Justin Roiland MIA in Rick and Morty Writers' Room "Absolutely True"

A writer who worked on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty Season 4 confirmed that Justin Roiland stopped showing up to the writers' room.

By the end of January, Adult Swim, Squanch Games, Disney & 20th TV Animation had effectively cut ties with Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, Koala Man), the result of Roiland being charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury & one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit (full details here). Since that time, things have been pretty quiet as legal matters & other issues (like NDAs, for example) play out. But on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter went live with an online feature article looking into Roiland's past and the current controversy that he's created from a number of angles, speaking with a number of individuals as well as several unnamed sources reportedly close to the situation. One topic that grabbed headlines (more takeaways below) from THR's reporting was how increasingly little active creative involvement Roiland's had on the show since the third season, with many surprised that the series co-creator & voice actor could be so distant from what he helped create. Thankfully, a number of folks from across the entertainment industry took to social media to share their stories and reaffirm the idea that many shows function just fine without the creator or creators having a hand in it.

rick and morty
Image: IMDB Screencap

One of those adding their experience to the conversation is writer Caitie Delaney (68 Whiskey, Teenage Euthanasia), who retweeted THR's reporting and added, "People are having a difficult time accepting this, but for what it's worth, it's absolutely true, and I don't think people realize how easy it is to just not be around when you have a whole crew of people keeping the ship running" As we previously mentioned, Delaney is speaking from a much more informed perspective, having served as a staff writer on Rick and Morty for its fourth season. Here's a look at Delaney's tweet from Tuesday affirming what THR reported regarding Roiland's diminished involvement with the animated series, followed by a look back at some takeaways from the report:

Looking Back at THR's Justin Roiland Report

Here's a look at just a few of the big takeaways from THR's feature article that went live on Tuesday that we reported on:

Roiland Began Distancing Himself from "Rick and Morty" with Season 3: As the Adult Swim series brought Community writers and female writers on board between its first and third seasons, sources say that Roiland began distancing himself more and more in the writers' room and, eventually, "stopped showing up." Apparently, writers would only know that Roiland was at the Burbank offices by the sound of his dogs or his remote-control toy car. One source added, "You wouldn't have seen him in weeks, and then you'd see the car come in, which was insane." Sources also shared with THR that Roiland would occasionally bring famous names through the office, including Kanye West (who Roiland and series co-creator Dan Harmon had discussed working with in the past on an episode), members of truTV's Impractical Jokers, and porn star Riley Reid. Since the third season, sources say that Roiland's current involvement in the Emmy Award-winning animated series is now at voicing characters from his home with very little recording/production direction from the main office.

Roiland & Harmon's Relationship Soured Over Time: With sources claiming that the change in the writers' room over the course of the first three seasons contributed to Roiland distancing himself, the report claims that Roiland & Harmon's relationship "had grown so acrimonious" that a mediator was brought in to smooth things over ahead of the duo eventually signing that headline-grabbing 70-episode renewal deal.

"Rick and Morty" Staffers Demand Statement on Roiland: According to sources in the THR report, an "emotional" production meeting was held on January 17th to address the matter, after which time several staff members ("with the blessing of a broad swath of personnel") penned a letter to both Adult Swim and Warner Bros. Discovery that demanded a statement be released clarifying Roiland's position on the show for the sake of everyone else involved with the production. Reports are that there were discussions among the staffers to potentially leak the letter, but the decision was made to first see how things played out. A week later, Adult Swim would announce that it had severed ties with Roiland as more companies followed suit.

As noted by THR, Roiland, Harmon, Adult Swim, and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment for the report.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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