Following the announcement that Futurama would be once again making a comeback, this time on Hulu following Disney’s merger with Fox, it seemed for a little while that well-loved character Bender would be looking for a new voice actor as John DiMaggio was not in the cast list. It then turned out that DiMaggio had initially been in dispute over the way voice actors are not treated the same as on-screen stars, and while it was all resolved in the end, DiMaggio has recently revealed that he didn’t end up being paid more for his return and also how his absence was going to be dealt with if he had not returned.
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According to the star, who appeared at Phoenix Fan Fusion this past weekend, despite a pay dispute being reported to be the reason for his absence from the initially announced cast list, he has not been paid more to join the old team, but earned something better. He said:
“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.'”
In another revelation, DiMaggio told the audience that there was a plan in place to cover his absence from the role of Bender, but it was one that seemingly would not have gone down well with the viewers considering the groans his reveal gained from those present. He told them that Disney were planning on “using guest stars and they were going to replace Bender’s voice each episode.” Thankfully, this little scenario was avoided and Bender will be back in all his glory when the show returns to screens next year.
John DiMaggio Caused Quite A Reaction When Refusing To Return To Futurama
Hollywood has been the subject of many moments of scrutiny when it comes to pay rates, whether this is in relation to gender, age or in this case onscreen or offscreen appearances. In the days following the reveal that DiMaggio was not going to be returning to the show, many other voice artists such as Tara Strong, known for her work as Harley Quinn among many other characters, who stood by DiMaggio’s opinion that as voice-over artists who put so much into making a character stand out, they are often taken for granted by studios.
Although it looks like the stand didn’t make a difference to DiMaggio’s pay packet at the end of the day, he made it clear it was “quite rewarding” to get respect from his colleagues for the comments he made, and he added that when it comes to forcing the hand of Disney to negotiate a higher wage it is “like trying to get blood from a stone – you ain’t going to get it!” The actor followed this up with a little summing up of the stalemate situation this caused, saying,
“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. But there was also nowhere for me to go, and who wants to hold on to those for that long?”
Futurama, with the inclusion of DiMaggio, will return on Hulu in 2023.