Futurama is definitely coming back, but the show's Comic Con panel could only say they remain hopeful the original voice actors will be a part of the new season. They also revealed tons of details for what lies ahead. Spoilers!
The panel was reluctant to address the elephant in the room, or indeed the voice actors who weren't. Show creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen made it clear that they love their voice actors, that they absolutely want them to come back, and that they are still very much in negotiations to do precisely that.
What they were very happy to talk about were the adventures that lay ahead for the Planet Express crew. David X. Cohen confirmed that the conclusion of Into the Wild Green Yonder, which found Leela and Fry finally kissing and the Planet Express ship heading into a wormhole to escape Zapp Brannigan, will be addressed in the first episode of the new season.
These aspects, however, won't be the main focus of the first episode, but instead lead into what he described as "a fairly literal rebirth for the series – shield your eyes!" He also confirmed that Fry and Leela's relationship will be more clearly romantic next year, but they won't necessarily be the most successful couple and will have their ups and downs. David X. Cohen suggested that, in the end, it's their destiny to never quite get it together.
The rest of the writers present discussed some of the other scripts they are working on. Patric Varrone is writing an episode that deals with a 31st century version of Twitter, which the villainous Mom now controls. They are hoping that the episode will allow for some degree of fan participation via Twitter while the show airs, but the details of this are still being worked out.
Fry and Leela won't be the only couple next season. Mike Rowe is working on an episode that brings Amy and Bender together. He called the pairing, "a seriously hot and heavy relationship. Bender is nude for a lot of it. It even ends in marriage." Indeed, Amy and Bender's marriage becomes a major political issue as society's opinion on robosexual marriage is explored, with Proposition Infinity standing in the way of their matrimony.
Ken Keeler will focus on Leela and Zapp's relationship in an episode that finds them stranded on a distant planet. The panel confirmed there will be more "Anthology of Interest" episodes, although they haven't started working on the one for next season. In what sounds one of the biggest Futurama episodes ever made, Matt Groening detailed an episode wherein Fry and the Professor use a time machine that can only travel forwards in time to skip ten minutes ahead. However, because it's Fry and the Professor we're talking about, something goes wrong, pushing them first ten, then thousands, then trillions of years into the future.
David X. Cohen also discussed an episode they've been meaning to do since the first season, as they will finally explain how the Professor came to hire someone as blatantly incompetent as Dr. Zoidberg. The writers had always assumed the Professor would have to owe Zoidberg for something big time to have repaid him with a job, and so this episode will show what Zoidberg did for the Professor all those years ago. Dr. Zoidberg isn't the only character's backstory that will be explored next season, as the panel also confirmed they are working on the secret origin of Scruffy the janitor.
All of this sounds fantastic, but I'm still not sure whether I could even consider watching these episodes without the original actors. David X. Cohen put it all as optimistically as he could: "Keep your fingers crossed. What is going on right now is business and we're hoping for the best." That, for now, will have to do.