When it was announced last week that Futurama would be returning to Hulu for a new 20-episode revival, fans were initially stoked. One of the best modern sci-fi comedies around, Futurama has grown a dedicated cult following that will always be on board the Planet Express for new adventures. Sadly, we can’t have nice things in this world and it turns out that one of the most important actors wouldn’t be returning for this reboot. While Variety initially left this out of its original report, it turns out that actor John DiMaggio, known for voicing the absolutely iconic and integral Bender, wouldn’t be coming back due to a dispute about pay.
The details weren’t 100% clear, but it seems that Hulu lowballed DiMaggio when negotiating his contract. We don’t have any numbers here, but DiMaggio likely wasn’t happy with what Hulu offered him and declined to return. The rest of the cast was seemingly okay and possibly didn’t know DiMaggio wouldn’t be returning. Fans were, rightfully, pissed.
— John DiMaggio (@TheJohnDiMaggio) February 16, 2022
Just yesterday, DiMaggio addressed the controversy surrounding the Futurama revival on Twitter with a short explanation of the situation from his perspective. As he writes, “I don’t think that only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does.” I absolutely agree with him there as voice actors are integral to our understanding and appreciation of characters on shows, even if they are awful villains we want to punch.
DiMaggio couldn’t elaborate more than what we already know, but it’s nice to have him break the silence and give us an update. I’m skeptical of any reboot/revival, but I was willing to accept Futurama because of how the Comedy Central run wound up being great. Without DiMaggio, this new batch of episodes is just going to belly flop on launch. Hopefully, Hulu comes to its senses and gets him on board.