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A number of established Hollywood veterans have come to the side of John DiMaggio as the actor continues to clash with Hulu and 20th Century Studios over proper compensation for the streamer's upcoming revival of Futurama.
The official announcement of the beloved series' return from co-creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen was slightly marred by the fact that DiMaggio (who voices foul-mouthed robot Bender and a plethora of supporting characters) was the only member of the original cast who had not signed on for the revival. It was soon reported that the show would recast Bender in the wake of contract negotiations stalling out. If talks have ended for good between both parties, some fans say they won't be tuning in if DiMaggio isn't brought back for the 20 additional episodes slated to premiere sometime next year (production kicks off this month).
The high-profile disagreement has come to be known as "Bendergate."
The actor — who is currently down in New Orleans shooting AMC's Interview With a Vampire TV series — released an official statement on the matter Wednesday, voicing his frustration with "an industry that's become far too corporate and takes advantage of artist's time and talent." He added that the entire cast also deserves more and doesn't want audiences to think he is slighting them in any way.
"Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business. Everyone has a different strategy and different boundaries. Their 'price.' Some accept offers, some hold their ground. Bender is part of my soul and nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It's about self-respect."
Many of his fellow voice acting veterans — like Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Kari Wahlgren, and Charlie Adler agreed — with this sentiment on Twitter. James Adomian (Gravity Falls, Our Cartoon President), meanwhile, confirmed the industry whispers of recasting: "Everyone in the industry saw the audition notice go out two weeks ago for Bender, asking for a voice match for John DiMaggio. Seeing it, I said out loud 'Shove it!' in my best Bender voice, which will always just be a fanboy cosplay of John DiMaggio."
Futurama co-star Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, and more) is already on board for the new iteration of the series and probably can't bad mouth the studio. With that said, he seemed to subtly show his support for DiMaggio in a tweet recalling his audition for Bender back in 1998: "There’s a good reason I didn’t get it."