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The Reason Futurama's Characters Should Be Billionaires

Fiction that involves a modern-day man traveling well into the future frequently touches on the idea of accrued wealth. Think Highlander's Christopher Lambert swanning around in a well-appointed apartment as an antiquities dealer, or just about every representation of vampires.

Futurama got around this by having its accidental time traveler be a world-class screwup who emerged on the same rung of the ladder he occupied in his own time when he unthawed in New New York in the 31st Century. Fry was perfectly fine being a delivery boy, whether he was scraping by in 1999 or bumming around the far-distant future.

In his haphazard, stumbling way, though, Fry managed to fall into a fortune along with the rest of the Planet Express crew, and it's one about which the writers of the series seem to have forgotten. The discovery of the delicious snack known as popplers in the season 2 episode "The Problem With Popplers" should have made Fry, Bender and Leela billionaires many times over.

When they stopped off for a snack on a delivery and discovered bundles of delicious fried prawns, the team had a find that quickly became lucrative. The fast food chain Fishy Joe's offered to take over the business of selling the popplers, which were actually larval Omnicronians, and offered the Planet Express crew a dollar on every dozen sold.

Doing the math, Futurama-style

It should be pointed out that Futurama's writers are no slouches when it comes to following through on their own premises. The writer Ken Keeler famously created a mathematical theorem to solve a body-swapping problem at the center of one episode, and they've shown themselves to be sticklers at abiding by their world's own rules.

It seems, however, that they let this one slip by them. In the episode, popplers become a global sensation, selling over 198 billion baby Omnicronians all over planet Earth. As WhatCulture figured it, this works out to 16.5 billion dozens of alien infants eaten. At a buck a bundle, that's $16.5 billion for our protagonists. Even split three ways between Leela, Fry and Bender, that's more than $5 billion a piece.

It seems their cut of this massive bonanza was swept under the rug, though, as they continue to toil for Professor Farnsworth for several more seasons.

Popplers weren't Fry's first Futurama brush with wealth

We can't say for what Bender would have used his cut (blackjack and hookers, maybe?), but it might be for the best that Fry didn't come into a bundle of cash. The series has painted him as an impulse buyer and an easy mark throughout its run. There's a reason his most famous line in the entire series is, "Shut up and take my money!"

In the first season episode "A Fishful of Dollars," Futurama tackled the old trope of time-traveling wealth, noting that even Fry's meager savings would have ballooned with interest over 1000 years. He blows his wealth quickly, however, squandering his fresh start on a tin of ancient anchovies and the skeleton of Ted Danson. Truly, had the popplers fortune remained a thing on the show, Leela might have been the only one to put her money to good use. As it stands, fans of the series never had to find out what the Planet Express crew would do with their unimaginable wealth.