Why Gravity Falls Ended After Season 2 (Was It Cancelled?)



The hit Disney Channel series Gravity Falls ended after only two seasons — while at its peak of critical and commercial success. Was it cancelled?

Despite being a critical and ratings hit, the Disney Channel series Gravity Falls ended after only season 2 — here’s why. Created by Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls was an animated mystery-comedy show which aired from June 15, 2012, to February 15, 2016. The series followed the summer adventures of 12-year-old twins Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel (Kristen Schaal) as they were sent to the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Joining the Gravity Falls cast was Alex Hirsch himself as Grunkle Stan, the twins’ great uncle who ran the Mystery Shack, Linda Cardellini as Wendy Corduroy, an employee of the Shack, and J.K. Simmons as Grunkle Ford, Stan’s long-lost twin.

Throughout its short run, Gravity Falls established itself as one of the most influential cartoons of the decade. The show received accolades, including three Annie Awards, two Emmy Awards for animation, and one BAFTA Children’s Award. It also set viewership records in Disney XD, with its season 2 premiere garnering more than 2 million viewers. Gravity Falls also received praises for successfully melding old-fashioned rural storytelling with modern humor and references, including the Universal Monsters, drawing the attention of all ages. Its strange yet clever and satirical set-up elevated it from a simple kid’s cartoon to a sophisticated show. Because of these, naturally, viewers were shocked to learn that it ended just after two seasons. 

Related: Is Gravity Falls On Netflix? How To Watch Online

On November 20, 2015, Hirsch announced (via Tumblr) that Gravity Falls only had two more episodes left and would end with season 2. Since the news came as a shock to fans, he clarified that the show was ending, not being cancelled. He revealed that from the beginning, Gravity Falls was anchored on his vision of an epic childhood summer: “a mystery that had a real answer, an adventure that had a real climax, and an ending that had a real conclusion for the characters.” At its core, the series, set at the Mystery Shack, attempted to reflect the fleeting nature of childhood, so there was really no sense in dragging out the story.

Gravity Falls Main Characters

As Hirsch himself pointed out, “there are so many shows that go on endlessly until they lose their original spark.” By ending Gravity Falls while still at its peak, he avoided this outcome, thus making the show’s ending a rare scenario in the television industry. Besides, the series famously cultivated an investigative and interactive relationship with its viewers. There was a cryptogram hidden in each episode’s credits, and the audience had to decipher them. Had the plot continued beyond its natural conclusion, there would have been a chance that the original mystery — which attracted its viewers in the first place — would be sidelined. That would have failed to provide a satisfying payoff in Gravity Falls season 3 and beyond.

Ultimately, Alex Hirsch’s decision to finish Gravity Falls with season 2 is wise. While its abrupt ending disappointed the fans at first, it only amplified the legacy of the show. Its original narrative style inspired the next generation of adventure cartoons that aim to bring to life magic realism. These include Steven UniverseStar vs. the Forces of Evil, The Owl House, Amphibia, and Rick and Morty. Even the new Netflix release Inside Job has evident influences from Gravity Falls. To this day, the fan base of the series is alive and continuously growing, with online discussions, fan fiction, and mail still circulating. Additionally, it created various merchandise, including books and even a video game called Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets. Gravity Falls may have ended after two seasons, but the pioneer show’s impact on its viewers and on the animation industry will always remain.

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