SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 23: Matt Groening speaks on stage during day three of Comic-Con 2011 held at the San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Wendy Redfern/Redferns)
Movies - TV
Leela's Futurama Design Was A Jab At Sci-Fi Fanboys
Fans have long fetishized characters in sci-fi and fantasy media, a fact that "Simpsons" and “Futurama” creator Matt Groening kept in mind while designing Leela, the latter show's most important female character. Leela can be seen as the show’s captain, being a capable fighter, pilot, and the only adult in the room when compared to the dim Fry and self-absorbed Bender.
Groening has a unique, decidedly unsexy art style that began with his comic strip “Life in Hell” debuted in 1997; his designs often give characters overbites and bulbous eyeballs. Groening was surprised when "Futurama" designers were able to make Leela conventionally attractive in the show's art style, but the creator had to offer his own twist on it.
Groening knew that sci-fi fans would instantly sexualize Leela — by dint of her genre and her gender — and admitted that he wanted to mess with fanboys when he gave Leela an enormous, melon-sized, not-so-sexy eyeball. A lot of sexualization actually goes on in "Futurama," but it's mainly just for jokes, which fits Groening's cheeky attitude.