Is there a modern animated show more resolutely unkillable than Futurama? David X. Cohen’s satiric spin on the world of tomorrow has had 3 lives already—its original, on Fox; the revival movies that started rolling out in 2007; and, finally, the two seasons that ran on Comedy Central from 2010 to 2013. (You could also argue for a fourth life, in the form of the single-episode Simpsons crossover the series got in 2014). Now, Hulu has decided that we simply haven’t gotten enough of Philip J. Fry just yet, announcing today that it’s granting the show yet another revival season
This is per Variety, which reports that most of the cast of the original show—Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman—have all signed off to return for the new version of the show. Which is great! Except…
Well, it’s not hard to see which name is missing from the list, right? John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender (and several other minor characters), whose shiny metal ass has long been a shining beacon of Futurama’s success, has reportedly not signed on for the project as of yet. Variety quotes a source that says producers are “hopeful” that DiMaggio will eventually join the show. And if not? They’re apparently willing to recast.
Which, we’re not going to lie: For a project that already feels a little mercenary and unnecessary, trying to move forward without someone as integral to the show’s success as DiMaggio feels pretty off. It’s not like the Futurama revival seasons were uniformly bad, or anything—there were a number of highlights throughout its Comedy Central run—but the consistency of the voice cast has been one of the cornerstones of the series’ success across its various installments. (DiMaggio hasn’t commented on the revival on Twitter, although he continues to work with Matt Groening productions in the form of Netflix’s Disenchantment, which just released new episodes.)
Variety notes that production on the Futurama revival is set to start in a few months, with an eye toward debuting on Hulu in 2023.
Update, 7:34 p.m., 2/9/22: Although DiMaggio still hasn’t put out a formal statement on the questions regarding his participation in the Futurama revival, he has amplified the voices of others expressing their opinions. Specifically, his Twitter account has been retweeting numerous people stating they won’t watch the series without DiMaggio in the role of Bender Bending Rodriguez.
Deadline notes that today’s announcement of 20 new Futuramas comes after “months of negotiations,” including putting deals specifically in place for DiMaggio’s fellow leads West and Sagal. It’s also being reported that the revived series is set to have a table read this coming Monday, with an (unnamed) new actor in the role of Bender. The calls of “bite my shiny metal ass” in regards to this move have already begun to ring out—not least of which because DiMaggio himself is clearly amplifying them. Deadline also notes that there are still hopes on both sides that a deal can be worked out.