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Bender returns! John DiMaggio back for Hulu's 'Futurama' revival following pay dispute
Good news... again... everyone!
Good news... again... everyone! Bendergate is finally over. Actor John DiMaggio has officially settled his pay dispute with 20th Century Studios and will return as the voice of Bender for Hulu's upcoming revival of Futurama. To quote the booze and cigar-loving robot specifically programed for bending girders (and partying): "It's gonna be fun on a bun!"
"I'M BACK, BABY!" DiMaggio said, using another one of the character's iconic catchphrases, in a statement obtained by SYFY WIRE. "So damn 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,” he continued. "#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 crap 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 ASS!”
The drama began two weeks ago when Hulu announced the fan favorite cartoon would return in 2023 from original co-creators, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. The vast majority of the OG voice cast — including 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) — had signed on for the 20 new episodes.
DiMaggio's name was noticeably absent from the list, which prompted a slew of trade reports alleging that Bender would be recast as the actor held out for more money. Fans and celebrities alike showed their support on social media, promising they wouldn't tune in if the man behind Bender wasn't given his fair share. DiMaggio eventually addressed the controversy on Twitter, writing that he was fed up with "an industry that's become far too corporate and takes advantage of artist's time and talent."
He continued: "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."
“From the moment John DiMaggio auditioned last century, we knew we had our Bender,” Groening said of DiMaggio's celebrated return. “So congrats to everyone at Futurama. We’re all back, baby!”
“John DiMaggio may be a great robot, but he’s also a great human being. Not many people or machines can say that.” finished Cohen, going on to poke fun at Futurama's several instances of cancelation over the years. “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!”
Let's just hope Calculon doesn't get jealous over the final paycheck.
Production on the Futurama revival began in February, with Hulu planning to release new episodes sometime next year. In the meantime, click here for SYFY WIRE's roundup of the five best Bender episodes of the series.