Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Into the future with “Rick and Morty”

Saturday, March 4, 2023
Graphic by Mattea DeClue

The name Justin Roiland has been mentioned in the news a lot recently. The world awoke January 24 to an announcement stating the television channel, AdultSwim, would no longer be associated with Roiland. Accusations have come out against Roiland for domestic abuse and inappropriate conversations with minors.

Roiland is a voice actor and a co-creator for many animated shows. His works include “Gravity Falls,” “Adventure Time,” “Rick and Morty” and many other “AdultSwim” shows.

Viewers were also informed in the message that “Rick and Morty” season seven would continue without him. Viewers are happy because “Rick and Morty” is a show that many people enjoy. But it also brings some questions.

How are they going to recast the main characters? Is the replacement voice actor going to voice all the same characters Roiland once did? Are there going to be any changes in the storyline that can make the change “canon,” or accurate to the storyline?

Roiland voiced many characters, including Rick Sanchez, Morty Smith, Mr. PBH, Mr. Meseeks, as well as many other characters from the “Interdimensional Cable.”

Assistant professor of Mass Media Sarah Cavanah spoke from her public relations background on how “AdultSwim” confronted this situation.

“I think it is a sound business decision for ‘AdultSwim.’ You have to think about what that whole brand is about, that is not just a brand for adults,” Cavanah said.

“AdultSwim” is in a tricky spot where they have to protect themselves from the possible backlash these accusations could have on them. Unlike his co-writer Dan Harmon, who had a previous controversial incident, Roiland didn’t own up to his accusations. Instead he claimed innocence. This poses a risk to the network because of the possibility of other unknown accusations.

For the future of the show, Cavanah feels it should be successful in its next season. She thinks as long as the show quality maintains the same as the previous seasons, they should succeed without Roiland.

I agree with Cavanah when she said “AdultSwim” handled this sticky situation the best they could. The news came out about his accusations, and the network acted fast. They aren’t just representing “Rick and Morty”, but they are also representing every other program on that network. One rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel and “AdultSwim” swiftly cut ties before anything worse could come from it.

Freshman cyber security major Michael Kelly feels Justin Roiland could be replaced fairly easily. He feels that someone else can replace his voice, as long as they are some talented replacements. He also hopes the show doesn’t change too much in his absence.

Freshman cyber security major Anthony Ryan said “AdultSwim’s” decision was very justified. He also said he believes the show can succeed without Roiland.

“Lots of information on how he didn’t have that much effect on the show as a whole has come out. He really was only there to voice characters and there’s lots of impressionists,” Ryan said. “They should keep it going because he's only written, or contributed to writing about 5 episodes, and there's like 6 seasons now. And 5 episodes out of like, a hundred, doesn't matter much.”

As the weeks go by, the public is more aware of what Roiland’s presence on set really was, just voices. He may have been a co-creator, but that leaves another creative mind in charge of the show’s future.

I enjoy “Rick and Morty” and would still recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. I would be interested in seeing if they poke fun at the situation. I am also interested in how they change their content with new voices.