Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, doesn’t have much love for the animated comedy’s fifth season. Speaking with IGN for an interview during San Diego Comic-Con, Roiland admitted there were mixed feelings about last year’s season, despite extenuating circumstances.
“Season 5 was weird. We lost Mendel,” Roiland says, referring to J line producer Michael Mendel, who died unexpectedly in 2019.
The fifth season of the show, which continued the adventures of chaotic Rick and his perpetually traumatized grandson, Morty, shed light on Evil Morty and his plan. As always, it featured a mixture of high-concept science fiction, clever writing, and dark humor.
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But even if the season largely lived up to the standards set by previous seasons, Roiland still had mixed feelings about it due to the show’s production conditions.
“It was hard,” says Roiland. “We were thrown into an episode. That was…yeah. If I talked anymore, I’d start crying.”
Now in its sixth season, which was confirmed to release in September earlier this week, Rick and Morty has become known for his chaotic energy, quote lines, and sometimes wild cultural moments. Originally a parody of the Back to the Future genres, Rick and Morty has steadily grown into a massive multiplayer with a sequential storyline.
But as much as she’s grown, Roiland continues to favor Rick and Morty seasons one and two, which he owes to “the absurdity and fun that was going on in the creative process.”
Justin Roiland shares his 5 favorite episodes
Asked about his five favorite episodes, Roiland tags them in no particular order: Total Recall, the episode in which the family deals with memory parasites; Rixty Minutes, first episode on cable; Big Little Sanchez problem, or Tiny Rick problem; The Ricks Must Be Crazy, guest starring Stephen Colbert, and M. Night Shaym-Aliens, as Rick, Morty, and Jerry fall into a strange simulation trap.
Roiland remembers these episodes as being like the “Rubik’s Cubes” that the team had to solve. He describes a scene where he, co-creator Dan Harmon, and the rest of the team will gather around a whiteboard, exhausted, arguing about all possibilities — “little things” like whether Jerry will lose his suit when the simulation is gone.
Later seasons were more formal, Roiland says, and less likely to veer violently. “We weren’t going to rip it all apart and throw it away and start over.”
The death of Mike Mendel, who previously worked on The Simpsons, The Critic, as well as Roiland’s Solar Opposites, was a difficult and tragic for the Rick and Morty staff. Roiland wrote at that time“My friend, partner, and direct producer Mike Mindell has passed away. I am devastated. My heart breaks for his family. I don’t know what I would do without you by my side, Mike. I am devastated.”
Looking back at Season 6 of Rick and Morty, Roiland seems more optimistic.
“I’d say it’s a bit more legal,” he explains, though he says there will also be a good episode about “entry point”. “It really rewards the fans of the show who have been watching up until this point…so I think we’re finally back in the rhythm of Rick and Morty, and I think season 6 is… I didn’t particularly think season 5 was bad, but season 6 is amazing. It really is. quality season.”
As for his relationship with co-creator Dan Harmon, whom Brick has once compared to him, Roiland says, “It’s good.”
“I mean, look, we work completely differently and I don’t like working out. His philosophy is perfection,” Roiland says.
Roiland himself is busier than ever, working on Hulu’s Solar Opposites and continuing to operate his own game studio, which is currently developing High On Life – an ambitious first-person shooter. Meanwhile, the sixth season of Rick and Morty is scheduled to release on September 4 on Adult Swim.
There’s plenty of coverage from San Diego Comic-Con, which wrapped up last Sunday, including the SDCC winners list and everything that was announced during the show.
Kat Bailey is IGN’s Senior News Editor as well as a co-host for Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? Send her a message directly at the_katbot.