Thanks to a series of events involving a portal gun, an anthropomorphic pickle, and an immortality resort, we were able to get our hands on an advance copy of Rick and Morty's third season on DVD/Blu-ray from Adult Swim, which officially hits shelves on May 15. So of course, we tore through the commentary tracks on all 10 episodes, mining them for behind-the-scenes intel we all probably didn't know about.
Of course, there was a wealth of them, with fun nuggets of information ranging from why Nathan Fillion had to chug a bunch of beers to record his lines, to the wacko origins of that "Vindicators" episode. Buckle up because this ride's gonna be bumpier than the part of the Whirly Dirly coaster where the immortality field doesn't reach. And once you're done puking from the ride, get ready to strap in for 70 more episodes of Rick and Morty, which were just ordered by Adult Swim.
Here are the most interesting things we learned from the Season 3 commentary:
Nathan Fillion had to drink a bunch of beers for his impression of Rick
In "The Rickshank Redemption," Fillion (Firefly, A Series of Unfortunate Events) plays an insectoid agent of the Galactic Federation attempting to find out the formula for inter-dimensional travel from Rick Sanchez (Justin Roiland). Rick, being the smartest being in the universe, outsmarts the Federation and is able to travel his consciousness into the agent's body. To best emulate Rick's drunken burping and drooling, Fillion had to down a few beers in the recording booth.
John Mayer's favorite part of the show
The famous singer showed up for one of the commentary tracks and said that he loves the fact that the series doesn't rely on the sci-fi trope of certain members of the family being unaware of all the crazy hijinks going on. My Favorite Martian and Mork and Mindy were used as examples, but with Rick and Morty, everyone is one the same page, which pretty much eliminates the unnecessary stress of whether or not someone will "find out" about the aliens, monsters, and inter-dimensional portals.
The "Vindicators" episode began as an idea about Rick having sex with a superhero
The fourth episode of the season has Rick and Morty joining forces with a group of heroes known as the Vindicators: Vance Maximus (Christian Slater), Alan Rails (Lance Reddick), Supernova (Gillian Jacobs), Million Ants (Tom Kenny), Crocubot (Maurice LaMarche), and Noob Noob (Roiland). What began as an episode in which Rick has sex with a superhero, resulted in an episode where Rick sows discord and death among the Vindicators, Zemo-style. There was also a going to be a B-story about a love triangle between Morty, a sidekick by the name of Quiver, and a J.A.R.V.I.S.-esque AI in the mechanical suit from "Look Who's Purging Now."
Rick's transformation into a pickle is more symbolic than you might think
"Pickle Rick" is perhaps the most famous episode of Season 3 and despite its wacky plot, the concept was meant to be significant from the very beginning. According to co-creator Dan Harmon (Community), the idea of being "pickled" is meant to be seen as a metaphor for alcoholism/self-abuse, and to drive that point home, he removed any verbal references to drinking within the episode, so that the talking pickle could speak for itself.
The "Terry Folds" song arrived pretty late in the production
That strange song you hear after Rick and Morty head home from the alien spa was improvised by Justin Roiland a week before "Rest of Ricklaxation" aired. He knew he wanted some strange intergalactic tune playing on the radio and just made up a bunch of lyrics about grabbing folds and flaps. What started out as a throwaway gag rose to No. 33 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart last September.
There was supposed to be a third "Interdimensional Cable" episode
Season 3 of Rick and Morty was going to have 14 episodes, but problems arose, forcing Harmon, Roiland, and the writing staff to end the season after 10 episodes. One of the scrapped episodes was a third "Interdimensional Cable," a running format over the previous two seasons, in which the characters watch strange shows from other dimensions. When this became impossible, "Morty's Mind Blowers" took its place, but wasn't meant to be a substitute from the start.
The Citadel of Ricks episode was inspired by Spike Lee
"The Ricklantis Mixup" breaks from the show's usual formula by spending a day on the Citadel of Ricks, a city out in space run entirely by Ricks from other dimensions and their Mortys. Switching between different narratives, we follow a Rick factory worker, a Morty police officer, and a Morty running for office. When it came to the writing of this episode, Harmon said that they really wanted to spotlight the location as the main character in the way that Spike Lee did in Summer of Sam and Do The Right Thing. The Citadel is going through some pretty big changes over the course of a day and they wanted to make it feel alive. Harmon also compares the episode to Black Mirror.
And by the way, if you were wondering where all the Citadel's trash goes to, it was going to be revealed that it's teleported to a universe that once complained to Rick about not leaving a tip.
There won't be a Poopybutthole Christmas special
During the post-credits sequence of "The Rickchurian Mortydate," we reconnect with an old friend, Mr. PoopyButthole (also voiced by Roiland), who now has a wife and kid. He's really thriving since Beth shot him in the Season 2 episode of "Total Rickall," not only starting a family, but going back to school to get his GED.
He gives a farewell to the audience, saying that he'll see them in Season 4 "in like a really long time. I might even have a big, long Santa Claus beard." The "beard" comment prompted some fans to theorize that there might be a special episode on Christmas with Poopybutthole, but sorry, folks, this just isn't the case. Based on the commentary, the fact that "The Rickshank Redemption" was released early on April Fool's Day of 2017 really spoiled people, who are now expecting similar treats.