Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty has maintained a massive following since its 2013 release. The show primarily follows the misadventures of alcoholic scientist Rick and his anxious grandson Morty. The comical cartoon now has a dark backstory–show co-creator and the voice of both Rick and Morty, Justin Roiland, has been charged with domestic violence.
The charges come from a 2020 relationship between Roiland and an anonymous woman in Orange County, California. Hulu was also working on two projects with Roiland, Solar Opposites and Koala Man, from which Roiland was also dropped. Roiland also voiced one of the main characters in Solar Opposites, which was renewed for a fifth season in October 2022. He recently resigned from his video game studio, Squanch Games, as well.
Rick and Morty is confirmed to continue for several more seasons, with show co-creator Dan Harmon staying on the project as the lone show runner.
— Rick and Morty (@RickandMorty) January 24, 2023
Some criticized the show’s messaging for allegedly hiding Roiland’s true character, and the male fan base that the show has attracted.
rick and morty continuing without justin roiland, panic at the disco 'disbanding' this is the worst day ever for the 36 year old at the smoke shop that dates high schoolers
— samson/axl (@literalrrrats) January 24, 2023
Roiland also has a history of making inappropriate comments about underage girls. His alleged DMs with several teenagers went viral on TikTok.
Can someone animate this audio of Justin Roiland defending his pedophilia as morty from rick and morty pic.twitter.com/6M7u8olT2I
— 12ozApologizer (@12ozApologizer) January 20, 2023
Others view Roiland’s charges as a wakeup call for fans of this genre of cartoons. If a massive following of fans is comprised of people who express problematic viewpoints, some feel that viewers should take a hard look at the creators of the characters they worship.
Fans of the show have already begun predicting who will be recast in the show. Many vote for voice actor Alex Hirsch, who voiced several characters on Disney’s Gravity Falls and has a similar vocal register to Roiland.
Others have been auditioning themselves for the part on TikTok and Twitter.
— Jordan March (@Jordan_March_04) January 24, 2023
Here is my audition tape for Rick and Morty on the show Rick and Morty pic.twitter.com/s7ku9T2qPu
— Justin (@nothinbutlag) January 25, 2023
Some theorize how the show will explain the voice changes of the two main characters, and whether the new actor will emulate Roiland or take their own spin on the roles.
Can’t wait for Rick and Morty Season 7 to open like this pic.twitter.com/bixgQ3oE7N
— The Dan The Man Show 💥 (@DanManShow) January 24, 2023
On the other side of the spectrum, some feel that Roiland’s characters should be killed off completely.
i think we can all agree rick and morty should just be killed off and jerry can be the new protagonist for the final seasons https://t.co/ZiNKMfMH73
— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) January 24, 2023
One TikTok creator impersonated celebrities that could be up for the roles.
Adam Driver Morty has to happen😠
TikTok creators now view the show in a different light after hearing about Roiland’s charges. The show features several sexual storylines in the later seasons.
rick and Morty morty and rick gets caught #fyp
None of the show’s cast have spoken about the charges Roiland faces. It is also unclear if one of the current cast members will take on the roles of Roiland’s characters, or if they will be recast externally. The show will soon begin production on its seventh season.
Roiland is set for a pre-trial hearing in April. His lawyer, T. Edward Welbourn, maintains his client’s innocence, and slammed the media for its coverage of his abuse charges. Show co-creator Dan Harmon, who is also known for his smash hit show Community, has not commented on Roiland’s charges. Amid the coverage of Roiland’s charges, one thing rings true to Rick and Morty fans–that it is important to consume media under a critical lens, and hold their idols accountable.