Why did Justin Roiland leave Rick and Morty?

Rick and Morty producer and Cartoon Network president react to Justin Roiland’s exit

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty will never be the same again. The highly anticipated season 7 of the beloved Adult Swim series will be its first season without the involvement of Justin Roiland. Aside from co-creating the animated sci-fi sitcom with Dan Harmon and serving as an executive producer on the show from seasons 1 to 6, Roiland also provided the voice for both the titular characters of the series. So, his absence will definitely be felt by fans once the new season drops. But why is Roiland no longer a part of the program?

What happened to Justin Roiland?

Rick and Morty lying on the ground on their bellies

Justin Roiland was fired by Adult Swim in January 2023 after it became public that month that he was charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit in Orange County, California. This was in connection with an alleged incident back in January 2020 toward an unnamed woman he was reportedly dating at the time.

Shortly after the public revelation of the indictment, Roiland’s name was further tarnished when his questionable behavior toward minors on social media made headlines.

For instance, one Twitter user shared their own alleged conversation with Roiland. The messages appear to have included the following question from Roiland: “Are you going to get Morty tattoo’d on your boob licking your nipple? If not you, then who?”

Another Twitter user claimed that Roiland used a friend named “Christy” to reach her. The Twitter user believes that Christy “works/worked as a predatory scout for him” and that she looks for “young girls who looked a certain way” so they could have “threesomes for herself and Justin.”

There’s also a Twitter user also boldly claimed that Roiland is using his position in the animation industry to sexually exploit people including minors.

While Roiland has not directly addressed these accusations, it’s safe to say that these claims contributed to Adult Swim’s decision to sever its ties with him.

Was Justin Roiland found guilty?

No, Justin Roiland was not found guilty. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were dropped in March 2023, due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

Shortly after the charges against him were dropped, Roiland took to Twitter to release a statement entitled Justice.

“I have always known that these claims were false – and I never had any doubt that this day would come,” he wrote. “I’m thankful that this case has been dismissed but, at the same time, I’m still deeply shaken by the horrible lies that were reported about me during this process.

Roiland continued, “Most of all, I’m disappointed that so many people were so quick to judge without knowing the facts, based solely on the word of an embittered ex trying to bypass due process and have me ‘canceled’. That it may have succeeded, even partially, is shameful. However, now that the legal case has ended. I’m determined to move forward and focus both on my creative projects and restoring my good name.”

Is Justin Roiland back on Rick and Morty?

Although the charges against Justin Roiland were dropped, his firing from Rick and Morty was not reversed.

During an interview with Premiere at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival earlier this week, Rick and Morty co-executive producer Steve Levy and Cartoon Network, Adult Swim president Michael Ouweleen confirmed that Roiland remains uninvolved with Rick and Morty even after the charges against him were dropped.

“The pill was hard to swallow,” Levy said about Roiland’s exit from the show (as translated from French, and spotted by @Swimpedia on Twitter). “We were shocked and disturbed by what happened. But we stuck together and we put all our energy into the series. We decided to stay positive, and in the end, we produced the best drawings, scripts, and animations of the entire series.”

Levy added that Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon has been working on “everything” on the series since Roiland was let go. “Dan Harmon has always been in the trenches with us, every step of the way,” Levy said of how Harmon stepped up his game following Roiland’s exit. “He always has an eye on everything, and sometimes that means he asks us to rewrite entire scripts, but for the good of the series. He never walked away after Justin left.”

Despite the tough situation, Ouweleen believes that season 7 of the show will be a pivotal one. “There’s no guide on how to react to this stuff. And it’s not normal to experience that,” said Ouweleen. “Of course, it’s hard, of course, it hurts. But when a whole team works on a series, the series actually becomes more important than one person. Season 7 will be pivotal, we know it, but I think we’ve never done better so far.”

Who will voice Rick and Morty in season 7?

Rick and Morty in an official Rick and Morty poster

After firing Justin Roiland from the show, Adult Swim announced that it would be recasting the show’s titular roles. The new actor or actors who will provide the voices of Rick and Morty in the new season have yet to be announced.

Rick and Morty season 7 release date

Rick and Morty season 7 doesn’t have an exact release date yet. But it is currently slated for a potential release in the fall of 2023.

Where to watch Rick and Morty

The first six seasons of Rick and Morty are currently streaming on Hulu, Max, and DirecTV.

Rick and Morty Season 6 Trailer
Sources: Premiere, Deadline, ScreenGeek
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