Disenchantment has been out for a week now and has received mixed views from critics and fans. While you can find a season review elsewhere on this site, this article is tailored around features you might have missed. It is really hard to spot all the small details without combing over the series a few times over. Luckily, having time this weekend I did some treasure hunting to find the minute details that make this series worth watching for a second time through.
Futurama in the same universe?
To start off let’s start with the Easter egg that has the internet buzzing regarding Matt Groening’s previous show Futurama. In the season finale, “Dreamland Falls”, Lucy with the help of the magic orb that was briefly used for an eye replacement for Elfo’s “girlfriend” Tess caught Futurama members in the castle. For a split second, three frames or less, Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth travel through with the use of their time machine seen in Futurama’s “The Late Philip J. Fry.”
Seeing those three specifically instead of other members of the Futurama crew implies that it is indeed the same episode listed above. In that episode, the trio discovers that time moves in a circular pattern where events repeat. In the episode, it is shown that multiple times through history kingdoms are raised from the ground when higher technological civilizations are demolished. The inclusion of this could imply that these two shows share the same universe. However, I personally believe this is simply a nod of the creator’s previous show and people are blowing it way out of proportion.
The ending of the series came as a complete surprise with Dagmar creating a plot twist that will serve as the driving point of season 2. However, after examination of the character, there were hints of how the season would end up as early as episode 1. The Queen’s design heavily resembles the evil queen character in hundreds of stories. The Victorian era design of the clothes though not a definite giveaway is a slight one.
On the topic of Dagmar, there was definitely some nods towards to the Labyrinth. The creatures under her command resemble goblins from the aforementioned film. The plucky ragged appearance of the crew looks straight out of the Henson property. With Dagmar looking to take away Bean as a child this could resemble David Bowie’s Goblin King Jareth. Look for this going further in the series.
References to Full Metal Alchemist?
An unlikely connection could come from the popular anime Full Metal Alchemist. This could definitely be reading too much into the series but there a few different moments reminding me of this Japanese classic. When Lucy was captured by Big Jo via an exorcism he resembled the Dwarf in The Flask. This can be simply that he only had one eye while trapped in the bottle which gave fans flashbacks to the powerful villain. The other point is that in “The Limits of Immortality” the Lost City of Cremorrah where the Eternity Pendant was found resembles Xerxes. The reason behind this is that the ancient kingdom which now stands in ruins is surrounded by a large desert. The search for eternal life is a strong connection to these two series but it may not be intended as that is a common trope in fantasy series.
Reused character designs from The Simpsons and Futurama
One of the biggest complaints around this series is the artwork and the limited character design from Groening. While this series is getting the brunt of the criticism this is not a hidden series from his series as Bender is essentially Homer designed as a robot. This can be seen in Elfo as looks exactly like Bart down to the shorts. Elfo has been blasted for this and honestly, I agree with the criticism as the character lacks imagination. Other elves that looked like previous characters can be found in the elf world where those resembling Lisa and Farnsworth can be found. The way the characters are briefly shown shows that this was intentional and meant for cameo appearances. The ship captain during the trip to Walrus Island also heavily resembles Planet Express’ janitor Scruffy.
The signs in the background
While there is a lot to be distracted by in the foreground with the main events of the series the background hid many jokes and references. On your next time through the series keep an eye out for the signs in the background appearing multiple times through each episode. My favorites were “Royal Wedding. Your presence is requested. Your gifts are required.” in the first episode and “Little Orphan Annex” in the fifth episode. There is a complete list of the signs to keep an eye out for on Reddit which will save time for viewers. There are other small nods throughout the series like the Planet Express ship off in the background as Bean, Elfo, and Lucy heads out on their journey.
Let us know your thoughts. What is your favorite Easter egg in Disenchantment?