(CNN) — “Family Guy” fans are not letting Brian Griffin go gently into the night.
After the Fox animated comedy killed the character in Sunday’s episode, several fans have signed a Change.org petition pleading with creator Seth MacFarlane and Fox Broadcasting to bring Brian back. To many, the four-legged cast member was a necessary part of the Griffin family, and a replacement dog — even one voiced by “The Sopranos’ ” Tony Sirico — just isn’t going to cut it.
“The writers of family guy didn’t just kill off one of their creations, they killed off the dog who has lived in our homes for the last 15 years,” reads the online petition. “They killed the dog we all have come to love. They killed America’s dog!”
On Tuesday morning, the petition had already amassed 35,000 signatures and counting. “Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experience,” the petition says. ” ‘Family Guy’ and Fox Broadcasting will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back to the show.”
In Sunday’s episode, titled “Life of Brian,” the dog’s demise seemed pretty permanent. Brian was hit by a car attempting to play with his constant companion, baby Stewie, and the devious tot couldn’t use his time machine to solve the heartbreaking problem.
If Brian were to return, it wouldn’t be the first time a TV show has resurrected a character, but Fox did already air a farewell to the smart and snarky pet.
Interestingly, MacFarlane has yet to comment publicly on Brian’s death, although a few creatives who’ve been involved with the series have spoken up. “Wilfred” executive producer David Zuckerman tweeted Monday that although he’s no longer involved with “Family Guy” and knows “the show’s in good hands,” he still hopes “Brian isn’t really dead.”
For what it’s worth, TV critic and author Alan Sepinwall believes “Brian will stay dead just like Superman did,” as does the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff, who speculated on Monday, “Everyone will cover Family Guy just as fervently when the ‘dead character’ comes back in a week or two, right?”
Adding to hopes that Brian isn’t gone for good is a website called BriansAnnouncement.com, spotted by Deadline Hollywood and Variety. Along with a road sign welcoming visitors to the Griffin family’s hometown of Quahog, Rhode Island, there’s a countdown clock for a “special announcement from Brian” in 10 days. And yet, Fox has said that the site is a hoax.
Producer Steve Callaghan didn’t drop any hints about such a site while speaking with E! News after Sunday’s episode, although he did explain that the idea to kill off Brian caught on in the writers’ room and was seen as “a fun way to shake things up.”
“Our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough, to know that they can trust us,” Callaghan told E!. “We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series.”