Good news everyone! It is actual good news as #Bendergate comes to an end with The Hollywood Reporter announcing voice actor John DiMaggio, who has played Futurama‘s Bender throughout its run, is officially returning to voice the loveable sarcastic robot in Hulu’s revival of the fan-favourite series.
When the revival was announced a few weeks ago, DiMaggio was the only member of the original cast whose name was not among the announcement as his deal was not fully finalized. What became known as #Bendergate was seemingly due to a contract dispute between DiMaggio and Hulu with the streamer looking at options for Bender to be recast as DiMaggio felt he and other voice actors were being taken advantage of. At the time, DiMaggio said on Twitter “Bender is part of my soul & nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It’s about self-respect. And honestly, being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of an artist’s time and talent.”
Obviously the thought of Futurama without DiMaggio’s voice as Bender, who has been a constant presence in the series and is arguably everyone’s favourite character, upset many fans as well as DiMaggio’s colleagues in the voice acting industry, pushing Hulu to accept whatever DiMaggio was asking for. In a statement to THR, DiMaggio said “I’M BACK, BABY! 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. #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!”
Series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen also shared their excitement DiMaggio will reunite with the rest of the original cast. “From the moment John DiMaggio auditioned last century, we knew we had our Bender,” said Groening. “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,” said Cohen. “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.”
DiMaggio will reunite with Billy West (Fry), Katey Sagal (Leela), Tress MacNeille (Mom), Maurice LaMarche (Kif), Lauren Tom (Amy), Phil LaMarr (Hermes) and David Herman (Wernstrom), who all voiced multiple characters across the show’s runs. Set to land sometime in 2023 with a 20-episode order, both Groening and Cohen will be involved in the series.
Futurama focuses on the life of Philip Fry, a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a “diverse” new group of friends including Leela, a tough but lovely one-eyed alien and Bender, a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws.
The series originally aired for four seasons between 1999 and 2003, before being revived in 2007 for four direct-to-video films which were subsequently syndicated as a fifth season on Comedy Central. A sixth and seventh season aired between 2010 and 2013.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.