While Rick and Morty season 7 will struggle with Justin Roiland’s recasting, the Adult Swim hit already teased a perfect way to work around this controversy. Rick and Morty is uniquely challenged by the show’s season 7 recasting. When allegations against voice actor Justin Roiland came to light in January 2023, Adult Swim fired the controversial voice actor and announced that production would continue on Rick and Morty season 7. This is not the first time that the lead actor of a popular series was let go during production. In 2108, Roseanne Barr was fired from the Roseanne revival, and the sitcom was retooled into The Conners.
However, while Barr played the title character of Roseanne, her absence did not pose as big a problem as Roiland’s departure from Rick and Morty does. Rick and Morty season 7 can handle Roiland’s exit in numerous ways but, since Roiland voiced both Rick and Morty for the show’s first six seasons, his absence will prove a major challenge. It is rare for any actor to play both the title characters in a television show. As such, it will likely be difficult for Rick and Morty season 7 to cover up this change or explain the voice difference in-universe. However, Rick and Morty already accidentally solved this issue years ago.
A Live-Action Episode Could Address Rick and Morty Season 7’s Recasting
In early September 2021, Rick and Morty produced a viral promo featuring Christopher Lloyd and Jaeden Martel as live-action versions of the show’s two title characters. This brief clip only lasted a few seconds, but still managed to rack up millions of views online. This prompted some speculation about whether the creators of the series were planning a full live-action episode. There was a lot of discussion about how to cast such an episode and now, an outing like this could save the series. Thus, Rick and Morty season 6’s false promise of a live-action episode could end up being a major season 7’s best move.
Introducing the new voice actors as live-action versions of Rick and Morty could help with the potentially jarring transition from Roiland to new cast members. It is almost inevitable that even casual viewers will notice the difference between Rick and Morty’s original voice actor and Roiland’s replacement, so it doesn’t make sense for the series to ignore this. Not only that but Rick and Morty has always been full of self-aware jokes about the show’s status as a television series. As such, a live-action episode that explicitly addresses the show’s changes while also taking on a fresh new format for the first time could be a great idea.
A Rick and Morty Live-Action Episode Would Fit The Show Perfectly
Unlike The Simpsons, Family Guy, or other animated adult cartoons, Rick and Morty’s dimension-hopping sci-fi premise allows the show to switch formats without too much justification. Since Rick and Morty has already introduced a plethora of alternate universes and different realities, it would be easy for the characters to travel to a new dimension where everything takes place in live-action. This approach would always have required Roiland to give up the roles of Rick and Morty, since the voice actor couldn’t play an old man or a young boy in live-action – nevermind the two simultaneously. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7 can now make the most of the opportunity his absence creates.
Live-Action Rick and Morty Has Huge Comedic Potential
Some of Rick and Morty season 6’s weirdest experiments were also the most successful episodes of the outing. Similarly, a live-action Rick and Morty episode has huge comedic potential, as evidenced by the excited fan reaction to Adult Swim’s brief promo. Since the cast doesn’t really align with their character’s ages, Rick and Morty could mock the fact that there are only 7 years between Beth’s voice actor and her screen daughter Summer’s actor. Similarly, the impressive host of guest stars who has appeared on Rick and Morty over the years, from Keith David to Alfred Molina, could return and reprise their roles for a live-action cameo in the episode.
A live-action episode could work now that Roiland is no longer involved in Rick and Morty season 7. While the rest of the actors are not perfectly suited to the age of their characters, they are at least close enough in age and appearance that they could play the Smiths in a live-action version of Rick and Morty. As such, it was only Roiland’s dual role that stopped Rick and Morty from pulling off this inspired idea earlier. Furthermore, the actors who play live-action Rick and Morty wouldn’t necessarily need to be their new voice actors, as the characters could change their voices again when they switch back to their normal reality.
Rick and Morty Season 7 Desperately Needs A Change
As outlined above, Rick and Morty couldn’t have pulled off a live-action episode with the usual cast members when Roiland was still playing both Rick and Morty. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7 can turn Roiland’s departure into a positive thing by taking a risk and staging a live-action outing. One of the biggest issues with season 6, as evidenced by Rick and Morty’s Mr. Poopybutthole storyline, was the stagnation of the show’s character development. After season 5’s bombshell finale, Rick and Morty season 6 did little to challenge its heroes or change their world. However, a live-action episode would effectively achieve both of these goals, proving the show isn’t tired after all and can still surprise fans.
Rick and Morty season 7’s biggest goal should be pushing the show out of its comfort zone. Roiland’s dismissal gives the creators carte blanche to effectively reinvent the title characters, something that Rick and Morty has already needed to do for some time. Staging a live-action episode could also allow Rick and Morty to delve deeper into how the destruction of the Central Finite Curve affected the multiverse of the series. This idea was effectively shoved under the rug midway through season 6 when Rick and Morty regained their inter-dimensional travel capabilities. Thus, Rick and Morty season 7 could be a return to form for the series once the creators are willing to experiment with risky ideas like a live-action episode.