Get ready for a return to the 31st-century folks and all of the comedy that comes with it. That’s because we are getting another Futurama revival, one that could push its laughs for a new generation of viewers. It’s an exciting announcement coming from Hulu (via Deadline) that they’ve picked up 20 episodes of the long-running animated comedy which started more than two decades ago. But with the Futurama comeback, there will be one noticeable omission from the cast with one of the original, and frankly, best actors from the series unable to come to contract terms around reprising the role.
John DiMaggio will not be returning as Bender in Futurama, the hard-charging, beer-guzzling, foul-mouthed, oft-mad robot who became almost the star of the series over the years. According to the Deadline reporting, Dimaggio and Hulu weren’t able to agree to compensation and other contractual pieces when developing the Futurama revival series, though there seems to be some hope not all is lost on that front. Apparently, the plan for the short-term is to bring someone else on to voice the role with the belief that all parties will be able to agree on something before it’s all said and done. It was said that his contract offer was in line with the other leads, but unlike those folks, DiMaggio didn’t think it was competitive based on how popular a series Futurama has been in the past.
While John DiMaggio, for now, won’t be returning as Bender, the other core pieces of the case will be back for the Futurama revival on Hulu. For starters, that will include Billy West as Fry as well as Farnsworth (plus some others) and Katey Sagal as Leela. Along with them, Maurice Lamarche is returning as Kroker, Lauren Tom as Amy, Tress MacNeille as Mom, and some other voice actors will be back in the mix for the series. It would sure seem like they will be able to secure everyone when the rubber finally meets the futuristic road, but that remains to be seen.
Futurama has had an interesting timeline as a series, first hitting the air on Fox all the way back in 1999. Created by The Simpsons genius Matt Groening, and was able to air in the coveted Sunday timeslot when it first hit the network. It eventually moved to Tuesday night. And then, midway through the fourth season Fox just basically bailed on the show, stopped picking up seasons/ episodes and it petered to a finish after the fifth season which was basically already in the can. It made a brief last salvo on Comedy Central in the Adult Swim timeslot.
Then, in 2010, Futurama made a comeback on Comedy Central for two seasons, airing new episodes about Fry and company. The show follows the former pizza delivery boy who accidentally cryogenically froze himself in 2000 and woke up a millennia later in 2999. Comedy Central picked up the story and had a decent run before shutting the doors again. This new run on Hulu is set to give it third (fourth?) life and considering the nature of the first few runs, we could see the comedy pushed to the outer limits once again. Let’s hope by the time they air, the whole original cast is on board.