Futurama fans rejoiced on Wednesday when it was announced that a revival of the beloved Matt Groening animated series was in the works at Hulu. But just as quickly, that excitement abated when it was revealed that John DiMaggio, who voices the fan-favorite character Bender, was still in negotiations.
Now, it appears the revival is moving forward, with Bender being recast ahead of the first table read on Monday. According to Deadline, the decision was made after negotiations between DiMaggio and 20th Television Animation came to a standstill — though there is apparently “a desire on both sides” to have him aboard to reprise the role.
I hear DiMaggio, who has traveled the world promoting the character and the series over the years, was approached, along with the rest of the cast. According to sources, the offer to DiMaggio was in line with that for fellow leads West (Fry) and Sagal (Leela) who, after a back-and-forth, agreed to a deal while DiMaggio felt the proposal was not competitive based on the success and name recognition of the original series.
The fact that a revival could even get this far without securing all the lead voice talent seems perplexing. Though, perhaps this is all part of DiMaggio’s long game. On Wednesday evening, hours after the news was announced, the voice actor tweeted: “Thanks for the concern and the props, everyone. I really appreciate it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted, but until then… CHEESE IT!”
Still, that wasn’t nearly enough to appease Bender fans, who came out in Twitter full force — many of whom were retweeted by DiMaggio — to unequivocally state that without the OG Bender, there is no Futurama. “Bender is John DiMaggio and John DiMaggio is Bender,” tweeted one fan.
Vlogger Kristin Chirico spoke for the majority of fans, telling Hulu that without DiMaggio as Bender, “we don’t want it.”
“No Bender, no watchy,” fired off Twitch streamer Cohh Carnage.
“[John DiMaggio] needs to come back as Bender or this isn’t good news, everyone,” tweeted author John Pavlovitz.
“LOL, imagine bringing back Futurama without Bender’s voice actor,” tweeted the Tolarian Community College account. “Pass. Bite my shiny metal ass.”
Comedian Doug Benson didn’t mince words, either.
Voice actor Roger Craig Smith pointed out the “irony” of Hulu using a graphic of Bender to announce the revival on Twitter.
Voice actor Negaoryx tweeted that recasting DiMaggio is something that “you just don’t.”
But there may still be hope. DiMaggio’s wife, actress Kate Miller. tweeted that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Well, perhaps after all this fan backlash, Hulu will be able to dig a little deeper into its pockets to scrounge up some more money to bring DiMaggio back. And maybe throw in a shiny new convertible for his troubles, while they’re at it.