John DiMaggio Officially Returning as Bender in Hulu’s “Futurama” Reboot

Last month, Hulu announced that new episodes of the animated cult favorite, Futurama, would be hitting the streaming service in 2023. One of the original stars of the show, John DiMaggio, who voiced the chain-smoking, foul-mouthed robot Bender, was not originally among the returning members of the cast. However, that has now changed, as according to Deadline, DiMaggio has reached a deal to return to the iconic role.

What’s Happening:

  • The news comes three weeks after the announcement that Futurama would possibly return without DiMaggio mobilized fans who took to social media to show their support behind him, using #bendergate on social media. DiMaggio even referenced the hashtag in his note to fans two weeks ago and in his statement about his return to the show today.
  • Following negotiations he felt the wage proposal was not competitive based on the success and name recognition of the original series.
  • He countered, after which the negotiations stalled and the revival was announced without him. The announcement indicated that the role of Bender may have been recast, but DiMaggio continued to negotiate.
  • It is unclear whether DiMaggio’s return comes with a pay bump, but both sides are happy with reaching the agreement, sources to Deadline said.
  • Other members of the cast returning for the Futurama revival include:
    • Billy West
    • Katey Sagal
    • Tress MacNeille
    • Maurice LaMarche
    • Lauren Tom
    • Phil LaMarr
    • David Herman

What They’re Saying:

  • John DiMaggio himself said: “I’M BACK, BABY! So d**n 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. #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 c**p 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 A**!”
  • Futurama creator Matt Groening said: “From the moment John DiMaggio auditioned last century, we knew we had our Bender. So congrats to everyone at Futurama. We’re all back, baby!”
  • Futurama co-developer David X. Cohen said: “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!”

About Futurama:

  • Futurama focuses on the life of Philip Fry (West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a "diverse" new group of friends including Leela (Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed alien and Bender, a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws.  
  • Futurama, created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen, is produced by 20th Television Animation, a part of Disney Television Studios, with Rough Draft Studios, Inc. contributing the animation.
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