Thanks to Matt Groening’s iconic animated sci-fi sitcom, we’ll never have to wait for the year 3000 to meet the Planet Express crew.

With The Simpsons already a well-established success in 1999, hopes were high for Futurama, which found Matt moving on from life in Springfield to embrace the possibilities that another genre offered. The fandom that was born from the series couldn’t possibly be more passionate, and that passion still burns today. Especially with news of the hit show returning to screens in 2023. It’s the perfect time to reflect on elements of Futurama’s history, as well as its bright future.

Tress MacNeille as Linda in pink clothes next to Explovid poster in Futurama
Futurama season 8 trailer cr. Hulu YouTube

How many times has Futurama been canceled?

The divine resurrections of Futurama have been a blessing to the fandom, as the series has been canceled twice in its history.

Season 1 premiered in 1999 and the series ran for four seasons before being canceled by Fox, meaning that The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings served as the series finale in August 2003.

Although many felt that the book would be forever closed on Futurama, old episodes were repeated on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and renewed popularity between 2003 and 2007 ultimately led to the decision to renew the series for four direct-to-video movies, which included Bender‘s Big Score, The Beast With A Billion Backs, Bender’s Game, and Into The Wild Green Yonder.

These now exist as season 5, premiering between March 2008 and August 2009.

It was uncertain whether season 6 would be confirmed, so Into The Wild Green Yonder was written as an open-ended finale. Nevertheless, Comedy Central gave the green light for a sixth season, which concluded on an episode written as a series finale just in case season 7 wasn’t ordered.

As we now know, it was, but this marks the second time that the series was canceled, and the series ended on Meanwhile in September 2013.

Years and years went by after that, with fans accepting Meanwhile as the definitive series finale. Yet, season 8 is official and will begin premiering on Hulu and Disney+ on Monday, July 24th 2023, with one episode even satirizing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Futurama’s greatest-ever guest stars

So many famous faces have dropped in to make Futurama that little bit more special over the years.

In chronological order, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite celebrity guests and which episodes they starred in:

Are the original Futurama voice cast back for season 8?

Yes, all of the central voice cast from the previous seasons are returning to reprise their cherished roles in season 8.

That includes Billy West (Fry/The Professor/Zoidberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), Phil LaMarr (Hermes), Lauren Tom (Amy), and last but not least, it wouldn’t be Futurama without John DiMaggio (Bender).

However, it was initially uncertain whether John would reprise the Bender role, but the fandom was made at ease when he was officially announced to be hopping aboard the Hulu reboot in March 2022.

That being said, the acclaimed voice actor has been vocal about the situation since then.

“People are like, ‘I’m so glad you got more money!’” he told /Film. “I didn’t get more money,” he clarified. “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.'”

The revival simply wouldn’t be the same without the whole gang aboard, so thankfully they worked things out.

Futurama is a treasure trove of movie references

Like The Simpsons, Futurama is fit to bursting with excellent movie references, from parody-fuelled plot points to episode titles.

While some of the movies may be based on books or real events, it’s very clear when the Futurama writers and animators are inspired by the films themselves. This was evident as early as season 1, and with a bunch of episodes too. There’s A Fishful Of Dollars serving as a playful spin on the title of the beloved Clint Eastwood western A Fistful Of Dollars. Then A Flight To Remember brings to mind the 1958 movie A Night To Remember, which is based on the Titanic disaster that James Cameron also explored in his 1997 blockbuster. The episode pays obvious homage to both.

The next episode in the season is Mars University, which is a sweeping riff on National Lampoon’s Animal House, and then to cap off the season it’s Fry And The Slurm Factory, having fun with imitating 1971’s WIlly Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.

Movie references have arguably been important to Futurama’s brand from the start, inspiring some of its best moments and episodes; Raging Bender inspired by Raging Bull, War Is The H-Word reminding us of Starship Troopers, Love And Rocket referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Three Hundred Big Boys presented in the vein of, say, Richard Linklater’s Slacker or Robert Altman epics like Short Cuts and Nashville.

Any cinephile or film fan could spend months sifting through all of the movie references and still miss a beat here and there.

Is Futurama’s renewed for season 9?

Futurama is yet to be announced for season 9 renewal.

However, season 8 has already been confirmed as 20 episodes and they’ve been split into two parts. The first part will conclude on episode 10 on Monday, September 25th 2023, while a release date for part 2 is yet to be confirmed.

Seasons 6 and 7 were split into two parts too, and looking at the past release schedule, season 8 being two parts guarantees that new Futurama episodes will take us into 2024.

Futurama season 8 premieres on Hulu on Monday, July 24th 2023.

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