Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland made a surprise appearance in a new YouTube video this week. The animation legend performed two voice roles in "Sand Planet," the new Star Wars parody from filmmaker Joel Haver. So far, commenters think Roiland's take on Uncle Owen is a bit more realistic than the original movie.
Roiland plays Uncle Owen opposite Haver's take on Luke Skywalker in "Sand Planet," and he also plays the droid that Owen ends up buying in this version. Instead of R2D2 and C3PO, he purchases an excitable droid shaped like an old TV with two legs. Roiland holds nothing back in this curse-laden dialogue, which comes off just as unrehearsed as Rick and Morty itself. The whole parody serves to poke holes in the unlikely happenstance that started the Star Wars saga off.
Haver is an actor, animator and filmmaker with a huge following online - particularly on YouTube, where he posts his videos for free. He creates "no budget animation" with a range of free or cheap software and typically recruits friends and family for the voiceover work.
In this case, he just happened to secure one of the biggest voices in animation right now. Roiland created Rick and Morty with writer Dan Harmon, and he voices the two main characters, along with many other creatures in the show. Roiland started out much like Haver, creating low-budget animated shorts and seeking homegrown success online.
That's how Roiland and Harmon met in the first place - long before Community or Rick and Morty, Harmon co-created a monthly short film festival called Channel 101, where creators would bring a 5-minute "pilot" to screen each month. The audience would vote on which ones to "pick up" for next month, otherwise, creators would need to bring something brand new.
Channel 101 attracted the attention of Roiland, and several of the collaborators that he and Harmon still work with today. It also drew in famous faces like Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew. When the contest moved online, its reach grew even bigger.
Many commenters were pleased to see Roiland using his platform to draw attention to a fellow self-starter like Haver. However, with over 1.3 million subscribers, Haver has done perfectly well on his own. His "Sand Planet" video has already gotten over 1 million views, and another one is already up on his Patreon page. It will likely be published on his regular YouTube channel soon.