Futurama Revival Has Made A Final Decision On The Most Important Character’s Return

The choice has been made!

By Michileen Martin | Published

This article is more than 2 years old


Last month, word dropped that Hulu was bringing the animated series Futurama back to life, with one crushingly disappointing caveat — John DiMaggio, the voice of the surly robot Bender, had reached an impasse in negotiations and had not yet signed on for the project. But apparently Hulu has chosen to do right by DiMaggio, because the actor announced yesterday he was officially on board for the Futurama return. If you want to know our thoughts on the subject, they can best be summed up by the late Robert Eddison who — in the last Indiana Jones movie worth watching — tells the titular hero, “You have chosen… wisely.”

DiMaggio released the news himself in a statement, as reported by Variety, declaring what fans had named “#Bendergate” officially over and partly celebrating in his signature character’s voice. “I cannot wait to get back to work with my Futurama family. #Bendergate is officially over, so put it on the back of a shelf behind Xmas decorations, or maybe in that kitchen drawer with all of the other crap you put in there like old unusable crazy glue, or maybe even put it in a jar you save farts in. Whatever floats your boat, I don’t care, you get the picture. I’M BACK, BABY! BITE MY SHINY METAL ASS!” The voice actor similarly took to social media to celebrate his return, as you can see in his tweet below.

About a week after fans first learned that DiMaggio might not return for the Futurama revival, the actor used his Twitter account to clarify his position. The Bender actor’s tweet explained that he thought everyone on the cast should be paid more, and that he wasn’t holding his ground in negotiations “to be disrespectful to fans” or to his “Futurama family.” Instead, DiMaggio wrote, he was tired of the entertainment industry underpaying him and other actors. His actions, he wrote, were “about self-respect.” You can see that tweet in full below.

As arguably the most recognizable character on Futurama, Bender’s absence from the series was likely never an option, so when fans first learned of DiMaggio not being cast, the word was a new voice actor would be chosen. Considering the robot’s popularity, coming to an agreement with DiMaggio was likely Hulu’s only smart option. Sure, another actor could have done their best DiMaggio-as-Bender impersonation, but to hardcore Futurama fans, the difference would be glaring. Not to mention that fans would likely bristle over one of their favorite voice actors being, in their view, cheated. If you know how Transformers fans feel about Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime) or the loyalty Batman: The Animated Series fans feel toward Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker), then you have a good idea of how Futurama viewers would react to DiMaggio being perceived as getting the proverbial shaft (and not in a cool, sexy robot way).

Thankfully, it looks like there’s no need to worry for now. John DiMaggio is back as are original series cast members Billy West (Fry), Katey Sagal (Leela), Tress MacNeille (Linda), Maurice LaMarche (Morbo), Lauren Tom (Amy Wong), Phil LaMarr (Hermes), and David Herman (Scruffy). We don’t know exactly when to expect to see new Futurama episodes, but Variety reports Hulu has ordered 20 episodes for the revival, which are expected to hit the streaming service some time in 2023.