Press rooms at Comic Con are both great fun and sometimes a bit of a tease in that you get face time with some of your favorite television creators, but it’s in such a short burst, you have to really make the most of it.
This afternoon, I joined a group of other members of the Press Corps for a set of roundtable interviews with the creators behind the Back to the Future/Doctor Who/Twilight Zone parody series Rick & Morty: Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland (who had a drink in hand that I was hoping was scotch, but was instead apple juice, I learned), and Ryan Ridley.
Harmon, who developed the show with Roiland, first addressed a question regarding the fact that the first two episodes of the new season, the first of which is set to debut on July 26th, had leaked out onto torrent sites a month early:
It was a mixed blessing, Justin and I were worried about the first episode frankly, because it was very complicated. So the silver lining of the leak…is that it was sort of like a soft roll-out. And the other part of the mixed blessing is that people would want your show that bad, that your trucks are being hijacked on their way to the city. It’s good marketing, I guess.
Though Roiland was quick to point out that the episode was also still unfinished.
Roiland: There’s still little animation mistakes and things I’m fixing.
Harmon: We have to add all the d*cks.
Roiland: Right, and the version that leaked had no d*cks, and the final version is supposed to be somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty d*cks. *laughter* But I was shocked by how many people loved that episode.
Given some the content that makes it onto the screen from the series, and there’s quite a few examples that I’m blushing to even describe, I was curious about what sort of network restrictions they might face and if there was anything that was just too raunchy to make it on the air.
Roiland: Very little (motioning to Harmon), didn’t you post to Instagram some of the edits they asked for?
Harmon: Yeah, I always think S&P memos are hilarious.
Roiland: “Remove Worm Jerry’s butthole”
Harmon: Right! It’s just so funny to see a list and go…”Jesus Christ!” (laughter)
Roiland: But usually we get to do what we want, aside from notes that go “censor the use of f*ck here”, it’s all the ones where we go: “yeah, we knew that”.
After a discussion of events that occur in the leaked episode (that frankly, didn’t make much sense out of context to me, but good job to my fellow journos who admitted they watched a torrented episode to the creators), Roiland teased one tid-bit that there’s a really great moment coming where we meet an alternate reality step-dad for Morty named Paul Fleischmann, a character who Ridley (who is Jewish) described as a “highly anti-semitic selling out of my people”.
Before time ran out, the team addressed how the popularity of the show affected the development of the second season:
Roiland: Going into season two, we realized the stakes were raised and were blown away by how well received season one was. We wanted to keep the bar high. I think that kind of stuff swimming around in the back of your head can make stuff harder.
Harmon: I think, well-received or not, the part that’s difficult is doing a second season of a show that’s out there. You can’t put a mirror in front of a parakeet without changing the entire environment of the cage.
Roiland: Yeah, there’s also a number of sweater threads and things we purposefully left open…
Ridley: Lots of debates about “should we do more Mr. Meeseeks episodes? Or let’s bring back Evil Mortie!”…
Harmon: You’ll realize that you’ll never regain that initial joy (of the first season).
Additional details we learned are that Mr. Meeseeks (that great blue character that I love doing an impression of) will indeed be making a cameo next season and there will be another television episode in the vein of “Rixty Minutes”, though it will not have quite as clean an “A” and “B” plot as that initial entry. Roiland calls it very “balls to the wall”. The team also revealed that Beth, Morty’s mother, will finally go on an adventure and we’ll also meet one of Rick’s ex-lovers.
During the panel that followed afterward, the same trio mentioned that this upcoming season will also introduce Morty’s Uncle Steve as well as a new creature that resembles a banana wearing a top hat that is referred to as “Mr. Poopy Butthole”.
Rick and Morty, folks! It’s great!