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(More) good news, everyone! The cast of Futurama is whole again.
John DiMaggio, who voices Bender (and other chraracters) on the long-running and now-revived animated series, will join the rest of the show’s core cast for new episodes on Hulu. When the streamer announced the revival on Feb. 9, DiMaggio had not yet closed a deal to return, but it’s done now. He joins fellow regulars Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman.
A number of Futurama fans were vocal with their displeasure that DiMaggio wasn’t yet signed — displeasure that the actor amplified on his social media accounts. On Feb. 15, DiMaggio posted a note on Twitter that reads in part, “Bender is part of my soul & nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It’s about self-respect. And honestly, being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of an artist’s time and talent.”
With a deal now closed, DiMaggio was back in Bender mode on Tuesday: “I’M BACK, BABY! So damn grateful for the love and support of fans and colleagues alike during this whole time (especially my wife, Kate), and I cannot wait to get back to work with my Futurama family,” he said in a statement. “#Bendergate is officially over, so put it on the back of a shelf behind Xmas decorations, or maybe in that kitchen drawer with all of the other crap you put in there like old unusable crazy glue, or maybe even put it in a jar you save farts in. Whatever floats your boat, I don’t care, you get the picture. I’M BACK, BABY! BITE MY SHINY METAL ASS!”
Hulu will debut 20 new episodes of Futurama in 2023, with production set to begin soon. The series is on its third platform, having begun life at Fox in 1999. It ran for four seasons there, then was revived in a series of direct-to-DVD movies and eventually with original episodes on Comedy Central in 2010. (TV edits of the DVD movies aired as “season five” on Comedy Central in 2008-09.)
The Comedy Central run lasted two seasons (each split into two parts). In total, Futurama — created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen — has aired 140 episodes to date.
“From the moment John DiMaggio auditioned last century, we knew we had our Bender,” said Groening. “So congrats to everyone at Futurama. We’re all back, baby!”
Added Cohen, “John DiMaggio may be a great robot, but he’s also a great human being. Not many people or machines can say that. For the fourth time, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thrill to be back with our entire original cast and the phenomenal animators of Rough Draft Studios.”
Futurama — whose library also streams on Hulu — will join a roster of original animated series including the Animaniacs revival, Solar Opposites and Crossing Swords. Hulu has also become a go-to platform for adult animation library titles like Family Guy, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers and South Park, some of which rank among the streamer’s most watched titles thanks in part to their repeatability and sizable fan bases.
Disney’s 20th Television produces Futurama, with Rough Draft Studios handling the animation. Groening and Cohen executive produce.
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