RICK AND MORTY used its signature blend of crude humour and situations bound to induce existential dread to grow from a cult hit to a worldwide phenomenon. But even one of the world’s most-watched animated shows isn’t immune to off-screen troubles. After the actor who voiced both of the shows titular characters was dismissed following allegations of sexual misconduct, Rick and Morty was forced to find two new voices to lead the series into the future. Those voices have finally arrived.
Rick and Morty’s creators said they wanted the casting change to sound seamless, ultimately guiding the show into its future as if there was never any disruptions. Showrunner Scott Marder helmed the search for new actors, and he’s described the process. “The goal was always to try to preserve the viewing experience and give them the same show they’ve had every other season,” he said.
Fans have been speculating for months about exactly who would take the reins as the next Rick and Morty’s, but the identities of the new voice actors were kept strictly confidential until the premiere. With season seven of Rick and Morty debuting earlier this week, the news is out, and we now know who the voices belong to, so here they are.
Who are Rick and Morty’s new voice actors?
Following the season seven premiere of Rick and Morty, we know the shows’ new leading voice actors are Harry Belden as Morty, and Ian Cardoni as Rick.
Despite proving his voice acting chops in the series’ latest episode, Belden has had relatively little experience in voice work. Instead, he’s most commonly appeared on-screen in Joe Pera Talks With You, Chicago Med and Christmas… Again?!
Meanwhile, Ian Cardoni has made a living from his voice, previously providing the voice-overs for WWE promos and Apple TV advertisements. He also made brief appearances in Grown Ups and Clear History.
The actors’ revitalised portrayals of their iconic characters are solid. Both chose to imitate the original voices of the characters, rather than offer their own original take—which is fine, as the voices are just about perfect soundalikes. Seriously, if you didn’t know the voice actors were different before watching the first episode of season seven, you might not even notice. Have a listen.
Why did Rick and Morty replace the old voice actor?
You probably couldn’t tell from watching the show, given the characters wildly different voices, but both Rick and Morty were originally voiced by the same actor, Justin Roiland, who also co-created the show. Unless you keep up with animation news, you might not have heard of Roiland, but he’s basically an A-lister in voice acting. Over the years, Roiland has voiced characters in Robot Chicken, Gravity Falls, The Simpsons, Adventure Time, Invincible and Solar Opposites. That all came to an end when a flood of sexual misconduct allegations against Roiland came to light earlier this year.
At the start of 2023, it was reported that Roiland had been charged in 2020 with domestic battery and false imprisonment. The charges were eventually dismissed, with insufficient evidence cited as the primary reason, but the after news of the charges emerged, several people quickly came forward claiming that they had faced sexual harassment and abuse from Roiland.
Roiland was subsequently dropped from Rick and Morty, the show he co-created. All the other projects Roiland had been working on also parted ways with him, meaning that Rick and Morty isn’t the only major animated show that’s had to recast.
Can voice actors ever be successfully replaced?
Recasting a voice actor is a tricky subject, and it’s rarely been done successfully. On the one hand, good imitations can make it difficult to even notice a voicing change and shows can carry on undisrupted. But on the other hand, animated shows rely so heavily on their iconic voices, that even a minor change can derail perceptions of a once beloved series.
The Simpsons, with more than 30 years on the air, has had to deal with its fair share of casting changes. In 1999, the show killed off Maude Flanders (wife of Ned), after voice actress Maggie Roswell demanded a pay rise, and the studio refused to budge. Rather than simply recast the role, The Simpsons had Homer be responsible for Maude’s death by firing a t-shirt cannon into her, sending her hurtling backwards off a grandstand.
In 2013, The Simpsons faced another casting problem following the death of Marcia Wallace, who voiced elementary school teacher Edna Krabappel. In a tribute to the voice actress, showrunners decided that the character should also depart the show, and she was killed off shortly after.
The point is, The Simpsons has weathered this storm before, and after 34 seasons, it’s still going strong. Replacing a voice actor can be disastrous, but it doesn’t necessarily spell the end of a show. The Simpsons carried on uninterrupted, and Rick and Morty could very well do the same.