Good news everyone! Amazon.com has posted the release date for the second direct to DVD installment of Futurama. The Beast With A Billion Backs will be available starting June 24th and is now available for pre-order. According to Wikipedia, this second of four movies will feature the voices of Brittany Murphy, Dan Castellaneta reprising his role as the Robot Devil, and a personal favorite of mine, Professor Stephen Hawking. I’ve always enjoyed Hawking’s past appearances, especially Anthology of Interest I where he was part of Al Gore’s Vice Presidential Action Rangers.
Another of the Action Rangers, Gary Gygax, the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons, died yesterday and will be missed by geeks and nerds everywhere. It seemed strangely fitting to watch tweet after tweet pay homage to the man who so many young kids admired, even if they didn’t know him by name. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his creation helped shape popular culture including science fiction, video games, television and movies. Although I never played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, I had a ton of friends who did and loved every minute of their fantasy adventures. His contributions to geekdom and Futurama, will be sorely missed.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind mild spoilers, you can get a feel for The Beast With A Billion Backs over on YouTube where a rough series of scenes from the film has been posted. It does my heart good to see the likes of Morbo, Zapp Brannigan and Kiff Kroker back in their familiar roles. Although I did enjoy Bender’s Big Score, I think the story suffered a bit with the focus on time travel and the attempt to pick back up on Fry & Leela’s relationship. Beast seems like a good old fashion invasion story, on par with The Why of Fry, and really, how can you go wrong with that? I can’t wait!