Futurama has had the same voice cast for all of its seasons, including the revival that took place on Hulu in 2023.
Television viewers might best remember writer Matt Groening for his animated sitcom, The Simpsons, which premiered on Fox in 1989. Currently in its 34th season, the series has been a pop culture phenomenon and helped bring Groening into a long-lasting career in primetime television programming.
After the success of The Simpsons, Groening launched Futurama on the same network, and Comedy Central eventually picked it up. Now, the series is due for a reboot.
Futurama debuted in 1999, and its loyal fanbase kept the animated science-fiction series on the air for 140 episodes via various networks. The show centered around Philip J. Fry (Billy West), a pizza delivery boy who finds himself cryogenically frozen and eventually thawed out 1,000 years later.
The series co-starred Billy West in various roles along with veteran television actors Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, and Frank Welker.
Futurama aired its last episode on Fox in 2003, and Comedy Central took it over a few years later. Rumors had spread for years that a reboot might be in the works and in 2023 the Futurama reboot happened.
THE FUTURAMA REBOOT AIRED ON HULU
After Fox officially canceled it in the early aughts, Futurama had once been revived with reruns and new episodes on Comedy Central. Fans of the show have been angling for a new wave of episodes since other television shows from that time period have been rebooted recently.
Creator Matt Groening and writing partner David X. Cohen returned to develop Futurama for its intended reboot. As this was the third platform on which the series has aired new episodes, Hulu had laid out a blueprint to feature 20 new episodes of the acclaimed series.
THE FUTURAMA REBOOT WILL HAVE NEW EPISODES IN 2023 AND POSSIBLY 2024
For those that are fans of the original iteration of Futurama, Hulu premiered on July 24, 2023. As of August 2022, the titles of the first 10 episodes of the Futurama reboot were confirmed by Screen Rant, and production of the revived series was expected to conclude at the end of 2022.
THE ORIGINAL CAST OF FUTURAMA RETURNED FOR THE REBOOT
Even though the original creators and writers of Futurama had been confirmed to come back to the reboot of the television show on Hulu, it had not been determined until recently which voice cast members would reprise their roles.
Billy West, who initially voiced the main characters of Phillip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, and Dr. Zoidberg, has been confirmed to come back and voice the same characters for the Futurama reboot.
Lead actors Katey Sagal (Leela), Phil LaMarr (Hermes Conrad), The Simpsons alum Tress MacNeille (Leela’s Mom, Nerdbot, Linda), and Lauren Tom (Amy Wong) will all return to their same roles. Canadian actor Maurice LaMarche of Pinky and the Brain fame will also reprise his parts as Kif, Morbo, and Calculon.
BENDER VOICE ACTOR JOHN DIMAGGIO ORIGINALLY HELD OUT FOR MORE MONEY
The only holdout for the Futurama reboot had been actor John DiMaggio, who initially voiced the pivotal role of Bender. Bender is a cigar-smoking, mean-spirited, alcoholic robot who is best friends with Fry. DiMaggio entered negotiations to reprise the role with Fox and Hulu for a raise in order to come back but held off on signing on to the reboot for quite some time.
John DiMaggio stayed true to his convictions that the rest of the Futurama cast should be paid more in order to return for the Hulu reboot.
Variety reported in February 2022 that DiMaggio wanted more respect for the work done to keep the series and its popularity alive. He stated at the time, “Bender is part of my soul and nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It’s about self-respect.”
Believing the television industry had waded into the waters of corporate greed where it takes advantage of “artists’ time and talent,” John DiMaggio tried to negotiate for more money. However, his efforts proved to be fruitless, and he eventually returned to Futurama one month later to begin production on the reboot without a pay raise.
Audiences should expect the Futurama reboot on Hulu to feature many, if not all, of their favorite characters from the original version of the series.
THE PLOT WAS KEPT UNDER WRAPS
As with many reboots of television shows recently, like Frasier, Will & Grace, Night Court, and Murphy Brown, most television audiences have a feel for what the new season would be about. However, in the case of Futurama, the final season of the series on Comedy Central left a bit of a cliffhanger for its loyal fans.
Season 7 of Futurama ended with the episode entitled “Meanwhile,” where Fry and Leela became engaged. A time machine built by Professor Farnsworth sends the two lovebirds on an adventure where they see their lives together in the future, growing old and traveling the world. However, the time machine is triggered to restart the entire series from the beginning again, leaving much to be desired.
This cliffhanger in Futurama‘s initial series finale opens many possibilities as to where the reboot can take audiences. Animated shows have a way of distorting reality, and they have different rules in terms of following a linear storyline path for plot development. Matt Groening and David X. Cohen could keep with the original ending and start Season 8 from where the previous season ended almost 10 years ago.
Groening and Cohen also have other options at their disposal, and they have the power to write a new beginning for their trusted characters. The first episode in the Futurama reboot is called “The Impossible Stream,” which doesn’t give much away as to where the writers will go with this new television season.
Ultimately, the Futurama reboot started with a story about Bender wanting to make more use of his life.
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