Despite original reports promising the entire cast would be returning to reprise their roles from the hit sci-fi adult cartoon, Futurama has suffered at least one role change. According to a recent write-up from ComicBook.com, the minor side character Leo Wong has been recast. The character, who was originally voiced by Billy West, is now being voiced by Feodor Chin, who is best known for his roles voicing video game characters in games such as League of Legends and Overwatch 2.
Billy West, who voices Fry and Proessor Farnsworth, has stopped playing the part of Amy’s father, Leo Wong, replaced by voice actor Feodor Chin.
Obviously, Billy West has returned to the Hulu reboot of Futurama in order to voice mainstays such as Fry, Professor Farnsworth, and Dr. Zoidberg. This casting change likely comes as part of a wave of online discourse surrounding white actors performing voices for non-white characters. Series such as The Simpsons, Bojack Horseman, and Family Guy have all been subject to this topic, as each of the animated series features white voice actors portraying characters of another race in an acting job that could be given to a member of that character’s actual cultural background.
This casting change was first pointed out during the second episode of the newly rebooted Season 11, titled “Children of a Lesser Bog.” This is the first instance fans have seen of Leo Wong since the Futurama reboot began, with no way of knowing at this time whether or not the show’s creators plan to revisit the character in the other upcoming episodes. Though Wong is a side character, appearing in only a fraction of the show’s 150 episodes, his comedic timing and hilariously ill-advised parenting skills make him a fan favorite.
Though Wong is a side character, appearing in only a fraction of Futurama’s 150 episodes, his comedic timing and hilariously ill-advised parenting skills make him a fan favorite
Leo Wong is the father of main character Amy Wong, voiced in the series by Lauren Tom, who was born and raised in a suburb in Illinois, and is of Chinese descent. Though their Asian heritage is not often focused on within Futurama, the Wongs are known to be fluent in Cantonese, meaning that they almost certainly maintain some level of ancestral background in China. Of course, the series takes place deep into the future, where humanity has roots laid across the entire galaxy, making their racial identity less tied to the regions of Earth specifically.
Still, the choice to remove Billy West from the role of Leo Wong makes little impact on the overall viewing experience in Futurama, and serves to provide a job opening for an actor who is of Chinese descent, such as Feodor Chin. Leo Wong seems to be the only staffing change in the series so far, but with eight remaining episodes in the Hulu rebooted season, there are plenty of opportunities to see a myriad of other side characters as well.
The choice to remove Billy West from the role of Leo Wong makes little impact on the overall viewing experience in Futurama, and serves to provide a job opening for an actor who is of Chinese descent, such as Feodor Chin.
Futurama‘s 11th season may only be two episodes deep at this time, but the newfound reboot seems to be beloved by audiences and critics alike, pulling a staggering 85 percent certified fresh critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an even more positive 94 percent audience score. Leo Wong’s brief inclusion in “Children of a Lesser Bog” did a great job of introducing Chin in the role, allowing fans to look forward to other possible changes to the character in the future.