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Every Few Seasons Futurama’s Animators Have To Tackle The Same Challenge
In the “Futurama” pilot “Space Pilot 3000,” Fry delivers a pizza to a cryogenics lab on New Year's Eve, 1999. Searching for the recipient, he reads the order aloud: “I.C. Wiener.”
Thinking he's being pranked, Fry decides to relax and have a slice of the pizza while no one is around. In a clumsy moment, he falls into a cryopod, freezing for a thousand years.
Fry's freezing is revisited frequently throughout the show's eight seasons and four films. This is done through flashbacks of Fry or time travel in the show's many episodes.
However, revisiting the pilot strained the animators, requiring them to recreate the scene every few seasons while balancing historical accuracy with the evolving animation style.
Early “Futurama” predated technological upgrades like high definition and different aspect ratios. As a result, they appear murky and fuzzy, creating challenges for future updates.
In a 2013 interview with AV Club, David X. Cohen mentioned the frequency of reusing the pilot, counting "four episodes now, where we've revisited the moment where Fry got frozen."
Fortunately for fans, if “Futurama” returns to screens and revisits Fry's freezing, Cohen remembers, “the animators will always say, 'Let's make it look a little bit better!’”