Johnny Hardwick Recorded Episodes of ‘King of the Hill’ Revival Before Death

The Big Picture

  • The sudden death of Johnny Hardwick, who portrayed Dale Gribble, leaves uncertainty about the future of the King of the Hill revival series on Hulu. Hardwick had recorded a few episodes before his passing.
  • Dale Gribble was a beloved and iconic character on King of the Hill, making it challenging to imagine the show continuing without him. His story was intertwined with other main characters, adding depth to the series.
  • The King of the Hill revival will feature a time jump to the present day, offering a fresh perspective on the characters and their responses to the changes in the world. The series is expected to premiere in 2024 on Hulu.

Following the sudden and tragic death of King of the Hill star Johnny Hardwick, who portrayed the beloved conspiratorial neighbor Dale Gribble across all 13 seasons and 259 episodes of the animated comedy, the question remains of what will happen with the Hulu revival series. Hardwick was among the many regular cast members set to reprise their roles, and it’s now confirmed that he had begun recording before he died. An exclusive report from TV Line revealed today that he completed « a couple » of episodes.

As of right now, no decision has been made on what to do regarding Dale, but it’s hard to imagine a continuation of the series without the pocket sand-slinging neighbor. Dale was Hank Hill’s best friend and arguably King of the Hill‘s most iconic character with no shortage of quotable lines and sidesplitting scenes during the run of the series. His story was also directly linked to many of the show’s other regular characters with some of his best moments involving his wife Nancy and son Joseph as well as John Redcorn, Nancy’s secret lover whom Dale was bafflingly incapable of catching on to.

20th Television Animation and Hulu couldn’t divulge any further on the status of the series, but they did issue a joint statement remembering the contributions of Hardwick to the King of the Hill universe:

« Johnny Hardwick was an incredibly beloved member of the King of the Hill family, whose tremendous talent, brilliant humor and friendship will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to work with him over the past 25 years. Our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family as we mourn the loss of one of the animation greats. His voice gave life to one of our most iconic characters, and he will be truly missed. »

Image via Fox

The King of the Hill Revival Is Going in a New Direction

Rather than picking up directly after the show’s ending in 2009, the King of the Hill revival will include a time jump to the present day as confirmed by co-creator Greg Daniels in a 2022 interview with Crumpa. It’s not entirely clear what that will entail yet, especially since the characters never aged in the original run, but it should mean a bit of a new look for the characters as they respond to the many changes in the world since the last trip to Arlen, Texas. During its original run, the series was centered on Hank Hill, a salesman of propane and propane accessories for Strickland Propane, and navigated the various relationships between him and his colorful family and friends in their neighborhood.

Hardwick isn’t the only cast member who won’t be making the return to Arlen. The King of the Hill cast has also sadly lost Brittany Murphy and Tom Petty who played Luanne and Lucky in the series’ original run. Otherwise, Mike Judge will be back as co-creator with Daniels and as the star playing both Hank and Boomhauer with Kathy Najimy returning as Peggy and Pamela Adlon as Bobby. The rest of the returning cast includes Stephen Root as Hank’s other friend Bill Dauterive, Ashley Gardner as Nancy, and Lauren Tom as Hank’s neighbor Minh and also her daughter Connie.

The King of the Hill revival series is expected to arrive in 2024 on Hulu. Stay tuned here at Crumpa for more on the future of the show.

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