Following a domestic abuse charge and multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, Adult Swim has cut ties with Justin Roiland, the voice of both Rick and Morty, with the show set to continue without him.
In the wake of the domestic abuse charge being made public, a wave of allegations have since come out against the voice actor, with accusers posting disturbing texts allegedly sent to them by Roiland, and fans reposting old clips of him making unsettling comments about underage girls.
The general assumption was that Rick and Morty was likely to be canceled, with much of the fanbase celebrating the end of Roiland’s career, even if the show was to be missed.
Judging from the anecdotal responses to the allegations, Roiland appears to be the latest example of a known predator in the entertainment industry, possibly an open secret for years.
On Twitter, Adult Swim clarified that the show was going to continue without him, which makes sense, considering that Adult Swim isn’t even halfway through their 70-episode order for the show (which is one of the brand’s most popular titles).
But the announcement surprised many commentators, many of whom made memes suggesting Rick and Morty’s replacement would inevitably sound wrong; others cracked jokes about the role going to the chronically miscast Chris Pratt, the new voice of Super Mario.
Roiland’s distinctive voice was one of the hallmarks of Rick and Morty, with Roiland infusing his performance with nervous stammering, high-pitched shrieks, and the occasional belch. Roiland also voiced several of the show’s side-characters; he was as vital to Rick and Morty as Dan Castellaneta is to The Simpsons.
As many have pointed out, Rick and Morty voices are not particularly difficult to imitate, and fans are notorious for attempting to do impressions of the two characters.
Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty, can also do a surprisingly good Rick impression. But Roiland’s chaotic energy and off-the-wall improvisation will be very difficult to replicate, so whatever happens, the show will need to undergo some kind of metamorphosis.
Roiland’s stammering voice, featured in Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, and recently, the videogame High on Life, was beginning to grate anyway; his shtick was getting stale.
Rick and Morty does have the advantage of a multiverse, along with the infinite possibilities of sci-fi, so there’s always the opportunity to reboot either character with a completely different tone and performance, and explain the difference through an alternate universe identity, or voice modulator.
While the allegations against Roiland are deeply disturbing and disappointing, its nice to know that those who work on the show will be able to keep their jobs, and that the titular pair will continue their adventures without him.