With Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland awaiting trial on domestic violence charges, the future of the animated comedy series has been hanging in the balance.
Now, Adult Swim, the network where Rick and Morty airs, has announced that it has cut ties with Roiland and will be recasting his voice roles on the show. Adult Swim’s decision arrives less than two weeks after NBC News first reported on Jan. 12 that Roiland had been charged with felony domestic violence in Orange County, Calif., in connection with a January 2020 incident involving an unnamed woman he was dating at the time. The news broke the same day that Roiland appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing in the case.
“Adult Swim has ended its association with Justin Roiland,” Marie Moore, senior vice president of communications for Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults, and Classics division, said in a statement on Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
What charges is Justin Roiland facing?
Roiland was charged in 2020 with one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit following an alleged incident that year with an anonymous Jane Doe whom he was dating, according to a criminal complaint filed in May 2020 by the Orange County District Attorney. He was arrested and released on a $50,000 bond in August 2020 and arraigned in October 2020. A protective order was also filed in October 2020 that prevents Roiland from going within 100 feet of the alleged victim.
Roiland has pleaded not guilty and, in a statement, his attorney T. Edward Welbourn called the media coverage of the case “inaccurate.”
“To be clear, not only is Justin innocent but we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed once the District Attorney’s office has completed its methodical review of the evidence,” Welbourn said. “We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”
In the days following the Jan. 12 hearing, multiple people came forward on social media with additional allegations of abuse—including predatory behavior toward minors—against Roiland.
The next pre-trial hearing is set for April 27.
What do Justin Roiland’s charges mean for the future of Rick and Morty?
As a co-creator, executive producer, and star voice actor of Rick and Morty, Roiland has played an outsize role in the massively popular series. The show’s sixth season, which brought in an average of 560,000 live viewers per episode, concluded in December 2022, and a seventh season is already on the way as part of a long-term deal for 70 new episodes commissioned by Adult Swim in 2018.
Now, Roiland’s voice roles, including those of the titular Rick and Morty, will reportedly be recast as the series, which is booked through season 10, moves forward. Roiland’s fellow co-creator, Dan Harmon, will be the lone showrunner.
Roiland still has two ongoing projects with Hulu, the animated comedy series Solar Opposites, which was renewed for a fifth season in October, and Koala Man, which debuted Jan. 9.