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Hermes Was Almost Completely Different In Futurama

In all their adventures across time and space, The Planet Express Crew of Matt Groening's "Futurama" have never met someone as compulsively bureaucratic as their own Hermes Conrad. As a member of the Central Bureaucracy, his life is dedicated to the arts of form-stamping and pencil-pushing. On the flip side, Hermes has an easygoing attitude that betrays his office worker sensibilities. A Jamaican born and raised, Hermes delivers barrages of absurdist similes in a thick, Caribbean accent. Heck, he was even once an Olympic-class limbo competitor. If it weren't for his outspoken love of handing out pink slips, you would never think that he's really a stone-cold bureaucrat.

However, Hermes wasn't always 50% fun-loving Rastafarian. The Hermes "Futurama" fans know today was almost a completely different character, one that the series' creators weren't sure would work for the show. Luckily, a simple suggestion from the show's co-creator and some top-notch performance from Hermes' voice actor changed that.

How an accent changed Hermes' entire character

We've already talked about Hermes Conrad's Jamaican accent, but we've yet to discuss the legend behind Hermes. And that's important because Hermes is just one of the many iconic cartoon characters portrayed by Phil LaMarr including classics like Samurai Jack and the Green Lantern. Furthermore, Hermes would probably be a very different character if it weren't for LaMarr's acting skills. In an interview with The A.V. Club, LaMarr revealed exactly how he and "Futurama" co-creator Matt Groening made Hermes work.

"When I first auditioned for the character and first started doing the character, he was not called Hermes. He was called Dexter. He was not Jamaican, he was just an overweight accountant. And the character didn't work. Like, a couple of episodes in, it was very clear that this wasn't really adding anything," LaMarr said. "But I had the good fortune of having Matt Groening walk up to me in the hallway after one of the table reads and say, 'Hey Phil, can you do a Jamaican accent?' ... fortunately, I was able to do a Jamaican accent, we changed the character, and then it sort of clicked. The writers found an angle for him."

It seems that without the Jamaican accent and backstory, Hermes loses a lot of things that fans love about him. Without that extra layer of comedy, Hermes is an inflexible stick-in-the-mud, a personality that simply doesn't work long-term in the surreal future depicted in "Futurama."