Back to the future — again.
Futurama is being rebooted for the third time, this time at Hulu. The streamer has ordered 20 new episodes of the cult sci-fi comedy. The season is going into production this month, and is set to premiere in 2023.
Creator Matt Groening is onboard, as is David X. Cohen, who developed the series with him. Much of the original cast is returning too, including Billy West as pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry, Katey Sagal as mutant Leela, and Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman.
Conspicuously absent is John DiMaggio as Bender the chain-smoking robot. The actor has apparently failed to strike a deal with the producers. Deadline reports that “while his roles are currently being recast ahead of the first table read on Monday, there is still a desire on both sides for him to return.”
DiMaggio has taken to Twitter to express himself on the matter, mostly retweeting other users’ comments endorsing him as the right person to play Bender. A typical one reads: “Bender is @TheJohnDiMaggio. @TheJohnDiMaggio is Bender. Period.”
— Carlos Ferro (@RealCarlosFerro) February 10, 2022
The actor has also posted a tweet of his own: “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! #bendergate”
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! #bendergate
— John DiMaggio (@TheJohnDiMaggio) February 10, 2022
With or without him, the season will be produced by Disney’s 20th Television Animation. The animation will be provided by Rough Draft Studios, which worked on past seasons of Futurama, as well as shows like Star Wars: Clone Wars, Drawn Together, and Disenchantment.
Futurama debuted on Fox in 1999 and ran for four seasons before being canceled. Reruns on Adult Swim, coupled with DVD sales, gave the show new life; four straight-to-DVD films were produced, which Comedy Central then repackaged as a fifth season of tv episodes. The network then aired two further seasons between 2010 and 2013.
“I’m thrilled to have another chance to think about the future … or really anything other than the present,” said David X. Cohen in a statement. Groening added, “It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again.”