‘Rick and Morty’ Fans Suspect Justin Roiland Has Been Recast with A.I.
According to some conspiratorial Rick and Morty fans, Adult Swim may have treated the delicate decision of choosing Justin Roiland’s replacement by doing what the real Rick would have done months ago – just make a robot to do the job. Pass the butter.
Adult Swim removed Roiland as the star of the series he co-created with Dan Harmon after it was revealed that Roiland faced domestic violence charges back in January of this year. Though the charges against Roiland were dropped after the prosecutor deemed that the evidence against him was not enough to earn a conviction in court, horror stories of Roiland’s recent behavior on and off the job painted Adult Swim’s decision to move on from the caustic creator and cast “sound-alikes” to fill his roles as the titular characters in their biggest season as one that was a long time coming.
Rick and Morty will return for its seventh season on October 15th, but fans still do not have the name of the voice actor(s) chosen to fill the roles left vacant by Roiland’s removal. Logically, it would make sense for Harmon and Adult Swim to keep their replacement’s identity under wraps so that the predictably inflamed Roiland stans can’t dox, threaten and harass the replacements the way they do to the show’s woman writers. However, some fans think that sci-fi series may be exploring a brave new world of animated media – they believe that Rick and Morty may have already been replaced by A.I.
The theory has been discussed on the Rick and Morty subreddit as well as in certain Twitter circles – as Hollywood studios seek to scan background actors and use their likenesses indefinitely without additional compensation, it’s not completely outside the realm of logic for a TV studio to look to cut costs by using rapidly advancing A.I. technology to simulate vocal performances that already have sizable samples from which to pull audio data. The deluge of A.I. shitposts showing everyone from Donald Trump to Ben Shapiro to the entire cast of South Park reading procedurally generated lines in eerily accurate voices shows just how close the tech has come to acing the ear test on its celebrity impressions.
Some Rick and Morty fans have postulated that, given Roiland’s reputation for avoiding any amount of actual work, Adult Swim may have already been using A.I. and deep fake tools to compensate for their biggest star’s laziness – “if u listen to rick/morty's voice in the most recent season it genuinely sounds like AI at times,” one fan tweeted.
Overwhelmingly, the reaction to the possibility of robots voicing Rick and Morty has been negative, with one fan calling it the “worst idea i have ever heard in my life.” However, if Adult Swim has decided to secretly replace Roiland with A.I. voice tools, I wouldn’t count on the fans’ ability to hear the difference and call out the con – after all, some of them have been crying that the new voice of Rick sucks over promo videos cut from Roiland’s own performances.