Game of Thrones fans need to stop whining about waiting a measly 15 months betweens seasons six and seven — Rick and Morty fans have been waiting since October 4, 2015 for new content. When the new season premieres this Sunday, July 30, it’ll have been nearly 22 months since we last caught up with everyone’s favorite drunken mad scientist. Well, that’s not entirely accurate — the season three premiere, “The Rickshank Redemption,” was released to everyone’s surprise on April Fool’s Day, and it affirmed what the most recent trailer hammered home: Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s baby is about to get dark(er than it already was).
CBR had the chance to sit down with the creators and voice actor Sarah Chalke (Beth), who discussed what to expect in season three and why the series’ gestational period was so long.
Some of us were happy to imagine them stuck in Anatomy Park trying to avoid gonorrhoea, but if you want the real story, read on. Roiland and Harmon attributed it to the show’s skyrocketing popularity.
Dan Harmon: [The popularity] adds a little anxiety, but I think that’s a season three thing.
Justin Roiland: Yeah, yeah.
Harmon: When you create something you always make the assumption that it’s the most important thing in the world. It is to you, you treat it that way no matter how many people you’re told are watching it… But then you get that feedback of, ‘Yes!’ They agree, there’s people that agree with you, millions of them. And that does… I think that just fills you with a kind of mobius strip of self-examination where you go, ‘Do we need to worry about that? No, we need to worry about worrying about that.’ How do you not worry about worrying about worrying about worrying about… and it’s like a solar flare or something. It blinds you, I think it blinded us for season three, like worrying about worrying about worrying about worrying.
Ultimately you get through it, you end up writing the same show you would’ve written, it’s just that you kind of… freaked out a little bit. And, so, that’s my explanation for why it took longer, really. ‘Cause it was just taking extra [time] — you just had to think, decisions that would’ve taken five minutes a year earlier were now taking fifteen minutes. And all of those added up to taking three times longer. But I do think that fades now because then you learn that lesson. You look back and you go, ‘We drove the exact same distance on the whole, and it just took three times longer.’ So then you’re like, ‘Ok,’ so now you’ve figured out the trick of how to not worry about worrying about worrying about — you just don’t worry about it. [Laughter]
As for what we could expect from season three, story-wise, the answer across the board was that everything was going to get darker, and part of that is manifested in Beth’s separation from Jerry.
Sarah Chalke: That was so surprising, right? When I opened up that script, I loved that moment where Jerry gives her the ultimatum and it’s just like, total silence… And, so, yeah, this season obviously they’re divorced and separating and then, and that’s what I love so much about this show… you have all of these real family dynamics and challenges and some scenes are so grounded and painful and really dive deep into all of their relationships and then obviously juxtaposed with all the intergalactic adventures.
That separation does allow Beth’s other relationships grow, and that’s something Chalke promises we’ll see happening with every character.
Chalke: The cool thing about this season is they’ve really coupled up pairs that haven’t had a chance to hang out before. And so that’s been really neat… You just get more insight into [other relationships]. And so, the relationship between Beth and Summer — I mean, I have a daughter, she’s one, so I’m just using it as a template for how I’m gonna raise her. [Laughter] You know, just full of resentment, um, I’d like her to turn out like Summer — kinda mean, super into her phone.
I think underneath it all, she will defend to the end. She obviously has so many issues from [Jerry] having left after 20 years and even when he was around, he was never around. And so that’s probably just a complete bottomless pit, and I don’t think it will ever get filled. Ever. And so, she will do anything to have her dad stay, to keep him happy, you know…like at the end of 2.10, where Rick feels a bit responsible for the divorce, she says, ‘Oh my God no, this is not your burden!’ Like the fact that he would feel bad for a second is horrible because if he feels one iota of guilt, that maybe will be a reason to leave.
As for Rick’s “partner”-in-crime, Morty looks like he’s finally growing up (a little).
Harmon: I think that if you look at season three, I believe that Morty might be, let’s say, 5% less naive… He’s gonna spend a little less time trying to convince Rick to be a good person, and a little more of that energy is going into survival on Morty’s part. [Laughter] [He’s] accepting just that much more that Rick is gonna be Rick… so he’s not a broken record… But I think that’s just because — I think like, that’s the same as saying like, you know in Breaking Bad Walter White stops being about cancer and chemistry class. I think that as your show continues… the foundation settles. There may be things that, when you were designing the house, you’re saying, well, it needs to be earthquake proof, for instance. But then you find out it’s on solid bedrock and there won’t be an earthquake here for 5000 years, so there’s some of these bricks that are, that can just come out.
And that’s a metaphor for when we designed the show for building the family, we really made sure there was a reason you could suspend your disbelief about Rick taking Morty on all these adventures without Mom and Dad saying… ‘Don’t do that.’ But it’s all this time later… we know who Rick is now and… those earthquake bricks are not necessarily [needed]. …I think Morty is less like, ‘Aw, jeez, don’t you think we oughta do the right thing here?’ and a little bit replaced with, ‘I gotta watch my back… I gotta make sure this is one of those things where Rick is just having me walk through a minefield to test the mines.’ So he’s still asking questions, but they’re a little more on the skeptical side.
The third season premiere episode of Rick and Morty will air on Sunday, July 30 at 11:30 PM ET/PT on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. If you haven’t seen the premiere, yet, and can’t wait, a quick Google search will point you in the right direction.