Alex Hirsch's Gravity Falls made use of various symbols throughout its run on Disney Channel so as to further its world building, with many characters being associated with icons that went on to play key roles in the animated series. However, following the show's thirteenth episode, the symbol on Grunkle Stan's hat -- a yellow crescent -- changed, with the alteration never being mentioned or explained officially.
While speaking with CBR about the launch of new Disney Channel series The Owl House, the Gravity Falls creator revealed why Grunkle Stan's hat changed. "Grunkle Stan's got a Shriner's fez," Hirsch said. "The Shriners' symbol is a random amalgamation of what white dudes in the '30s thought Middle Eastern culture looked like. They're like, 'We'll slap a scimitar and an Islam thing and an Egyptian mask or whatever.' But it has no meaning. And then we just made a simplified version of that, and then halfway through the season, they were like, 'What if the Shriners sue us? We need to change it to a more abstract [symbol]. ' ... We randomly changed Stan's fez symbol in the middle of the series and then just, like, never brought it up.”
Grunkle Stan's fez has typically been removed or changed for certain international markets entirely, following concerns being raised by programmers in those regions. Shortly after the launch of the Disney+, Hirsch critiqued the streaming service for removing the symbol on Grunkle Stan's fez from Gravity Falls while still leaving it in thumbnails for the show. However, Disney and Hirsch have since reached an agreement on the issue, satisfying both parties.
Gravity Falls ran for 40 episodes between 2012 and 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney XD. The show saw siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines staying with their great uncle -- Grunkle Stan Pines -- at the Mystery Shack in the titular town of Gravity Falls. While there, Dipper and Mabel encountered and investigated various supernatural mysteries.
Hirsch's next role is in The Owl House, which was created by Dana Terrace, who served as a storyboard artist and animator on Gravity Falls. The Owl House also stars Sarah-Nicole Robles and Wendie Malick. The series is slated to premiere on Disney Channel in January 10.
Gravity Falls stars Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, Alex Hirsch and Linda Cardellini. Both seasons of the show are available now through Disney+.