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Adult Swim passed on show with Rick Moranis as gatekeeper of Hell. Could it someday see the light?
The world misses Rick Moranis. The comedian and actor, whose work in the Ghostbusters and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchises endeared him to genre fans around the world (not to mention comedy fans already enamored with his SCTV sketches), has had his self-imposed absence from the entertainment industry so deeply mourned that even his appearance in a recent mobile wireless company ad was cause to rejoice. Now, a viral video and artwork about a Rick Moranis cartoon that never made it to the screen has caused a stir — and might have helped the chances of its demon-slaying story finally getting made.
A video posted by Rare Bird Games documents the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con pitch contest held by Adult Swim, where Colton and Austin Stock's friend Albert pitched their incredible idea for an animated show: A kid wins a contest to meet Rick Moranis. There's no expiration date. He legally gets to meet the secluded Moranis in Canada, where he discovers that the actor has been operating as "the gatekeeper between our world and hell itself," alongside such characters as his praying mantis butler, Morantis.
Just take a look:
The video has gotten tons of traction, as it was accompanied on Reddit and elsewhere by a large post containing spec artwork for the series by artists including Rick & Morty's Joshua Barish.
Rare Bird Games' Austin Stock tells SYFY WIRE what all went down — and what this newfound internet attention might mean for the show's future.
"I can tell you that we were the first ones to win a development deal through their show Development Meeting," Stock says. He notes that others who've seen similar success with their pitches to Adult Swim have also failed to see these developed ideas hit the screen, saying that, "since the show started 5-6 years ago they only produced one show, which is called Skeleton Landlord."
The original YouTube video stated in its description that the show was axed by Adult Swim "simply because they felt nobody would know who Rick Moranis was." Stock elaborates to SYFY WIRE that there were no hard feelings. "We are not upset at Adult Swim about this decision and they have reached out recently about another animation I've made," Stock says. "They just didn't seem to have any interest in Rick Moranis, and that's fair, if they don't see him on their network that's up to them."
After Adult Swim passed "around Fall of 2017, maybe November or December," Stock explains that the show "ended up getting picked up by another production company and then they couldn't get the ball rolling either."
But all that gorgeous, goofy, sci-fi artwork might not be going to waste after all: Stock says that the project's recent internet revival has attracted new studio interest.
"We are really hoping something can happen because the people just want to see more Rick, and we think this could be a nice send-off for him," he says. "We were thinking of making it into something like [Cartoon Network miniseries] Over the Garden Wall, and turn it into an event."
SYFY WIRE has reached out to Adult Swim for comment.
Moranis can next be seen (finally) reprising his role as Wayne Szalinski in the kid-shrinking sequel Shrunk.