Variety has learned that the streaming service has ordered 20 new episodes of the adult animated sci-fi comedy series. The revival hails from David X. Cohen and Matt Groening. Cohen developed the original series with Groening, the series creator.
Original series cast members Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman will all return. John DiMaggio, who voiced Bender and several minor characters, is not currently attached. According to an individual with knowledge of the project, the producers are hopeful DiMaggio will return. Should that not happen, Bender will be recast.
Though DiMaggio did not initially make a statement about the revival, he retweeted several posts in which others expressed their desire for him to return. “@TheJohnDiMaggio needs to come back as Bender or this isn’t good news, everyone,” one retweet read, while another simply said: “Come on, pay the man!”
Later Wednesday afternoon, DiMaggio did provide an update through his Twitter, thanking fans for their concerns and promising to keep people posted on his potential involvement with the project.
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
— John DiMaggio (@TheJohnDiMaggio) February 10, 2022
Production will begin this month with an eye towards a 2023 premiere.
“I’m thrilled to have another chance to think about the future… or really anything other than the present,” said Cohen.
“It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of ‘Futurama’ one more time before we get canceled abruptly again,” added Groening.
“Futurama” focuses on the life of Philip Fry (West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a new group of friends including Leela (Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed mutant, and Bender, a robot who is fond of drinking excessively, smoking cigars, and stealing anything not nailed down.
“When presented with the opportunity to bring fans and viewers new episodes of ‘Futurama,’ we couldn’t wait to dive in,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “This iconic series helped blaze the trail for the success of adult animation since its initial launch and we look forward to Matt & David continuing to pave the way and further establishing Hulu as the premiere destination for fans of the genre.”
20th Television Animation is producing “Futurama” with Rough Draft Studios, Inc. contributing the animation.
This marks the second time the show has been brought back since it originally launched in 1999. After its initial four-season run on Fox, reruns of the show found new life as part of the Adult Swim lineup on Cartoon Network and on DVD. Four direct-to-video films were then produced, which were later re-edited into a fifth season that aired on Comedy Central starting in 2008. Comedy Central would go on to air two more seasons consisting of 26 episodes each between 2010 and 2013.
The show developed a strong cult following over the years and was also met with critical success. It was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards in total, winning six, including best animated program twice as well as winning twice for best individual achievement in animation. LaMarche won twice for best voiceover performance.
“What I love about animation is that it’s possible for a successful show to take a pause and then resume years later, even on a different platform, and pick up right where it left off. ‘Futurama’ is one of those shows,” said Marci Proietto, head of 20th Television Animation. “The excitement from Hulu about returning Matt and David’s genius creation for all-new episodes has been off the charts. I’m thrilled that this incredible team will get to tell more stories, and that our Planet Express crew will have more adventures together. It’s a win for the fans who have loved the show since the beginning, and for the ones who will now discover it for the very first time.”
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Leela as an alien. She is in fact a sewer mutant. The error has been corrected.