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Mick Joest

Why I Agree With Rick And Morty's Stance On How To Replace Justin Roiland (And Not Solar Opposites')

Rick and Morty on Rick and Morty.

Rick and Morty is gearing up for Season 7, but the upcoming episodes of the long-running Adult Swim series are going to be a little different. Those keeping tabs on the show between seasons are likely aware that series co-creator and the voice of the title characters Justin Roiland was fired following charges of domestic violence. Roiland was ultimately cleared of the charges, but his animated projects, including Solar Opposites, have moved forward without him for reasons beyond that. 

As for how each show has handled replacing Roiland's voice, they have taken drastically different routes. Rick and Morty executive producer Steve Levy revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2023 that they intend to cast a soundalike voice actor for all roles Roiland did, while Solar Opposites replaced Korvo's voice by bringing in actor Dan Stevens. Personally, I think that Rick and Morty chose the better strategy for replacing Roiland, despite a difference of opinions around the web. Rick and Morty seems to have the definitively better overall strategy, and I think others will agree as time passes. 

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

A Noticeable Voice Change Is A Distraction

While I think it's hilarious that Solar Opposites has hired an actor to play Korvo who has such a radically different voice than Justin Roiland  (and has a good way of explaining it), there's no denying that it's a distraction.  Korvo having a British accent all of a sudden may play as a great comedy bit, but the viewer will need to adjust to this change no matter how warranted it is. Even for a show as silly as Solar Opposites, it's going to take some focus away and pull the longtime fans out of the early episodes of Season 4 a bit.  

It's part of why I believe that Rick and Morty made the right call by committing to a search for a soundalike rather than trying to find someone notable to replace them. Sure, it would've been cool to see stunt casting like Christopher Lloyd voicing Rick and Michael J. Fox voicing Morty, but eventually, the fun of it would fade. Once the fun has faded, then the show has a problem and may have to potentially recast the voice role all over again. 

I should add that it's not uncommon in the history of animation to recast classic character roles. Just about every original Disney character has had multiple actors playing the part, and the same is true for Looney Tunes. Rick and Morty is doing what dozens of animated shows before it have done, and while some may feel that's an affirmation of Justin Roiland's talent, it's just what is done in animation when someone needs to be replaced.  

(Image credit: Hulu)

It Switches Up The Vibe

CinemaBlend's Jeff McCobb went to San Diego Comic-Con 2023 and saw the first two episodes of Solar Opposites Season 4 with Dan Stevens as Korvo. One of his main takeaways he had was there was an undeniable vibe shift in the character of Korvo. Though it was only his voice that changed, Jeff noted that the entire character had changed as well. He even went so far as to say that the new Korvo isn't as funny, which feels like a problem. 

I will concede I think that's also an issue that Rick and Morty could run into as well, even with finding a soundalike. Justin Roiland constantly riffed in the sound booth as both Rick and Morty, and an incoming voice actor may not be able to fully match up. Having the voice of the character could also potentially feel empty in spirit, which is an unfortunate side effect that can't be ignored. 

Perhaps the big takeaway, though, is that there's going to be a vibe shift regardless of who steps in for Justin Roiland in either role. That being said, minimizing it as much as possible is the correct path foward. It's possible that Justin Roiland's riffing was overhyped and that there are people on the Rick and Morty staff who know his comedic style well enough to replicate it for the next actor to take his place. That remains to be seen, but the show has had a solid run of success so far, so I'm not about to doubt it now. 

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Future Fans Who Notice The Voice Change Will Look Up Why It Occurred

This might be wrong to assume, given we're entering an era of streaming where services are purging original content, but I'm holding on to the belief that future generations will have access to Solar Opposites and Rick And Morty. And while the controversy surrounding Justin Roiland is still very big topic in pop culture today, there will come a time when it fades, and future generations will forget... right up until they look up why Korvo's voice changes in Solar Opposites Season 4.

With Rick and Morty, depending on who is hired, the changeover will be smoother. There are some convincing soundalikes on the internet who can do the characters pretty well – to the point that I think unaware viewers won't know anything has changed when Season 7 premieres. (Assuming the show doesn't directly acknowledge it, and given how the Adult Swim series loves to break the fourth wall, I'm not ruling that out.)

I ultimately believe the best path forward for both shows, especially after reading about the reputation Justin Roiland allegedly had while working on Rick and Morty, is to distance itself as far from him as much as possible. Entirely changing the voices he did for the characters on the shows almost grants more power to what he brought to the roles; casting a soundalike more sends the message that anyone can be Rick and Morty.

Ultimately I'll tune in for both Solar Opposites Season 4 and Rick and Morty Season 7. While I may have different opinions on how each show handled Justin Roiland's sudden departure, that's not a knock on the quality of each show and the work that has been done moving on. Here's hoping for the best for each in their new eras and to the overall health they provide to the genre of adult animation. 

Solar Opposites Season 4 will premiere on August 14th, so make sure that Hulu subscription is up to date. As for Rick and Morty, Season 7 will release before 2023 is up, but we're still waiting on an official date.

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