Kang and Kodos are a duo of recurring characters in the animated television series The Simpsons. Kang is voiced by Harry Shearer and Kodos by Dan Castellaneta. They are aliens from the fictional planet Rigel VII and appear almost exclusively in the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes. The duo has appeared in at least one segment of all twenty-six Treehouse of Horror episodes. Sometimes their appearance is the focus of a plot, other times a brief cameo. Kang and Kodos are often bent on the conquest of Earth and are usually seen working on sinister plans to invade and subjugate humanity.
The duo first appeared in season two's "Treehouse of Horror". The first drawing of Kang and Kodos came from writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky. The finished design was based on an EC Comics issue cover. Kang and Kodos had brief cameo appearances in several non-"Treehouse of Horror" episodes and have appeared as villains in several of The Simpsons video games.
Speaking "Rigellian", which coincidentally sounds exactly like English, Kang and Kodos are Rigellians from the planet Rigel VII. Virtually identical in appearance, wearing breathing helmets, one of the few distinguishing characteristics is the duo's voices as Kang's is deeper. In most appearances they are antagonistic towards humanity. One exception is Kang and Kodos's first appearance in segment "Hungry are the Damned" of the episode "Treehouse of Horror", where they capture the Simpson family and feed them exquisite cuisine. Lisa becomes suspicious of their intentions and accuses Kang and Kodos of wanting to eat the Simpson family. Kang and Kodos deny this accusation and are outraged. Afterwards both take the Simpsons back to Earth. Kang and Kodos have invaded the Earth on several occasions, with varying results. In 1996, Kang and Kodos impersonated Bill Clinton and Bob Dole and ran against each other in the 1996 election. At first, Americans declared they would vote for a third party candidate, but Kang convinced them that the option would be a waste of a vote. As a result, Kang was elected president. In their second appearance, they decided to take over the Earth after citizens had declared world peace, but ultimately failed. Kang and Kodos's religion is "Quantum Presbyterians", although Kodos later claims to be Jewish. Other Rigellians that have appeared include Serak the Preparer, who was voiced by James Earl Jones and only appeared in "Treehouse of Horror".
Kang and Kodos have appeared in every "Treehouse of Horror" episode to date, and have played major roles in "Treehouse of Horror I", "Treehouse of Horror II", "Treehouse of Horror VII", "Treehouse of Horror IX", "Treehouse of Horror XVII", "Treehouse of Horror XVIII". and " Treehouse of Horror XXII. The rest of their appearances were cameos, although both appeared in the opening segment of "Treehouse of Horror X", "Treehouse of Horror XIV", "Treehouse of Horror XV" and "Treehouse of Horror XVI". Kang and Kodos's cameo appearances normally occur in the midst of segments, which will suddenly cut away to the duo. For example, Kang and Kodos observe zombies attacking Earth from space. The duo laugh maniacally at the Earthlings' suffering, before the scene is switched back from space to Earth. Kang and Kodos have made rare appearances in non-"Treehouse of Horror" episodes, such as "Behind the Laughter" and "Gump Roast", and had a non-speaking cameo in "The Springfield Files" on a line-up with other aliens. Also, the duo can be seen in the crowd flyby during the updated HD opener.
In the episode "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner", Kang and Kodos have one of their few canon appearances. The Simpsons end up on Rigel VII where Kang and Kodos give them a tour and a brief look at their lifecycle before placing them in a zoo with one of them, Homer, to be eaten in a yearly ritual. But after it is revealed that human consumption is fatal to their kind due to their unhealthy diet, their queen killed as a result, the Rigellans send the Simpsons back to Earth.
In one Treehouse of Horror episode, Kang claims to be Maggie's father, the result of an experiment to breed two different species.Though this episode was non-canon, hints of Maggie's Rigellian heritage have been hidden throughout "The Simpsons".
