Earlier today, Futurama fans were elated to learn that the series was being revived again by Hulu. However, that elation gave way to trepidation as it was revealed that while Billy West and Katey Segal were returning, alongside Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman, John DiMaggio had not yet signed on.
Now, Deadline is reporting that DiMaggio is not returning and the role is being recast. According to the report, “The role is currently being recast ahead of the first table read on Monday. The decision was made after DiMaggio’s negotiations with Futurama studio 20th Television Animation came to a standstill though there is a desire on both sides to have him rejoin the cast and reprise his role.”
If DiMaggio isn’t returning as Bender and the parties are at an impasse, the whole revival should be abandoned. Futurama without Bender is like The Simpsons without Homer. It would be pointless and terrible.
Most galling about this entire situation is that Hulu announced the revival with the image you see above, with Bender and one of his many catchphrases, “We’re Back, Baby!” Deadline’s report, DiMaggio was offered a deal “in line with that for fellow leads West (Fry) and Sagal (Leela)” who agreed but DiMaggio “felt the proposal was not competitive based on the success and name recognition of the original series.”
Futurama has been cancelled and revived before. First appearing on Fox in 1999, it was cancelled in 2003. Comedy Central brought the series back as four TV movies and then three new seasons before it was again cancelled.
Now, this revival seems doomed before it even begins.
Maybe DiMaggio will make his own Futurama, with blackjack…and hookers.