Following Justin Roiland's firing from Rick and Morty, Adult Swim made its decision regarding a possible recast for his characters.
Roiland is best known as the co-creator of Rick & Morty for Adult Swim in 2013, which led to six successful seasons of the animated comedy as Roiland provided the voices for both of the leading protagonists of the show, along with many others.
More recently, he was arrested for felony domestic battery in August 2020 (which was not made public until January 2023). After the charges were announced, multiple people came forward, with allegations of predatory behavior toward minors.
This led to him being fired from the series even though the charges were later dismissed in March 2023. But the big question after that dismissal was whether Roiland would rejoin the show or if his firing would become permanent.
Justin Roiland Replaced for Rick and Morty
French outlet Premiere spoke with Cartoon Network president Michael Ouweleen and Rick & Morty producer Steve Levy, who confirmed the show's creator/star Justin Roiland will be replaced for the show's upcoming seventh season.
This comes after the charges for felony domestic battery against Roiland were dismissed in March 2023.
Ouweleen confirmed, in the French-translated interview, that Roiland "will be replaced in dubbing" in post-production for Season 7, which doesn't yet have a release date.
He made it clear that this wouldn't be done by imitators, confirming that it was a tough decision to replace Roiland while expressing hope that "the transition will go well:"
"No, not imitators... In any case the idea is that we feel that they are the same characters. Listen: voices are obviously super important in an animated series. And, of course, none of us wanted to go through what we went through. But I've been in animation for a long time, and I know that what makes a series is its different parts coming together. If the voices are obviously a big part, there is also the writing of the characters, their design... I have reason to believe that the transition will go well."
Levy added that the "writing quality has never been better" and that the new voices for all of Roiland's characters shouldn't change things too much:
"The writing quality has never been better, and all the screenwriters have stayed. I don't think anyone will bat an eyelid hearing the new voices."
Ouweleen "[believes] it is possible" that fans who watch all of Rick and Morty won't recognize the difference when the main voices of the characters are changed from an acting standpoint.
Levy noted that the team is "still in the recruitment process" for finding the actor (or actors) that will replace Roiland, although Ouweleen also added that the process is "looking good" right now.
Ouweleen even compared the situation to the many people who have played Looney Tunes icon Bugs Bunny, believing that they "will do even better" on that front with Rick and Morty:
"But it's looking good. It's a rather unique situation... I'll take an example: there have been several great Bugs Bunny voice actors, and I love what Jeff Bennett has done with them. But it's not Mel Blanc! And yet we recognize the character. I even think that for 'Rick and Morty' we will do even better... It will be fine. It'll be great."
Along with Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, Roiland is credited with playing nearly two dozen other characters throughout the course of the show's six seasons.
How Will Rick and Morty Move Forward for Season 7?
With Rick and Morty set to run for at least four more seasons, getting the voices right for its two leading characters along with the other Roiland-voiced characters will be of vital importance for Cartoon Network.
The process will be a long one as the team looks for either somebody who can do a number of voices the way Justin Roiland did or by divvying the parts up to multiple people who can recreate the characters in the booth.
Some rumors indicated that Season 7 could be in line to release in September, which would only leave a few months to not only recast the show but record all the lines of dialogue as well.
In any case, these quotes seem to indicate that the decision is final on Roiland's exit, leaving Rick and Morty in quite an uneasy state as the studio works to move forward the right way.
Rick & Morty will continue with Season 7 on Adult Swim at an undisclosed time.