If you thought we’d get past a weekend full of tributes to Prince without discussing The Simpsons, you would be foolish. Now the Purple One never actually appeared on the show himself, but he did get quite a few references throughout the show’s history — including one Halloween episode where he is murdered by Homer Simpson before returning to get his revenge with a bunch of other celebrities. It did lead to one or two nice visual gags, though:
But as it turns out, The Simpsons did try to get Prince on the show as a guest voice. Al Jean shared some snippets from a script for “The Prince Episode” where, as reported over at Mashable, the legendary artist would appear as a familiar character for Simpsons fans:
The episode, known merely as “The Prince Episode,” would have featured a return from mental patient character Leon Kompowsky, famously guest voiced by Jackson under a pseudonym — only this time, Leon would believe he was Prince.
Prince reportedly was not a fan of the script, so then-Simpsons writer Conan O’Brien did a rewrite of the script. Sadly, no progress was made. A long back-and-forth eventually led to the episode never being made. End of story
You can check out the script pages from Jean below. Having Prince follow in the footsteps of Michael Jackson makes sense, but you have to feel like part of the reason he didn’t want to do it revolved around rehashing an old idea. But at least it was a creative use of a prospective Prince guest appearance and not just Prince appearing as himself.
It’s likely for the best that we didn’t get Prince in this role. It’s become so iconic for Michael Jackson at this point, no other appearance would be fair to that character or to Prince. That said, we probably could’ve at least gotten the real Prince to sing in the episode.