Futurama's John DiMaggio Addresses Friction With Hulu Over Bender Return
The acclaimed animated series Futurama returns to the small screen on Monday with its revival on Hulu, and just ahead of the arrival of the show's eleventh season, John DiMaggio addressed how he nearly missed out due to stalled negotiations.
Last year, Hulu announced that Futurama was returning for the streaming service, but fans were quick to notice that DiMaggio's name was not featured in a list of returning cast members. As he voices the fan favorite character Bender, that proved to be a big problem, as many fans made it clear that wouldn't be accepting a recasting. Ultimately, DiMaggio boarded the project, and in a recent interview with Variety, he reflected on the whole ordeal and why he wound up acquiescing.
“When they made the announcement, it wasn’t like I had said no. We had been negotiating for a long time. It was a stalemate," DiMaggio explained. At the time, the actor had tweeted how his stalled negotiations for better pay was "about self-respect," arguing that he was "tired of an industry that's become far too corporate and takes advantage of artists' time and talent." Those words may now be ringing more true than ever with many, considering how the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have since gone on strike.
John DiMaggio Didn't Want to Be on the Outside Looking In
Fans were understanding of DiMaggio's position and were pushing Hulu on social media to give the actor what he wanted. DiMaggio would announce soon after that he was returning to the show, though he also revealed that he didn't get the pay increase he was asking for. In his recent chat with Variety, the actor says he didn't want to miss out on the reunion, nor did he want to be the reason why the revival fell apart. DiMaggio said, “I didn’t want, nor did my agent want, me standing outside of a house that I should have been having Thanksgiving dinner in. It was just like, OK, I gotta say yes, because I don’t want the demise of the show on my shoulders.’ They were ready to bring in other people. It was what it was.”
Still, DiMaggio is proud of standing up for himself, even if he didn't get what he was asking for. The actor acknowledges that he was basically "David with a sling... standing up to Goliath" and was just doing what he could to have his side heard, adding, "I think I did." Perhaps that is the case, given how the strikes would happen one year later. DiMaggio said, “It’s kind of interesting that the strike is happening, because it’s all the stuff that I wanted and was fighting for — not only myself, but everybody else. Now it’s not just me versus them. Now it’s everybody versus them.”
The Futurama revival will premiere on Hulu on July 24, 2023.