Futurama Has Been Saved From Cancellation Again, But Is Currently Missing One Star

bender thinking on futurama
(Image credit: Hulu)

Boy, I hope I don't wake up a short while from now only to realize that I'm just a head in a jar, because I'd rather be celebrating. The long-dormant animated comedy Futurama, which has been cancelled twice at this point, is now making a newly established comeback. It'll be via streaming this time, as Hulu has stepped in to revive the influential and endlessly hilarious series. But at the moment, it's missing one of its core stars.

At this point, almost the entire main cast is set to return for a 20-episode new season, with that list including Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman. There’s a pretty obvious name missing from that lineup, with John DiMaggio currently not having yet signed on to reprise the beloved role of Bender, he with the kissable shiny metal ass, and others. While there is active hopes from both sides for the actor to join the new episodes when they premiere in 2023, according to Deadline, he apparently held out during contract negotiations, forcing 20th Television Animation to go forward without him. 

At this point, the role is being recast ahead of Futurama’s first table read, set to take place on Monday, February 14. We can hopefully expect a positive update before that happens, or soon afterward. John DiMaggio can currently be heard on Netflix's Disenchantment Season 4, which is another creation from Matt Groening.

Speaking of the legendary animation giant, Matt Groening and fellow co-creator David X. Cohen will also be returning, with Groening offering the pitch-perfect statement below:

It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again.

Hopefully that won't happen after this first 20-episode stretch, though obviously stranger things have happened to beloved TV shows. Futurama was first cancelled on Fox after its initial four-season run, and was then revived for a set of direct-to-DVD features before officially returning in episodic form to Comedy Central in 2010, where it lasted for another 52 episodes that concluded in fine form in 2013. Not that it was completely dead at that point, either. 

In 2017, the Futurama cast and creative team reunited for an audio podcast, which seemed at the time like it might be fans' last chances to catch up with Fry, Leela, and obviously Calculon and Hedonism-Bot, the true stars of the show. Even after that, though, some of the characters appeared as an easter egg within the aforementioned Disenchantment, where other Futurama easter eggs can also be found. 

Futurama made Hulu its official streaming home back in 2018, following its exit from Netflix, and apparently that was a successful enough acquisition to inspire the execs to order up some brand new episodes. And for it to come together seemingly as quickly as it did, since production is already going into effect this month. Considering Hulu also became the official home for Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi dramedy The Orville going into its third season, which also once called Fox its home, it’s only natural for it to also be behind new Futurama installments. 

Until we know more about when to expect new episodes of Futurama, be sure to stay up to date with our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other hilarious and/or space-faring series are on the way. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.