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In the most recent episode of Futurama, Calculon appeared to commit suicide by drinking food colouring (which, everybody knows, is fatal to Robots) and he was still dead at the end of the episode.

Have they retired the character? Did the actor who plays Calculon leave the show? Or was this non-canon?

Does anybody have any info on whether Calculon will actually remain dead?

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    Maurice LaMarche plays Calculon, and I seriously doubt he's quit the show. Otherwise you can also say goodbye to Hedonismbot, Kif, Clamps, Donbot, Morbo, Lrrr, Walt, and The Scary Door. – user1030 Jul 8 '12 at 18:32
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    I suspect he'll be back... The Planet Express crew didn't seem all that concerned about him lying there dead. – dlanod Jul 8 '12 at 21:00
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    Calculon is dead?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO – Dason Jul 8 '12 at 21:40
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    @Dason: Funny, the script called for you to say "Yes". ;) – gnovice Jul 9 '12 at 14:46
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He exists in a quantum state, neither dead, nor alive. We won't know for sure until we see him again. After all, this is the future and Futurama.

Using the logic of most television series comedies:

  • At the end of most episodes, everything is reset to the normal condition, no matter how terrible events might be during the show.
  • Futurama almost never deviates from this pattern, even if we have to travel to the end of the Universe and beyond to put things back to normal.
  • Killing a member of the cast has happened but almost never to a main or even sideline character who made regular appearances. If they died, they did not stay dead.

Given this basic premise we can conclude:

  • In an episode of dueling actors of which Calculon was reputed to be the second best, he was willing to die to prove he could be better.
  • To make the gag effective, Calculon had to actually ACT for the first time we have EVER seen him. He still loses.
  • In this moment of awesome, (TVTropes warning initiated) Calculon gave his best performance.
  • Part of the joke is Calculon is seen in nearly every shot until the end of the show, never knows he's lost and does not know why he lost (he never had a chance against an alien whose powers made him naturally a better actor.)
  • In that very same episode, the entire Planet Express crew was dead (huskified) at least for a few minutes, some members for half the episode.

So if Calculon is dead, and he certainly appeared to be, we have to remember:

  • He is not a MOMBot, so he, in theory does not have a backup drive (he was made in 2019) so unless he had an upgrade:
  • There will either be a story required to revive him (we have plenty of options):

    • previously unknown robot regeneration from his time as a Were-Car,
    • machinations of the Robot Devil,
    • A team of MOMS Robots trying to salvage his "unholy acting talent" to create a new organization of robot actors,
    • Professor Farnsworth or other mad scientists OR
  • We will simply see him return saying something ridiculous like "I was acting like I was dead. That's why they call it ACTING."

This is the Future and Futurama, they certainly wouldn't let a little thing like Death stop them from bringing Calculon back to the show. He has been dodging Death with skill and alacrity for a thousand years. Why stop now?

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In case someone hasn't seen the episode in season 7 titled Calculon 2.0.

Fry and Bender brought him back to life to act again. When he finds out no one likes him, he does one more great act to get back on top and dies. (I believe by killing him self)

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Out-of-universe answer: Calculon is whatever the writers want him to be. Characters in Futurama "die" all the time, only to be brought back by cloning, reclaiming their "life force", or whatever.

In-universe answer: Assuming Calculon really is dead (and not just acting), then we can figure out his current state by first considering what happened to Bender when he previously died...

In the episode "Ghost in the Machines", Bender (again) goes to a suicide booth to commit suicide, only to discover that he had previously dated said suicide booth. She kills him for dumping her, and Bender ends up in Limbo with his software having been uploaded to the computational cloud. The Robot Devil then offers Bender a deal to return to his old body. Even though a previous episode "Lethal Inspection" explained that Bender has a faulty back-up unit and can't download into a new robot body, this episode would seem to imply that Bender's limitation has been removed due to the normal course of technological advancement that occurs in robot society (such as when Bender is given an upgrade to be made more compatible with Robot 1-X in the episode "Obsoletely Fabulous").

So, what does this mean for Calculon? Well, Calculon received routine upgrades to his robot body over the course of 1000 years (episode "The Honking"), thus meaning he should also be capable of having his software uploaded to the computational cloud when he dies. He also committed suicide by drinking the food coloring, meaning that he will end up in Limbo just like Bender. However, Calculon had previously made a deal with the Robot Devil for his "unholy acting talent", and although the Robot Devil collected on that bargain by asking Calculon to give up his ears (episode "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings"), making a deal with the Robot Devil is likely considered a sin in the eyes of the Robot Church. Calculon would therefore almost certainly end up in Robot Hell, the property of the Robot Devil, like all the other sinner units.

Therefore, the in-universe answer is like the out-of-universe answer, but replace "writers" with "Robot Devil": Calculon is whatever the Robot Devil wants him to be. If the Robot Devil wants to give him a chance to return to his body (like he gave Bender) then we will see Calculon again.

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DXC actually said on the podcast that there'll be an arc with Calculon for this season. So he'll be back eventually...

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    Do you have a reference for this? – animuson Jul 9 '12 at 7:42
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Considering there is an episode scheduled to air in Season 7B titled "Calculon 2.0", he is either still alive or will be brought back to life. Unless of course the episode is only about him being dead. Also considering that it's FUTURAMA we are talking about, I doubt he will remain dead as he is far too valuable of a character to get rid of and as is stated above, everyone that dies either isn't dead to begin with or they come back to life.

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