In a new profile with THR, Dan Harmon just shared the details about why it’s been four years since he spoke to Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, who is no longer on Adult TV due to a domestic violence charge Swim series takes part.
Of course, Harmon is not only known for Rick and Morty, but also for the popular sitcom Community and current animated series such as Strange Planet and Krapopolis. The author also founded Channel 101, a comedy film festival that served as a meeting place for him and Roiland, his future writing partner.
In 2006, Roiland drew a parody of Marty McFly and Doc Brown from Back to the Future, which he submitted to Channel 101. The raunchy cartoon would form the basis for Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” although Roiland’s creative contributions to the show soon began. Harmon acknowledged that it was inadvertently overshadowed by an influx of prime-time network writers.
“If I had felt like I was forcing something, I never would have done it,” Harmon said, although THR reported that the author acknowledged the significance of the decision to hire an experienced new staff in hindsight.
“If anything, I wanted Justin and I to both become more and more lazy and not show up for work. That was the dream,” Harmon continued. “And then I realized later that it was like, ‘Oh, Harmon brought his Harmon writers,’ and, man, I didn’t look at it that way.”
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure what he said, except maybe, ‘I feel like I’m in your shadow and I wish I wasn’t.’
By the second season of Rick and Morty, Roiland had significantly retreated from the writers’ room, although he was still the voice of the two title characters and others in the series. Harmon recalled how Roiland confided in him after the season ended his frustration with the show’s working conditions: “Honestly, I wasn’t sure what he said,” Harmon admitted. “Except maybe, ‘I feel like I’m in your shadow and I wish I wasn’t.'”
The increasing animosity between Harmon and Roiland was not limited to the scope of their relationship as writing partners; Mike Lazzo, former executive vice president of Adult Swim, saw the writers struggle up close every time he visited.
“Dan would be in the writers’ room and Justin would be piloting remote control cars around the studio,” Lazzo told THR. The television executive continued to praise Harmon for his work on “Rick and Morty,” saying, “I remember thinking I was going to get that. “I was frustrated waiting for his scripts, but then they came and they were masterpieces.”
In the third season, Roiland was nowhere to be found. Due to his unreliable presence in the writers’ room, a mediator was brought into the production in hopes of putting an end to the unresolved tension between Roiland and Harmon.
“I always felt like Justin wanted everyone to feel better, and I was just like, ‘Everyone wants you to be comfortable, to communicate and tell us how to do this,'” Harmon said. “I freaked out about the whole thing because I wanted the partnership to work. I wanted him to be happy because if he’s happy we’re in for a beating.”
According to a report by Vulture, “Rick and Morty” was the No. 1 TV comedy among millennials in 2017. Despite the personal differences between Roiland and Harmon, the two experienced a brief period of joy as they worked together again on another 70 episodes while enjoying the huge success of their show, Harmon said.
But Roiland and Harmon last spoke via text message in 2019 — a conversation that Harmon says still haunts him to this day.
“He said things about unhappiness that he had never said before, and I remember saying to him the last time we spoke in person, ‘I’m worried about you and I don’t know what to do about it.’ shall, except.’ “I’m putting all the responsibility on you and just saying that I’m afraid you won’t come back. “But then this conversation became unprecedentedly confrontational,” Harmon said before pausing briefly. “I think that’s all I can do with the story. At this point, we’re not both there for it anymore, and it’s starting to stop being alone.” It’s unfair for me to move on, but completely uncomfortable, because from then on, a friendship goes out the window, and I still don’t understand quite, why.”
Earlier this year, Roiland found himself in a controversy after domestic violence charges were filed against him. He was arrested after being charged with one count of domestic violence resulting in bodily harm and one count of false imprisonment by threat, force, fraud or deception. The charges were dismissed in March and Roiland was released on $50,000 bail.
Additionally, a Sept. 13 NBC report documents nine separate accounts from women, some of whom were minors, all of whom alleged that Roiland sexually harassed or assaulted them.
“The last time we spoke to him in person, I remember telling him, ‘I’m worried about you.’
Following the domestic violence allegations, Adult Swim cut ties with Roiland in January, as did Hulu, which worked with him on “Solar Opposites.” In his absence, Adult Swim announced that the series’ titular characters, originally voiced by Roiland, would be recast with similar-sounding voice actors.
“Rick and Morty are back and sounding more like themselves than ever,” reads a synopsis for Rick and Morty season 7. “It’s season seven and the possibilities are endless: What’s going on with Jerry? BAD summer?! And will they ever go back to high school?! Maybe not! But let’s find out! There’s probably less piss than last season. “Rick and Morty”, 100 years! Or at least until season ten!”
Harmon has also had his own controversies in the past, most notably in May 2012, when the Community showrunner was fired from his own project after rumors circulated that he was notoriously “difficult” to work with, according to THR reports at the time. However, he would return in the series’ fifth and sixth seasons.
Then in 2018, Harmon was involved in a viral Twitter dialogue with former employee Megan Ganz after the community writer reported Harmon for sexual harassment. In the heat of the #MeToo movement, Harmon publicly apologized to Ganz for his inappropriate behavior, which Ganz later accepted.
Before the strike, Harmon was putting the finishing touches on the script for a community film with co-writer Andrew Guest. The production will star almost all of the original series’ main cast, with the exception of Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown and (you guessed it) Chase.
Season 7 of “Rick and Morty” will also return to Adult Swim on October 15th. Fans of the series can get a first look at the revised voices of Rick and Morty in a new trailer starting September 26th.
The 15 best Rick and Morty episodes
Photo credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb