Dan Harmon, co-creator of the immensely popular animated series “Rick and Morty”, opens up about the show’s direction after Justin Roiland’s exit.
The Series Marches Forward, Sans Meta-Jokes
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter if “Rick and Morty” would ever shed light on Justin Roiland’s departure, Harmon’s reply was an unequivocal “I doubt it”. Harmon’s objective for the series is clear – to create content that remains captivating and consistent, regardless of any behind-the-scenes turmoil.
“Our metric of absolute success in the transition would be if the hypothetical casual viewer… were to keep right on watching it and say, ‘This season’s better than the other one’ or ‘This may be my favorite episode.'”, Harmon elaborates. His aspiration is to provide viewers with a seamless viewing experience, offering a semblance of stability, despite changes off-screen.
In the world of TV, creators often incorporate real-world issues and meta-jokes. Harmon himself frequently utilized this technique in the acclaimed comedy “Community”. However, he believes this approach is not suitable for “Rick and Morty”, stating, “We want to suck it up and play it grown-up style and get back to work.”
The Turmoil Behind Roiland’s Exit
the new rick & morty voices are TRASH 😭pic.twitter.com/XBxu3JH4R5
— Let's Get Wasted (@letsgetwasted__) October 16, 2023
The ripple effect of Roiland’s exit was felt deeply within the animation community. Adult Swim took the significant step of cutting ties with Roiland after he faced accusations of domestic abuse and sexual misconduct. As the voice behind the titular characters of Rick and Morty for a whopping 61 episodes, Roiland’s exit marked a significant turning point for the show. In the wake of these allegations, Roiland stepped down from his role at video game studio Squanch Games and was also removed from other projects, namely “Solar Opposites” and “Koala Man”. Despite the controversy, the domestic violence charges against him were dismissed due to a lack of substantial evidence.
New Voices Take Center Stage
Transitioning from such a significant loss was not an easy task. It took the “Rick and Morty” team six grueling months to find suitable replacements. Scott Marder, the showrunner, emphasized the challenges they faced during the audition process, especially in finding Rick’s voice. He explained, “Everyone sounded like ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage or like a cousin of his. No one sounded exactly like Rick. It was tricky.” The voiceover industry, filled with talented artists, posed a considerable challenge in finding the perfect match.
In a surprising twist, the series opted for fresh talents. Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden, both relatively new to the voiceover world, were chosen as the new voices of Rick and Morty, respectively. Cardoni’s impeccable impression of Rick immediately stood out, while Belden was selected after the team had gone through thousands of auditions. The ultimate goal? To ensure fans experience a smooth transition and continue to enjoy the show without feeling the shift in character voices.
As “Rick and Morty” prepares for its next season, it’s evident that the team behind this beloved show is committed to maintaining its quality, ensuring that the series remains a fan favorite for years to come.