Harry Shearer
'The Simpsons' voice actor Harry Shearer, pictured here at the "For Your Consideration" premiere in 2006, recently revealed that he might not walk away from the show for Season 27 and 28 as previously reported. Reuters

Fans of “The Simpsons” got some bad news earlier this week when key voice cast member Harry Shearer announced he would be leaving the show after its 26th season. However, now it seems that the door may still be open for the voice of Ned Flanders and others to return.

After the 71-year-old was revealed as the lone holdout in singing a deal for the next two seasons, he took to Twitter to announce that producer James L. Brooks and his lawyers had given him the boot form the show. As it turns out, Shearer wasn’t fired, but simply wouldn’t accept the same deal that the rest of the cast agreed to.

Despite how final those tweets sound, “The Simpsons” producer Al Jean revealed that he doesn’t think Shearer is out for good and that he’s just playing hardball. Having said that, he doesn’t quite know what he’s holding out for.

“Well, we’re still hoping he might come back. Nothing’s done ‘til it’s done. He tweeted that it was over, but … There’s an offer that the rest of the cast accepted, and Harry has not accepted it. It’s not going to change, because the rest of the cast took it. So we’re hoping he does,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “If he doesn’t within a certain period of time, we would have to recast—but we haven’t started.”

Meanwhile, Brooks seems hopeful that the issue can still be resolved and that Shearer can continue to voice iconic characters like Principal Serymour Skinner, Dr. Hibbert, Mr. Burns and Reverend Lovejoy.

Now, the actor himself has given fans reason to hope. Speaking to CNN Money, Shearer referenced the above tweet saying: “Stay tuned.” The actor refused to comment any more on the matter but it’s clear that he’s not so removed from the series that he can’t return with the right convincing.

It’s unclear exactly what Shearer’s problem with the contract is given that Jean has hinted it’s a reasonable sum of money and that the actor has the freedom to do most of his voiceover recording over the phone. In any case, with a lot of time between now and the Season 27 premiere, negotiations could still be underway.