Update, Tuesday March 1 at 9:00 p.m.: #Bendergate is over! John DiMaggio has confirmed to Deadline that he will return as the obscene robot Bender in the Futurama revival. DiMaggio will be reuniting with Billy West and Katey Segal, who play Philip Fry and Leela in the animated series. “From the moment John DiMaggio auditioned last century, we knew we had our Bender,” Creator Matt Groening shared to Deadline. “So congrats to everyone at Futurama. We’re all back, baby!” Previously, DiMaggio was absent from the table reads of the show, with rumors of recasting his role. However, DiMaggio closed his deal today to reprise his role as Bender. Below is DiMaggio’s statement in a true Bender fashion:
“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!”
Update, Wednesday February 16, at 9:39 a.m.: John DiMaggio has released a statement on Twitter regarding his holding out from the Futurama reboot and clarifying Deadline’s report that he was angling for a stronger deal. “I don’t think only I deserve to be paid more,” DiMaggio said. “I think the entire cast does. Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business.” He added that everyone has different strategies and a different “price,” explaining, “Bender is a 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 artist’s time & talent.” DiMaggio said he’s still “hoping for the best,” meaning he hasn’t totally closed himself off to the reboot but is holding his ground.
If you want the TL;DR version, it’s basically “kiss my shiny metal self-respect.”
Original story follows.
Futurama, the other Matt Groening show that just won’t die, is coming back to Hulu for 20 more episodes. Initially running on Fox, Futurama got a second wind in syndication on Adult Swim. From there, the direct-to-DVD movies prompted a Comedy Central run of two more seasons. Co-creators David X. Cohen and Matt Groening had measured enthusiasm for the show’s third (or fourth or fifth, depending on how you count them) revival. “I’m thrilled to have another chance to think about the future,” said Cohen, “or really anything other than the present.” Groening, meanwhile said he was excited “to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again.”
Returning to the Planet Express Ship are Billy West (Ren & Stimpy), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Tress MacNeille (Animaniacs), Lauren Tom (Friends), Phil LaMarr (the guy who gets shot in Pulp Fiction), Maurice LaMarche (the best dang Orson Welles impressionist you’ve ever heard), and David Herman (Bob’s Burgers). Conspicuously absent from the press release was John DiMaggio, who played Bender across all the show’s various platforms. According to Deadline, DiMaggio didn’t feel the deal was competitive, but both sides hope to find a way to get Bender’s voice back where it belongs. DiMaggio currently works on Groening’s other show, Disenchantment, on Netflix.