Futurama: John DiMaggio Didn't Get Raise; Hulu Considered Guest Voices

By now, fans know how things went down when Hulu, David X. Cohen & Matt Groening's 20-episode Futurama revival was first announced. It was announced that Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman were returning… but no mention of John DiMaggio aka Bender. What followed were weeks of both silence and negotiation as fans took to social media to make sure that #Bendergate was being heard by both Hulu and Disney. Then in March, everything came together with DiMaggio confirming in a statement that he would be returning: "I'M BACK, BABY! BITE MY SHINY METAL ASS!" Now thanks to the folks over at /Film, we're learning more about the deal directly from DiMaggio himself during a panel earlier today at Phoenix Fan Fusion- and some of it may surprise you.

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FUTURAMA (Image: Screencap)

DiMaggio Didn't Return Thanks to a Huge Raise- Because There Wasn't One: "People are like, 'I'm so glad you got more money!' I didn't get more money. 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.'" Though he found the fight for better pay & professional respect "quite rewarding," DiMaggio found that in the end, "trying to get money out of Disney is like trying to get blood from a stone – you ain't gonna get it!"

Hulu Had a Plan If DiMaggio Didn't Return: Reports at the time were that Hulu was willing to move forward without DiMaggio, with the voice actor confirming that the streamer was "planning on using guest stars, [and] they were going to replace Bender's voice each episode."

In the End, DiMaggio Knew Who He Wanted to "Spend Thanksgiving" With: Sharing with the audience how he and his agent discussed if "we want to be in the house having a nice Thanksgiving dinner, or… standing across the street in the freezing rain watching everybody eat stuffing," DiMaggio would eventually make the decision to return. But while he may not have gotten that raise everyone thinks he got, DiMaggio was able to derive a different satisfaction from the entire ordeal. "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, ya know, there was nowhere for them to go. But there was also nowhere for me to go, and who wants to hold on to those for that long," he explained.

In February, DiMaggio took to Twitter to explain why things had gotten to the point it had gotten to and to make it clear that it's not that he thinks that he deserves to be paid more as much as "the entire cast does." He goes on to explain that negotiations are part of the process and a very personal one at that. "Bender is part of my soul & nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my 'Futurama' family," DiMaggio continued, stressing that back-n-forth was about a sense of self-respect and doing his part to make sure that an "artist's time & talent" are fairly compensated. "Still hoping for the best," DiMaggio wrote towards the end of the post as he thanked everyone for their love and support.

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Image: Screencap

Here's a look back at DiMaggio's tweet explaining his position in the negotiations going on with Hulu (and also dropping us some quick intel on AMC's

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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