Justin Roiland Leaves 'Rick and Morty' After Domestic Abuse Charges
The title roles will be recast because Adult Swim has severed ties with Justin Roiland, the animated show’s co-creator.
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The animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty” will recast its title roles after severing ties with Justin Roiland, a voice actor and the show’s co-creator, who has a pretrial hearing in April for felony domestic abuse charges from 2020.
Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s nighttime adult programming block, announced on Tuesday that it had “ended its association” with Roiland. “Rick and Morty will continue,” the statement said. “The talented and dedicated crew are hard at work on Season 7.”
Roiland has also been removed from the animated Hulu comedy “Solar Opposites,” according to a statement by 20th Television Animation and Hulu Originals. He co-created the show, which was renewed for a fifth season in October, and voiced one of the main characters, Korvo.
“Rick and Morty,” which debuted in 2013, follows the antics of Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic mad scientist, and his anxiety-riddled grandson, Morty Smith, as they travel to other planets and through myriad dimensions. Marie Moore, the senior vice president of communications at Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns Cartoon Network, said in an email on Wednesday that the title characters would be recast but that she had no additional information on the recasting.
Roiland developed the show with Dan Harmon, the creator of “Community,” who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Roiland faces one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit against an unnamed woman he was dating in 2020, according to Orange County Superior Court records. The charges were earlier reported by NBC News, which said most of the California court records are sealed under a protective order.
There is no trial date for Roiland, 42, who has pleaded not guilty. He has had more than a dozen pretrial hearings, including one this month.
Roiland’s lawyer, T. Edward Welbourn, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. In a statement to Rolling Stone, he said: “It is hard to overstate how inaccurate the recent media coverage of this situation has been. To be clear, not only is Justin innocent, but we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed.”
In addition to his television departures, Roiland recently resigned from the video game studio he co-founded, Squanch Games, which released High on Life last month.
In 2018, “Rick and Morty” landed a 70-episode renewal deal from Adult Swim that it is halfway through. At that time, Adult Swim said the third season had earned the block’s highest ratings ever.