At the start of Season 6, that seemed possible Rick and Morty‘s main Rick (from universe C-137) would pull another fast towards the audience. Though things looked bleak at the end of season five when Evil Morty blew up the multiverse as we knew it, leaving the title Rick and Morty in limbo as they attempted to escape a destructive Council of Ricks it’s not the first time Rick has managed to pull through. At the beginning of Season 3, he destroyed the entire Galactic Federation system from within their prison.
But the glimpse into Rick C-137’s backstory was much darker than we’ve seen before. C-137 Rick watched his wife get killed by another Rick, and — after spending some time chasing him, killing various Ricks, and generally getting mixed up — he finally ended up in a timeline where a rick left his adult daughter who had woken up and settled in.
It’s understandable if you have some disbelief that this is so the backstory on Rick and Morty‘s Rick, or if he had another trick up his sleeve in the season 6 opener. But co-creator Dan Harmon is here to remind us to fucking hang out.
“There’s so much more to the story,” Harmon tells Polygon. “But I’m very comfortable saying I don’t like being shy, and in cases where we’re ambiguous, we always say we’re ambiguous.”
For comparison, he cites Season 3’s “The Rickshank Rickdemption” and what he calls “Shoney’s Revelation,” when Rick seemed trapped in a tragic memory, to bait the Galactic Federation, who were poking around in his brain. At the time, Harmon says, it was shown as a potential fake, but one that Harmon himself liked as an actual backstory.
“I was happy [making it appear fake] because I felt like that was Rick’s backstory myself and I liked it. But I didn’t want to force it on the show at this early stage,” says Harmon. “So, having established at the top of Season 6, which of these is correct? I would never say to an audience Or maybe not!
That’s not to say there isn’t room to grow, however, or that the show plans to shy away from expanding on this backstory. But Justin Roiland — who co-created the show with Harmon and voiced Rick, Morty and a few other people on it — says the change is something that will hopefully affect audiences more than the characters themselves With a more confident Morty beginning, a Rick brought off the shelf with no portal fluid, and a new primary universe for the whole family, Rick’s actions resonate differently.
“For example, how is that going to change how audiences feel about him now that they know the horrible shit that happened to him is real?” says Rolland. “Does it make him more likeable? Well, maybe not. Because he’ll still be the same guy – still a fucking asshole.
“He learned all that shit [where] He put up these walls because he lost something very important. And then he learned that it didn’t matter. […] But it’s still damn dark to wear that. So it’s going to be more interesting to see the reaction from the fans than the character.”
With Rick and Morty Coming to Fast and Furious for the foreseeable future (10 episodes a year), Harmon and Roiland say they have more breathing room to focus on finding the perfect balance between canon storytelling and the zany, one-off adventures for which the series is known. Rick’s backstory will be a part of it, but they don’t plan on tearing the rug out from under us anytime soon.
“There’s certainly a lot more to the story that we just have visually saw it all unfold,” concludes Harmon. “[But it] is basically confirmation of the Shoney fake, you know?