Goodbyes are hard – just ask fans of Gravity Falls. This month five years ago, Dipper, Mabel, Grunkle Stan and the rest of the colourful cast of this Disney animated mystery-comedy series wrapped up their final whacky adventure after two near-perfect seasons, leaving the show’s devoted following wanting more.
In the half decade since, fans have held out hope of a Gravity Falls revival; so far, however, nothing has materialised. Sure, there’s tie-in anthology graphic novel Gravity Falls: Lost Legends – which wasn’t really a sequel – and series creator Alex Hirsch has admitted floating the idea of a big screen follow-up with the powers that be at Disney (they passed), but that’s about it.
So, for the time being at least, it looks like series finale “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls” will remain the definitive ending to the main Gravity Falls story… and that’s exactly the way things should stay, too.
Adding a new entry to the Gravity Falls canon would only take away from it
Don’t get me wrong: I love Gravity Falls; it’s easily one of the best all-ages cartoons ever made. But the final episode (heck, the entire final season) is so perfect, a direct follow-up will almost certainly come up short by comparison – when it comes to Gravity Falls, less really is more.
Why? Because at its heart, Gravity Falls is a story about growing up and leaving childhood behind, and for that to work intellectually and emotionally, there needs to be a definitive ending. Just like Dipper and Mabel’s two-season long summer vacation, Gravity Falls reached its natural, inevitable conclusion when they turned 13.
Of course, watching the twins leave Gravity Falls behind to embark on the next stage of their lives is a bittersweet experience – like them, part of us wishes their childhood adventures could go on forever. But even in a fictional universe of dream demons, time babies and alternate dimensions, that’s not possible, and like Dipper and Mabel, eventually, we have to accept this.
This is a refreshingly profound, unvarnished message for a show (ostensibly) aimed at kids, and one that a Gravity Falls sequel series or movie would utterly undermine. Yes, “Weirdmageddon 3” teased the idea of Dipper and Mabel reuniting with the Mystery Shack gang again, and that’s great – but their experiences together are bound to be different to what we’ve seen throughout Gravity Falls‘ 40-episode run, simply because they won’t be children anymore.
Childhood has to end (and so do our favourite stories)
So, while Hirsch could easily cook up another ingenious mystery for our heroes to solve – his imagination is seemingly as limitless as Gravity Falls’ capacity for paranormal happenings – the overall adventure itself wouldn’t ring true, no matter how much we want it to.
How could it? Even though the magical elements in Gravity Falls were presented literally, as far as Dipper and Mabel are concerned, they were metaphorically tied to the transition from children to young adults.
Once this transition was complete, the twins’ otherworldly exploits were effectively over – symbolically, there’s no way for them to continue without seriously undermining Dipper and Mabel’s joint character arc. While the show’s internal logic would still allow for it, thematically, it’s a total non-starter.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, since it means accepting that Gravity Falls is finished for good. But if there’s one thing the show has taught us it’s that part of life is learning to move on – and for fans, that means learning to move on from Gravity Falls.