It’s time to go back to the future: Futurama is being revived. The cult sci-fi cartoon from Simpsons creator Matt Groening has been picked up by Hulu for more space age wackiness with Fry, Leela and the gang. But there’s a question mark over scene-stealing android Bender because voice actor John DiMaggio confirms he won’t be participating.
“Just to be clear,” DiMaggio said in a statement on Twitter, “I don’t think that only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does.”
Hulu is producing 20 new episodes of the much-loved, Emmy-winning animated show. It’ll begin streaming in 2023. Original stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman all lend their voices to the new series.
DiMaggio was noticeably absent from the announcement made by Hulu parent company Disney on Feb. 9. The actor broke his silence on Wednesday but admitted he couldn’t go into the details of the dispute over money.
“It’s about self-respect,” DiMaggio added in the statement tagged #bendergate. “And honestly, being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of artists’ time and talent.”
Disney has yet to respond to a request for comment on DiMaggio’s situation or whether Bender could be recast with a different voice actor — which would surely be a PR disaster, judging by the reaction of many fans.
Futurama has had a tumultuous history, spanning the TV, DVD and streaming eras. The show first aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003, came back for four direct-to-DVD movies in 2008 and 2009, then returned again on Comedy Central from 2010 to 2013.
Groening and David X. Cohen will run the show once again. “It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time,” said Groening, “before we get canceled abruptly again.”