John DiMaggio and Hulu jointly announced March 1 that the original Bender voice actor would return for the show’s upcoming revival. DiMaggio’s involvement was in question after he originally refused to join the revival because he felt the cast was not being paid enough. If you assumed DiMaggio’s return meant he was able to get his desired pay raise, then you’d be wrong, according to the actor.
“People are like, ‘I’m so glad you got more money!’ I didn’t get more money,” DiMaggio recently revealed at Phoenix Fan Fusion (via /Film). “But what I did get was a lot of respect, and a lot of head nods from people who are like, ‘Yo bro, I see you and thank you.'”
DiMaggio called it “quite rewarding” to be praised by colleagues for speaking out about unfair pay, adding, “Trying to get money out of Disney is like trying to get blood from a stone — you ain’t gonna get it!”
“But listen, this was the best thing about that fight: I had Disney, Hulu, I was holding on to their collective testicles so hard that they couldn’t, y’know, there was nowhere for them to go,” the voice actor added. “But there was also nowhere for me to go, and who wants to hold on to those for that long?”
Variety reached out to Disney for comment, but the studio does not comment on matters of compensation.
Hulu announced the “Futurama” reboot on Feb. 9, with DiMaggio sitting out but original cast members Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman all returning. Variety reported at the time that DiMaggio’s role of Bender would be recast if he didn’t figure out a deal to return. The actor said at Phoenix Fan Fusion that Hulu was “planning on using guest stars, [and] they were going to replace Bender’s voice each episode” if he did not return.
When DiMaggio originally spoke out about his pay issues with the reboot, he also championed his co-stars to receive higher salaries. “I’ve been thinking about everything that’s been going on these past months and just to be clear, I don’t think that only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does,” DiMaggio wrote on Twitter. “Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business. Everyone has a different strategy and different boundaries… Some accept offers, some hold their ground.”
Production on Hulu’s “Futurama” reboot kicked off in February with an eye toward a 2023 premiere.