With or without Justin Roiland, Adult Swim has reiterated time and time again that the show must go on. And based on the Rick and Morty season 7 trailer featuring the since-ousted co-creator’s unidentified vocal replacement, transitioning to the post-Roiland era will be 99% seamless..
While the titular Rick Sanchez is mostly there (as in 90% bang-on; higher tone/yelling delivery still needs work), the titular Morty Smith is practically indistinguishable from the original.
Here are some of the first reactions…
“Morty, I couldn’t tell a difference, just sounds a lot more confident which matches his character growth. Should be interesting to see.”
“Wow. Sounds pretty true to the original voices. I feel like we’ll all get used to the differences and forget what they used to sound like until we go back and rewatch old episodes.”
“Whoever they got to do the voices are much better than I expected to hear. If you listen, you can hear some subtle differences, but not as much as I thought there would be. They are very, very close.”
“A bit different but honestly the new actors did a BRILLIANT job, I have zero issues with this.”
“Originally I was so scared that the voices were going to be completely different and I wouldn’t get used to it, but now hearing that Morty is spot on and Rick only sounds a tad off makes me so happy.”
“So they actually sound super close. Was hoping for Sean Kelly but these guys nailed it. The real test is to see a full episode and all the nuance and mannerisms in their performance. It’s more than just sounding like the character as well.”
“I think the voices work pretty well as far as replacements go. Good job on the voice actor they got to fill in.”
“This is… acceptable.”
Despite being cleared of the felony domestic violence charges that instigated his reputational decline, and unearthed a deeper mine of questionable behaviour in the process, Adult Swim has stood by its decision to sever ties with Justin Roiland; Hulu — which is home to Roiland’s other successful animated property Solar Opposites — has also followed suit and since recast Dan Stevens in his role(s).
But according to a damning exposé published around the time fecal matter hit the fan, it won’t really move the needle in any significant way. In fact, by all accounts, production might even run a little smoother.
“Multiple sources say that Justin Roiland, other than voice work, has not had any meaningful creative presence on any of the series that bears his name,” wrote Lacey Rose and Katie Kilkenny of The Hollywood Reporter.
“Many of his former colleagues say they haven’t heard from him in years, and when they have, it’s been unpleasant. They note, too, that he hasn’t been on speaking terms with his Rick and Morty co-creator, Dan Harmon, for multiple seasons, and a substantial number of staffers on that show as well as Solar Opposites and Koala Man have never actually met Roiland, even over Zoom.”
For the sophomore season, Dan Harmon enlisted a few writers who had worked for him during his time as the Community showrunner. One insider notes they didn’t treat Justin Roiland with “the same kind of reverence” as the original team did. The bromance between Harmon and Roiland eventually became so bitter that a mediator was brought in to “salvage” what was once an “inspired” partnership.
Lacey Rose and Katie Kilkenny continued: “The room became clubbier, and not nearly as much fun — there were now ‘Dan’s Guys,’ a more cerebral, structured set, and ‘Justin’s Guys,’ a zany collection of artists… ‘Dan is all on the page and mathematical about story breaking, and these guys that Justin hired were like, ‘Look, I drew a turd with eyes, let’s do a story about that.’”
“During season two, Roiland began pulling away, increasingly uninterested in being in a room that had given him great joy only a season earlier. In fact, at one point, he was sitting so far away from the other writers that in order for him to read what was being written on the whiteboard, he had to grab the pair of binoculars that were in the room to scope out wildlife in the mountains overlooking Burbank.”
“According to another show source, he was easily distracted, too; the writers would regularly walk over to a Toys R Us, where they would buy action figures or Nerf guns, and ‘then he played with them the rest of the day and we couldn’t get any work done.’ Other show sources say he’d derail pitches and interrupt with sophomoric non-sequiturs like, ‘What if his brains were on the outside?’ It reached a point where multiple sources say it was easier when Roiland wasn’t in the room.”
“At some point during the third season of Rick and Morty, multiple sources say Justin Roiland simply stopped showing up — and when he did turn up in the Burbank offices, he’d typically avoid the writers’ room.”
Case in point: after Harmon took the reins, everything began progressing ahead of schedule; the forthcoming seventh season having begun being written back in 2021. Compounded with what we’re ready to deem a near-flawless impersonation of his iconic characters, and it would appear that there really is no need for Justin Roiland.
At the time of this writing, Rick and Morty have been renewed right through to season 10 by Adult Swim. Roiland will apparently continue to be credited as co-creator.
Rick and Morty season 7 premieres via Netflix Australia on October 16th, 2023 (today) — check out the trailer above.