Family Guy fans devastated by the death of Brian, the family dog, are in for a proverbial treat. According to a report by EW, the beloved talking canine, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, is slated to make his return to the series on December 15.
Although the exact nature of his return has not been clarified, the episode – entitled “Christmas Guy” – reportedly features Brian in the cast list. It also promises a plot in which baby Stewie “devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas.”
For those who missed the November 24 episode, Brian's death came after Stewie's time machine was irreparably broken, and the family bid farewell to their smart-talking dog during an emotional funeral. Jumping ahead a month, the Griffins adopted a fast-talking new dog named Vinny, voiced by The Sopranos' Tony Sirico, who helped comfort Stewie in the wake of his devastating loss.
The episode raised an outcry, with over 125,000 irate fans signing an online petition demanding the character return to the show. However, reports that Brian will be featured in an episode next season in which he becomes romantically linked to a jogger played by Maya Rudolph led many to believe his death was in fact just an elaborate stunt.
“We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up,” executive producer Steve Callaghan said of the decision to off Brian. “As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.”