There was some brilliant news this week, with the announcement of a 'Futurama' revival coming next year.
The show, which will air on Hulu, is coming back again for a new 20-episode run. Loads of the new cast are returning too, with the likes of Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman lending their voices to the new season.
However, there was one notable absence. Probably the most iconic voice of all, John DiMaggio, was not on the list of returnees. DiMaggio plays the loveable robot Bender Bending Rodriguez, or just Bender for short.
What we know is that both DiMaggio and the 'Futurama' team want to see his return to the show. However the issue seems to be over a pay dispute.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Hulu and 20th Television Animation went out to West, Sagal, and DiMaggio at the same time last year to begin negotiations. This is an example of "favoured nations," which is a pretty standard negotiation process in the animation field that seeks to pay series regulars the same. The goal was to close those deals before reaching out to other voice actors from the original show.
According to EW's sources, West and Sagal both accepted their offers. DiMaggio's team did not, seeing it as not competitive to the market or the legacy of 'Futurama'.
Allegedly, the offer is still on the table for DiMaggio's return, but talks are at a standstill. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing search for a replacement to fill in for Bender.
DiMaggio himself has been very clear on where he stands in all this. All you have to do is look at his Twitter profile. Since the announcement, he's retweeted numerous fans threatening to boycott the upcoming series.
The backlash only grows by the day and with the first table read apparently going ahead on Monday, it's only going to grow further. Personally, a 'Futurama' without the original Bender is not an option, he's way too important to the show to recast.
We still hold out hope that an agreement can be reached. Hopefully we'll hear the dulcet tones of that raunchy robot once again.