episode was immediately followed with the collective question, "But he's not going to stay dead, right?" This is a question that shouldn't be asked in real life (R.I.P. Muffy I still think about you every day!!!) but is easily asked in the world of television, especially animated television, especially especially animated television that takes place in a universe full of ridiculous physics with time machines and combative oversized chickens.

And the cat is out of the bag that the dog won't stay in the body bag. Spoiler alert for anyone who is totally gullible: Brian Griffin will return to Family Guy. And it probably won't just be in a scene where his lifeless corpse is poked with a stick by Chris. Entertainment Weekly broke the news that he would pop up again in the December 15 episode, but a late-October news story about Maya Rudolph guest-voicing a character who Brian has a fling with in a 2014 episode was all we really needed as proof that Brian wasn't going to stay dead (unless Rudolph plays some sick necrophiliac with a bestiality fetish). Well, that and common sense. 

As a stunt, Brian's death was met with anger and shock. Fans protested! Fans signed petitions! Fans "liked" things on Facebook! But I'm here to tell you that killing off Brian was totally radical and I applaud the Family Guy crew for pulling it off. Family Guy isn't just a cartoon, it's Family Guy. Rules don't really apply. The guy who created the series sang about tits at the Oscars. Momentarily killing a beloved character was a professionally played prank, it fits perfectly within Family Guy's essence, and most importantly, it worked. We're so connected to these characters after years and years of reruns that it had an emotional impact that catapulted the show to the top of everyone's news feeds that day. And because it's Family Guy, Brian doesn't have to stay dead. It's the perfect crime, really. I, for one, loved it.

But how will Brian come back? With Stewie's time machine dismantled and unfixable, how can he prevent what has already happened? The description for the December 15 episode includes this foreshadowy tidbit: "Meanwhile, Stewie comes up with a plan to get the one thing he wants for Christmas." Short of world domination, that one thing is likely getting Brian back. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Fix the time machine! He built it once, he can build it again. Then WAM POW ZAP it's back to just a few moments before Brian got run over, Stewie has him step to the left a little, and then everyone continues on with life like nothing happened.
  • Pet cloning! This is happening in the real world, guys. Like, dead pets are being cloned from tissue of the deceased and their psycho owners are paying big bucks for it. Maybe Brian will end up with a fifth paw or a dead eye, but cloning is real-world science that's happening now! I saw it on Orphan Black!
  • Pet Sematary! Notice the 'S' which is the most important detail of pet semataries. Anyone who is a fan of Stephen King knows that pet semataries are entirely real. All you do is bury your dead dog in a plot of a sacred Native American burial ground and voila! The next day you'll have your best bud Mr. Cuddlepants back in your loving arms. He might try to tear out your throat and be horribly disfigured, but such is the price of messing with God's way. 
  • Find Brian's twin! Fact: Dogs aren't born alone. They pop out of their mama dog with a bunch of other mutts, and sometimes those other mutts look and act exactly like another member of the litter. So Peter goes to Brian's breeder, grabs Brian's brother who was never adopted, puts a bow on him, and chains him to the Christmas tree. He's renamed Brian and everyone pretends that Brian I was never killed. This is also known as the Beerfest loophole. 
  • It was all a dream/psilocybin nightmare! What if everything that happened in "Life of Brian" never actually happened because Stewie had a nightmare after drinking too much warm milk? Or suffering a bad mushroom trip? Either way, let's hope "it never really happened" isn't the way the show brings Brian back. In fact, it's so silly let's forget I ever mentioned it.

How do you think Brian will make his big return?