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'Futurama' scores a fresh Hulu reboot with original vocal cast on board

The Planet Express crew will again with a 2023 revival of the cult animated series on Hulu.
The Planet Express crew will again with a 2023 revival of the cult animated series on Hulu. (Image credit: 20th Television)

Rocketing back onto the airwaves, Variety (opens in new tab) announced this week that the cult sci-fi animated series "Futurama" will be resurrected once more on the Hulu (opens in new tab) streaming platform.  Along with the joyful news comes word from 20th Television Animation and Hulu Originals that the 20-episode revival will be headed up by the original series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen.

Nearly all of the legacy vocal cast members have signed on to the project like Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman. The one exception, and one that immediately ignited the online ire of devout "Futurama" fans, is John DiMaggio, who lent his gruff voice to Bender the robot and many additional characters. 

Although he's not currently attached to the reboot series, creators and producers are crossing their collective fingers that an equitable deal will be ironed out soon for DiMaggio to reprise his memorable turn as the loud-mouthed, cigar-smoking machine. Recasting that role is certainly possible, but unlikely.

"Futurama's" production starts this February by 20th Television Animation and Rough Draft Studios for a potential premiere date sometime in 2023.

"It's a true honor to announce the triumphant return of "Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again," Groening kidded in the press release (opens in new tab).

The wacky sci-fi characters of "Futurama" and Team Planet Express. (Image credit: 20th Television)

"Futurama" centers around a mild-mannered pizza delivery dude named Philip J. Fry who trips and falls into a cryogenic chamber while on a crank-call delivery run on New Year's Eve 1999. He awakens from his frozen nap 1,000 years later in a world of sci-fi wonder and hooks up with a one-eyed mutant named Leela, and Bender, the smart-ass robot who loves to drink and steal. 

The quirky adult animation series first arrived in 1999 for its initial four-season debut on Fox until it got cancelled in 2003. Comedy Central renewed the series in 2008 following positive response from reruns airing on its Adult Swim programming block. That revival lasted for an additional three seasons, one of which was crafted by chopping up four direct-to-video movies released from 2007-2009.  "Futurama" was then put to rest in 2013 after a total of 140 episodes.

Futurama

Hulu will relaunch the "Futurama" series in 2023. (Image credit: 20th Television)

Over its entire lifespan, "Futurama" was nominated for 14 Emmy Awards and took home six. Victories included two for Best Animated Program, two for Best Individual Achievement in Animation, and two Best Voiceover Performance awards for Maurice LaMarche.

"When presented with the opportunity to bring fans and viewers new episodes of 'Futurama,' we couldn’t wait to dive in," said Craig Erwich, (opens in new tab) president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “This iconic series helped blaze the trail for the success of adult animation since its initial launch and we look forward to Matt & David continuing to pave the way and further establishing Hulu as the premiere destination for fans of the genre."

All past seasons of "Futurama" are currently available for streaming on Hulu (opens in new tab).

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.