The conflict between Hulu and John DiMaggio raged long enough to get fans angry. DiMaggio has been a key ingredient to the success of “Futurama” since its start in 1999, and the idea of Hulu letting him go over a pay dispute had many fans on the actor’s side. Everyone was angry. Eventually, the dispute was solved, although DiMaggio later revealed that he didn’t get any extra money. It would also later be revealed that Hulu was already preparing for when DiMaggio walked away altogether. It seems that the studio intended to hire a rotating cast of guest actors to play Bender, one for each episode.
No one was on Hulu’s side in this mishegoss, least of all Mark Hamill, star of a little-known 1977 sci-fi film called “Star Wars” and an experienced voice actor going back to the early 1990s. During the Hulu/DiMaggio conflict, Hamill tweeted his support, saying that he would certainly not be auditioning to replace his one-time “Futurama” co-star.
The SYFY WIRE article mentioned above noted that other luminaries of the voice-acting scene stood in solidarity as well. Tara Strong noted that “voice actors, loved by fans, are treated insanely unfairly by Hollywood. They love making us feel replaceable & get away with paying a fraction of what on-camera celebs make.” Charlie Adler called DiMaggio “irreplaceable,” and comedian James Adomian pointed out Hulu’s tacky 2022 audition notice … and how sour it made everyone feel.
“Everyone in the industry saw the audition notice go out two weeks ago for Bender, asking for a voice match for John DiMaggio,” Adomian said. “Seeing it, I said out loud ‘Shove it!’ in my best Bender voice, which will always just be a fanboy cosplay of John DiMaggio.”
DiMaggio eventually returned. There is only one Bender.