Kang and Kodos first appeared in the second season in "Treehouse of Horror". The idea of Kang and Kodos came from Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky, writers of "Hungry are the Damned". In the script, Kang and Kodos were shown as "an octopus in a space helmet with a trail of goo". The finished design was based on EC Comics cover issue. Although originally designed to constantly drool, Matt Groening suggested that they not drool all the time to make the animation process easier. However, the animators did not mind the work, leading to the drooling staying in the script. Kang and Kodos's names are derived from two Star Trek characters. Kang was a Klingon captain portrayed by actor Michael Ansara in "Day of the Dove", whereas Kodos the Executioner was a human villain from "The Conscience of the King". Harry Shearer voices Kang, and Dan Castellaneta voices Kodos. An unofficial rule for the writers is that Kang and Kodos must appear in every Halloween episode. Despite this rule, the writers say the duo will often be forgotten and are added at the last second, leading to brief appearances.
Traditionally, Kang and Kodos appeared in every single Treehouse of Horror episode as a part of a story's plotline or as cameos. They almost did not make the cut in "Treehouse of Horror VIII", but David X. Cohen managed to persuade the producers to keep the scene. Kang however didn't appear in Treehouse of Horror XXI. Kang and Kodos were originally going to make regular appearances in the show. One idea was only Homer would be able to see them and everyone else thinking Homer is crazy when he talked about the aliens. However the concept was "too far out", leading to characters only featured in the "Treehouse of Horror" specials. In some appearances, Kang and Kodos will laugh hysterically for several seconds. This was suggested by Sam Simon. During production, the episodes would often be too short; so to make more time, their laughter was lengthened.
Kodos' gender has come into debate from fans. In "Treehouse of Horror VII", Kang introduces Kodos with "This is my sister Kodos". The line was pitched by George Meyer and was even somewhat followed in later episodes as the writers tried to make Kang the more dominant of the two. In previous and subsequent episodes, Kodos has been referred to as a male. In The Simpsons: Tapped Out video game, Kodos, but not Kang, is sent on a mission that only female characters are allowed to complete. In the Futurama crossover episode "Simpsorama", Kang and Kodos, referred to as "the Johnsons", visit recurring Futurama characters Lrrr and Ndnd for dinner in the 31st century, and both identify themselves as female.
Kang and Kodos have appeared in several different The Simpsons video games. The duo appear in the The Simpsons: Road Rage ending, and Kang appears as the final boss character in The Simpsons Wrestling game. Kang and Kodos appear in cut scenes as the main villains 2003's The Simpsons: Hit & Run. In an attempt to collect new material for their failing reality TV show, Foolish Earthlings, Kang and Kodos plan to drug Springfield with a mind-control serum distributed through their "New and Improved Buzz Cola" product. After drinking the cola, the brainwashed people performed stupid stunts under the watchful view of wasp-like surveillance cameras, all for the sake of better ratings. They also appeared as villains in The Simpsons Game along with an army of other Rigellians, but like Simpsons Hit & Run Kang and Kodos only appear in cutscenes. In The Simpsons Tapped Out, Kang was a premium Character for 2012 Halloween, and Kodos followed in the 2013 Halloween.
In 2001, Kang and Kodos were made into separate action figures in the World of Springfield toy line. Along with their spaceship, Kang and Kodos were included with the "Treehouse of Horror II" set exclusive to Toys-R-Us. The two also have a brief cameo in The Simpsons Ride. In 2013, a separate ride called Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl was added in the vicinity of The Simpsons Ride in Universal Studios Florida park.
In 2009, Kang and Kodos were also made into 6" collectible vinyl art toys by Kidrobot x The Simpsons. Kang was sculpted salivating and included an accessory book "How to Cook for Forty Humans". Kodos was the chase figure in the release, and the accessory included was a space gun. Both will be released again by Kidrobot x The Simpsons for The Treehouse of Horrors 3" Blind Box release along with 10 other characters from the Treehouse series on September 2013.
Several of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes featuring the duo have been well received. In 2006, James Earl Jones, voice of Serak the Preparer in "Treehouse of Horror", was named seventh on IGN's "Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances" list. Jones also appeared on AOL's list of their favorite 25 Simpsons guest stars. "Treehouse of Horror VII" is Simpsons creator Matt Groening's seventh favorite episode. Groening's favorite line from the episode is from Kodos; "We have reached the limits of what rectal probing can teach us." In 2006, IGN.com published a list of the top ten Treehouse of Horror segments, and several segments that feature Kang and Kodos were placed, including "Hungry Are The Damned", "Citizen Kang" and "Starship Poopers".