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Who likes good news... everyone?! Disney-owned streaming service Hulu just placed a 20-episode order for a revival of Futurama. The fan favorite sci-fi cartoon will return to the airwaves via its original creators: Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Production begins this month with the new episodes slated to premiere sometime next year.
In addition, a good portion of the original voice cast, the majority of whom played several different characters on the show, is slated to return. As of right now, Billy West (Fry/Professor Farnsworth/Doctor Zoidberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), Tress MacNeille (Mom), Maurice LaMarche (Lrrr), Lauren Tom (Amy Wong), Phil LaMarr (Hermes Conrad), and David Herman (Scruffy the Janitor) are all confirmed to reprise their iconic roles.
“I’m thrilled to have another chance to think about the future… or really anything other than the present,” Cohen said in a statement.
“It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again,” added Groening.
John DiMaggio, voice of the foul-mouthed and boozing robot Bender isn't attached at the moment, but it's very hard to imagine a revival without him on board. If, by some twist of cruel fate, DiMaggio can't join in on the fun, many fans will demand that Hulu kiss their shiny metal...well, you know how the catchphrase goes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor is currently in the midst of "finalizing a deal to return." Deadline, on the other hand, paints a more dire picture, writing that while both sides are eager to reach a final monetary deal, DiMaggio's roles are being recast in the interim. The first table read is scheduled to take place Monday. The man himself has retweeted a number of posts on the subject, which seemingly confirms that something is going on behind-the-scenes.
He jokingly referred to the drama as "Bendergate" in a tweet Thursday that utilized another one of the character's famous lines: "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!"
The series — which first aired in 1999 and went through several different periods of cancellation — is centered around Philip J. Fry, a put-upon and not-to-bright pizza delivery boy who is accidentally frozen in a cryogenics chamber and wakes up a thousand years later in the 31st century. Landing a job at Planet Express, the package delivery service run by his distant nephew — mad scientist Professor Hubert Farnsworth — Fry gets up to all sorts of wacky hijinks alongside Bender and their one-eyed spaceship captain, Turanga Leela.
Known for its witty and subversive humor, as well as a surprising amount of emotional heft ("Jurassic Bark," anyone? What about "The Lucky of the Fryish?"), Futurama ran for a total of 140 episodes across seven seasons, which aired between Fox and Comedy Central. Prior to being picked up by the latter for Seasons 6-10, the show garnered a strong following via syndicated re-runs on Adult Swim.
“When presented with the opportunity to bring fans and viewers new episodes of Futurama, we couldn’t wait to dive in," Craig Erwich, President, Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, said of the upcoming revival. "This iconic series helped blaze the trail for the success of adult animation since its initial launch and we look forward to Matt and David continuing to pave the way and further establishing Hulu as the premiere destination for fans of the genre."
“What I love about animation is that it’s possible for a successful show to take a pause and then resume years later, even on a different platform, and pick up right where it left off," concluded Marci Proietto, Head of 20th Television Animation. "Futurama is one of those shows. The excitement from Hulu about returning Matt and David’s genius creation for all-new episodes has been off the charts. I’m thrilled that this incredible team will get to tell more stories, and that our Planet Express crew will have more adventures together. It’s a win for the fans who have loved the show since the beginning, and for the ones who will now discover it for the very first time."
All episodes of Futurama are currently streaming on Hulu.