Dan Harmon Says That, If ‘Rick and Morty’ Sucks, It’s Not Because of the New Voices

‘Rick and Morty’ fans have largely accepted Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden as the new title characters, but the winds can always change if the show itself starts slipping
Dan Harmon Says That, If ‘Rick and Morty’ Sucks, It’s Not Because of the New Voices

If any of those particularly irate and irrational Rick and Morty fans return next season to claim that the show has gone to shit since series co-creator and former star Justin Roiland creeped and (allegedly) abused his way to an early retirement, don’t blame new stars Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden. Blame atrophy. 

Roiland’s public unraveling following the filing of domestic abuse charges against him over a 2020 incident created a crisis at Adult Swim’s flagship franchise all last year that, thankfully, concluded with a new voice cast leading Rick and Morty to its strongest season in almost half a decade. Though the prosecution later dropped the felony domestic battery and false imprisonment charges Roiland faced due to lack of evidence, new public accusations against Roiland that detailed sexual assault and grooming behavior toward minors ruined the writer, animator and voice actor’s chances at a career comeback, and the series in which he was reportedly a surly nonparticipant in his waning years found itself better off with a calmer creative environment and a pair of perfect soundalikes.

Last year, Cardoni and Belden emerged victorious in the most competitive star search in recent voice acting history, and the majority of the non-insane Rick and Morty fanbase has since embraced the pair’s performances as Rick and Morty respectively, largely thanks to their first season on the job proving to be a triumphant return to form for the series. 

However, as the remaining Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon warned in a recent interview for Variety, the honeymoon may not last forever, and the Rick and Morty renaissance could end with a steep drop-off in quality at any moment. But if and when that happens, it won’t be because Roiland wasn’t around to save the show — said Harmon of the successful recast, “It worked, we transitioned to a new era, and if the show sucks from here forward, it’s for the usual reasons any show can suck. Not because of these dramatic events.”

“I tried to keep that process at arm’s length,” Harmon said of the highly secretive yet highly publicized re-casting process that concluded with Cardoni and Belden filling the most coveted vacancies in voice acting last year. “I used the excuse that I was too close to the creative trauma to be a reasonable collaborator on a planet-wide search for this ghoulish task.”

Harmon said that Rick and Morty executive producers Scott Marder and Steve Levy worked with head of production Monica Mitchell to take the lead in the exhaustive search for the perfect replacements of their disgraced former star, and, in the end, the blind tests led all decision-makers to the same conclusion. “It ended with the kind of unanimous, across-the-board, checking-every-box criteria being met,” explained Harmon. “And with everybody being able to say we definitely did the best we could, we spared no effort on this. The religion that we adhered to the entire time was we have to do our best to make it possible for the fans to not skip a beat.”

That mission, as Harmon noted, was a complete success. “That’s my perception. That the goal was accomplished or those that wanted it accomplished, that they’re like, ‘I can’t tell the difference. The characters are the characters, let’s move on,’” said Harmon of the majority of the Rick and Morty fanbases apparent approval of the new performances. “As far as I can tell, we’re past it.”

And, if and when Rick and Morty jumps the shark, it probably wont be because of Cardoni, Belden or any other members of the voice cast isnt up to snuff. Sometimes, as Harmon noted, shows suddenly just start to suck — for instance, anyone else remember Season Five?


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