Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
The line outside San Diego’s Hilton Bayfront Hotel stretched around the building as anxious fans waited to see whether they would get into the Indigo Ballroom in time for the Rick and Morty panel. Squeezed into a sizable programming block of Adult Swim shows on the Friday of Comic-Con International, the animated series received a welcome reception from a newfound audience.
It was only a year earlier that co-creators Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland (Fish Hooks) strolled into a smaller room in the San Diego Convention Center to try to sell potential viewers on the sci-fi comedy-drama ahead of its December premiere. But between Adult Swim’s marketing efforts and Harmon’s Community fan base, Rick and Morty became a hit. The love for the show was evident this year in the Indigo Ballroom, as devotees showed up in homemade shirts and costumes.
The series centers on Rick Sanchez (Roiland), an alcoholic, sociopathic scientist who, after being missing for nearly 20 years, shows up on his daughter’s doorstep looking to move in with her and her family. He soon converts the garage into a laboratory, and be-gins involving his 14-year-old grandson Morty (Roiland) in his insanely dangerous ad-ventures.
Co-producer Ryan Ridley made his way to the podium dressed as Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thrones, and quickly introduced voice actors Chris Parnell and Spencer Grammer, as well as the show’s creators. Laughter greeted the pair as Harmon walked on stage dressed as Bird Person from Episode 11, and Roiland appeared with Garfield Gazorpazorp from Episode 7 attached to his chest.
After a remark about the considerably larger venue, Ridley asked whether Morty’s parents Jerry (Parnell) and Beth (Sarah Chalke), whose already-strained relationship is made worse by Rick’s presence, should ever get divorced.
“No,” Parnell replied. “I think they really love each other.” Roiland added that, “It would be too scary for them to get divorced.”
“Couples that don’t fight are the ones that end up breaking up,” Harmon observed. “I fight with my fiancée all the time because she’s passionate, and the same passion helped her make this Bird Person costume.”
The 11-episode first season of Rick and Marty concluded in April, leaving viewers eager to learn what to expect in Season 2.
“Season 2 is going to be more intergalactic than Season 1,” Harmon teased. “In Season 1, we learned that we weren’t confined. … We’re mixing it up a lot in Season 2.”
“You’ll see different character parents, new cool characters you all haven’t ever seen before,” Roiland added. “There’s a teensy-weensy bit of the multiverse stuff. There’s no time traveling, but there’s some time issues that you can all get ready to look forward to.”
Ridley then introduced a rough clip from the upcoming season, in which Rick brings Morty to a random planet, explaining to him about morals — while selling an alien gun to an assassin. Afterward, the two use the gun money to entertain themselves at an ar-cade. Morty stumbles upon a virtual-reality game in which he lives out his life and makes decisions that Rick finds to be lame.
Roiland and Harmon revealed there’s a surprise in a select few Season 1 Blu-ray and DVD packages: Each contains a pamphlet called “The Good Morty,” which is handed to the character in Episode 10; some of them were signed by the show’s creators.
The panelists also introduced a clip from the behind-the-scenes documentary that will appear on the Blu-ray/DVD. “There’s a commentary track from Dan and me on every single episode,” Roiland said. “We have three special guest commentary tracks, one from Robert Kirkman, and a Simpsons commentary. Not going to say who’s on it, but let’s just say the big guy. The one you’re all thinking of. First name starts with an M … We also got Pendleton Ward, who also did a guest commentary track, and of course this awesome, massive 20-minute-long behind-the-scenes featurette documentary.”
After the two creators playfully bashed their moderator, they moved on to the audience question-and-answer portion session.
Roiland was asked about the technique he used for burping, but Parnell chimed in with, “I can have a bowel movement on command. Want to see that?”
“I can have them not on command,” Harmon interjected. “I have them uncontrollably.”
Another fan asked whether, given Rick’s last name, the character is Hispanic. “We don’t see a race,” Roiland replied. “We don’t see color. We just see people. Rick Sanchez, despite the Hispanic-sounding last name, I think he’s just a person.”
Between questions, Roiland kept whipping out his iPhone to playi a random song from Lil Wayne. Harmon tried his best to stop him, but Roiland succeeded in playing the song a couple times.
An eager fan asked if there was any way viewers would get another fun party episode like the season finale “Ricksy Business.” “That’s going to be our ‘Treehouse of Horror’,” Roiland said, referring to The Simpsons’ Halloween tradition. “We were going to do one of those every season. There’s another episode. It’s got a different title but these guys were up till 5 a.m. writing the B story for it last week. I’m excited! It’s a Jerry story.”
One of the final questions for the panelists was whether they had advice for aspiring writers. “Just do whatever you have to do to make stuff,” Roiland replied. “If you can, try to make something once a month, and when I say make something, I say finish shooting.”
The second season of Rick and Morty will premiere in 2015 on Adult Swim.