If you haven’t heard, it’s an awkward year to be at San Diego Comic-Con, but it is perhaps an especially awkward Comic-Con year for Rick and Morty. For most TV shows and films, the WGA and SAG strikes for fair contracts have left studios unable to populate their panels with the writers and actors who usually promote the shows as part of their contract. This, generally, has resulted in a scaled back convention. Many panels were canceled altogether, but for the ones that are not — including Rick and Morty’s 10th Anniversary Panel — there has been a lot of talk (and, perhaps, more often not-talk) about the strikes.
For Rick and Morty, however, it’s not just the strikes they have to contend with, but also the continued fallout from the departure of series co-creator and protagonist voice actor Justin Roiland. Roiland was fired by Adult Swim earlier this year after allegations of domestic violence and sexual misconduct came to light earlier. It was the other elephant in the room in today’s panel, as executive producer Steve Levy, producer Suzanne Belk, supervising director Jacob Hair, and lead character designer Elisa Phillips took the stage to share concept art from one of the show’s Emmy-nominated episodes, tease what they could about an upcoming season, and briefly address the recasting for the voices of Rick and Morty.
Rick and Morty season 7 will recast Justin Roiland
Eponymous Rick and Morty protagonists (Rick and Morty) were previously voiced by series co-creator Roiland. Because he was fired, fans at the panel were particularly curious to find out what the future of these beloved characters will literally sound like. One fan — cosplaying as The Boys character The Deep — asked about the voice recasting process for the show’s protagonists, specifically inquiring if the new actors would be “soundalikes” or if they would be a completely new interpretation of the characters.
“It’s soundalikes. The characters are the same characters. No change,” said Levy, clearly and without hesitation. Of the completion status of the process, he said: “We are closing in on the end of our process of the recast.”
Overall, Levy was sure to emphasize that he felt good about the changes. “I do want to say it’s gonna be great. I am thoroughly impressed with everything that’s going on, including all the work on season 7. Truly, That’s the thing I don’t want to be overshadowed. The show is as good as it’s ever been.”
When is Rick and Morty season 7 coming?
When will that next season be? Sooner than you think, but not soon enough that Adult Swim was allowing any of the people on stage to tell us. “I think the best I can say is pretty dang soon,” said Levy, before adding that the episodes for all of season 7 are “in the can,” with a portion of seasons 8 and 9 also written. (Rick and Morty has been given a renewal through season 10.)
That being said, given that the voice recasting process for Rick and Morty is, as aforementioned, not yet completed, we presumably will have to wait a bit longer for new episodes. More generally, Levy spoke about the seventh season as having a mixture of one-off episodes and “the more Rick-focused, canonical-type episodes that fans really love.”
Squanchy (and other fan favorites) will return
When the show does return, it will bring back some beloved characters. When one fan came to the microphone to ask if recurring cat-person character and friend-of-Rick Squanchy would be back, Levy confirmed that Squanchy and Rick’s “whole gang of friends” would be back in the season 7 premiere. This includes Birdperson, Gene, and Mr. Poopybutthole. “There’s definitely a lot to look forward to this season, and I promise you, Squanchy will Squanch again,” said Levy.
(If you were wondering, there don’t seem to be any concrete plans to bring back Naruto Smith, aka Giant Incest Baby, and an impromptu crowd survey on the subject proved inconclusive.)
The Rick and Morty anime is almost here
The final surprise Adult Swim had in store for Rick and Morty fans at SDCC was a first look at the upcoming Rick and Morty: The Anime, which was announced last year. The psychedelic, sometimes dreamy visuals of the 10-episode anime series were led by director Takashi Sano, who previously worked on the Tower of God anime and directed two anime shorts, set in the Rick and Morty universe: “Rick and Morty vs. Genocider” and “Summer Meets God (Rick Meets Evil).” The anime will adapt themes and events from the main series, but is an original, standalone series. In a pre-recorded video message played for fans in attendance, Sano said: “What I’ve tried to accomplish in these 10 episodes is to take all my favorite parts of Rick and Morty and compress them down to express their essence and then add a unique Japanese twist.”