#BenderGate: ‘Futurama’ Fans Threaten to Boycott Hulu Revival Over Potential Recasting

“Futurama” just won’t die. Matt Groening’s animated science fiction sitcom was cancelled by Fox after four seasons in 2001, only to be revived by Comedy Central in 2007. The cartoon ran for three more seasons on the cable network before being cancelled again in 2013. The show’s cast and creators have always expressed interest in continuing the series on another network, but optimism about finding another suitor waned in the eight years following its cancellation.

However, “Futurama” fans had their patience rewarded this week, as Hulu announced it had ordered a 20-episode revival of the cult show. To make matters better, the majority of the original voice cast has signed on to reprise their roles for the streamer, including Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman. But for many “Futurama” fans, that was not good enough.

The list of returning voice actors had one notable omission in John DiMaggio, who voices the robot Bender, along with several smaller characters. Many fans view Bender as the heart of “Futurama,” and have a hard time imagining the show without DiMaggio. Variety reported that DiMaggio wants to return to “Futurama” and the producers are eager to bring him back, but negotiations have recently hit a standstill.

The idea of “Futurama” returning without DiMaggio quickly enraged the show’s very online fanbase, with many fans using social media to demand that Hulu pay the voice actor enough to return. The hashtag #BenderGate quickly began trending on Twitter, and DiMaggio himself used his account to encourage his supporters.

Since the revival was announced, DiMaggio has been a constant presence on Twitter, retweeting posts calling for fans to boycott the series if he does not return. He also playfully shared some tweets emphasizing how much he deserves to get paid. He finally addressed fans directly this week, writing “Thanks for the concern and the props, everyone. I really appreciate it. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted, but until then… CHEESE IT! #bendergate.”

While the situation might currently seem tense, mutual interest and rabid fan demand makes a DiMaggio return seem very likely. The “Futurama” revival is set to begin production this month ahead of a 2023 release.

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