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‘Rick and Morty’ Will Be Fine Without Justin Roiland, and Here’s Why

Rick and Morty (2013)

Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland was recently ousted from the show following revelations of a history of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and erratic behavior. Now, a new Hollywood Reporter article confirms rumors that he hasn’t been meaningfully involved in the series for years.

The article is nothing short of damning, detailing both Roiland’s disgusting behavior toward the show’s staff, and his lack of creative input:

Multiple sources say that Roiland, other than voice work, has not had any meaningful creative presence on any of the series that bear his name. In fact, many of his former colleagues say they haven’t heard from him in years, and when they have, it’s been unpleasant. They note, too, that he hasn’t been on speaking terms with his Rick and Morty co-creator, Dan Harmon, for multiple seasons, and a substantial number of staffers on that show as well as Solar Opposites and Koala Man have never actually met Roiland, even over Zoom.

If Roiland hasn’t been there, though, then where has all the content of the show come from? Who’s been flying this thing!? Turns out there’s plenty of talent to go around, as Tiktok user Mr Radtastic points out in this video. You know all those highly rated episodes everyone loves? None of them were written by Roiland.


I am not ashamed to say I enjoy Rick and Morty. I like it when it is a study on how omnipotence breeds nihilism, and the weight that burdens on a human soul. And yes I also like it when Jerry crawls on the floor crying. Roiland leaving means nothing. A million actors can do his job, the writers are the real reason for the success. #rickandmorty #justinroiland #mrradtastic

♬ original sound – Mr Radtastic

The highlight of the video is the revelation about “Pickle Rick,” one of the most complicated and interesting episodes in the whole series. Rick, in a last-minute gambit to avoid going to family therapy, turns himself into a pickle. Beth takes the antidote to get back at him, forcing Rick to endure some of the most grotesque body horror in the series after he accidentally rolls into the sewer. At the end of the episode, it looks like Rick might finally be on the verge of a breakthrough about his toxic behavior, but then he and Beth just fall right back into their old patterns. It’s one of the episodes that clearly demonstrates what’s so tragic about Rick: he may look like an almost god-like scientist, but he’s really just a sad, self-destructive old man who alienates everyone around him.

Jessica Gao, head writer of She-Hulk, understands that about his character, which is what makes that episode so great. Yes, that’s right! The She-Hulk writer hated by oblivious manbabies wrote the best episode of their favorite show!

The best parts of Rick and Morty never came from Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland is responsible for the initial concept of Rick and Morty. Big whoop—the character design is just a riff on Back to the Future. It took a whole staff of creatives to bring these characters to life. And Roiland’s voices? I promise you there are other talented voice actors out there, some of whom are probably preparing their Rick and Morty demos as I write this. There have been many animated shows over the years that switched voice actors, and I bet my life savings you didn’t notice, because voice actors are great at what they do.

The best parts of Rick and Morty aren’t the dick jokes or Rick’s constant belching. It’s the dynamics among a cast of deeply flawed but relatable characters, each of whom has access to power they can’t be trusted with. Those character dynamics are the best parts of the show, and Roiland’s departure won’t make the slightest difference.

(featured image: Cartoon Network)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and covers film, television, and books for The Mary Sue. When she's not making yarn on her spinning wheel, she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.