One Of Zapp Brannigan’s Signature Futurama Moves Came From Matt Groening’s Kid – SlashFilm


Zapp’s salute came after an inappropriate flirtation with Leela (Katey Sagal). He proposed they copulate before a dangerous military maneuver “in case one of us doesn’t come back.” Leela suggests they wait until after, in case neither of them comes back. Not really hearing her, Zapp suggestively replies with a, “Here’s hoping,” and then gives his “heart, head, and away” salute before blowing a kiss. Groening suggested Zapp’s gesture after talking to Will.

Those following Matt Groening’s “Life in Hell” comic will likely have seen the cartoonist’s strips about his sons, Will and Abe, and their adorable precociousness. Will, the elder, was often drawn as being violently imaginative, inventing monsters with names like Ghoul Dieclops, while Abe, gentler, invented monsters named Tina. In the mid-1990s, Groening interviewed a three-year-old Abe about his vampire cape, and Abe joyously explained that all vampires “suck byud!” It’s rather cute. One can see from these strips that Will and Abe were raised well. 

Will contributed the Zapp Brannigan salute as it was seen in “When Aliens Attack.” As Groening said on the commentary track: 

“Oh! That was my son, Will. I said, ‘How do they salute in the future?’ And he did that: Head, to heart, and away.” 

The salute looks like it may be a reference to an old sci-fi movie or TV series, and it’s possible Will extrapolated the salute from something he caught on TV late at night, but I was unable to find a similar salute referenced elsewhere. 

By the end of “When Aliens Attack” Leela, Fry (West), and the rest of the Planet Express crew have to “Swede” the final episode of “Single Female Lawyer” to appease Lrrr’s bloodlust. It all works out in the end. Heart, head, and away. Though that one joke about Lrrr and Ndnd is still waiting in the wings.

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