Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland shared some old drawings on Instagram this week that looked suspiciously familiar. Roiland is known for creating the wacky look and sputtering voices of the two titular characters of Rick and Morty, and it appears they have been in his head since long before the show aired.
Roiland shared drawings which he said were from his a "failed 2007 Fox pilot" on Instagram. One showed two scientists in white lab coats standing side-by-side — "Scientist John" and "Scientist Terry." Both bore a certain resemblance to Rick, especially in Roiland's original animated short the series is based on, "Doc and Mharti." While the drawings were neat and clearly printed from a computer, a hand-drawn speech bubble next to Scientist John read: "we control the camera..." perhaps hinting at something similar to Rick's signature fourth-wall-breaking jokes.
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The drawings came from Relative Insanity, a pilot which Roiland sold to Fox in the fall of 2007, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show was executive produced by Jack Black, and written by Roiland. It centered around a young man in his 20s trying to build a normal life while being constantly distracted by the misadventures of his family. The two scientists in the drawing were meant to be the main character's neighbors.
The show was picked up by Fox, then handed off to 20th Century Fox TV before it was ultimately dropped. Roiland was likely acquainted with Black through writer Dan Harmon, who would go on to become his co-creator on Rick and Morty. Harmon and Black worked together on an infamous failed TV pilot at Fox called Heat Vision & Jack.
Harmon and his writing partner Rob Schrab also oversaw a pre-streaming online video phenomenon called Channel 101, where creators would make a 5-minute video every month and then vote for their favorite. Black appeared in several of Harmon's submissions, and Roiland was an active participant in the competition. Some of his early cartoons such as "House of Cosbys" had success there, and it was the birthplace of his Back to the Future parody "Doc and Mharti," which went on to become Rick and Morty.
Roiland has come a long way from the early drawings he was reflecting on this week. The second half of Rick and Morty Season 4 airs this weekend, and the show is guaranteed at least 60 more episodes after that. In addition to having one of the most beloved cartoons on TV right now, he will soon be introducing a new one. Roiland's new Hulu show Solar Opposites premieres on May 8, with 16 episodes dropping all at once. Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 6, "Never Ricking Morty" premieres on Sunday at 11:30 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.