'Rick and Morty': Justin Roiland Had Minimal Involvement With Show for Years, Report Says
A report emerged on Tuesday saying that Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has had little to no involvement in the show for years now, and some of the series' writers have all but confirmed it on social media. Roiland was recently fired from the show ahead of his trial for felony domestic violence charges, amid other allegations. Aside from his voice acting, however, fans may not notice that much of a difference.
Roiland co-created Rick and Morty with writer Dan Harmon and fought hard for the right to voice both of its titular characters. Much of the show's charm has been attributed to his stuttering performances and ad-libbing over the years, though the scripts became denser as time went on. Now, sources close to the show have told The Hollywood Reporter that Roiland hasn't had much creative involvement in Rick and Morty for the last few years – nor his other TV shows like Koala Man and Solar Opposites. Colleagues said that they haven't even spoken to Roiland in years, while staffers on all three shows say they've never even met Roiland.
The insiders said that it's not just low-level staff who are distant from Roiland. Some claimed that Roiland has not been on speaking terms with his co-creator Harmon for years now, and that Harmon has remained more directly involved in the show's creation than Roiland. Some reportedly said that on the rare occasions when they have heard from Roiland recently, the interactions have been "unpleasant." This included one allegation that Roiland made a sexual proposition to a female writer, which was investigated by Adult Swim, though the conclusions were never publicized.
The insiders said specifically that Roiland became less engaged with the writing process starting in Season 2, and that during Season 3 his presence was a hindrance, not a help to their work. Some time that season he stopped showing up to the writer's room regularly, and showed up to the offices in general infrequently. Around this time, Roiland and Harmon reportedly met with a mediator to try and salvage their personal and professional relationship.
people are having a difficult time accepting this but for what it’s worth it’s absolutely true and I don’t think people realize how easy it is to just not be around when you have a whole crew of people keeping the ship running https://t.co/JdY4cSpAM4— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) February 7, 2023
This news surprised many fans when it reached social media, but the show's writers and other creators backed it up. Caitie Delaney, a writer on Season 4, tweeted: "People are having a difficult time accepting this but for what it's worth it's absolutely true and I don't think people realize how easy it is to just not be around when you have a whole crew of people keeping the ship running." Heather Anne Campbell, credited with writing the recent episode "Final DeSmithation," retweeted the news with the caption: "Presented without comment."
This could be good news for fans who worried about how the upcoming seasons of Rick and Morty would go without its co-creator onboard. Adult Swim has announced that the show will go on but that Roiland's roles will all be recast. Many commenters seem to feel that the voices of Rick and Morty can both be emulated by another actor easily. The day-to-day animation and art has been beyond Roiland's scope for years now, so there won't be much difference there. The writing was never Roiland's specialty, but it now turns out that he hasn't been involved in that process for some time either.
Roiland is due in court at the end of April for a pre-trial. He is facing two charges – domestic battery and false imprisonment, both felonies. He has pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, other allegations against Roiland have come out on social media, including screenshots of text messages with him that seem to be abusive and predatory. He has not commented publicly on his termination from his various TV shows.