According to Rick Sanchez, there are so many alternate realities out there, that nothing ever really matters to anyone. With such a proposition you can either spiral into existential dread or have a good time brainstorming about all the different and wacky dimensions.
Let's say, for example, that Rick and Morty was set in the reality of X-Men: The Animated Series. Sounds cool, right? Well, you don't have to imagine it because Titmouse animator/director Anthony F. Schepperd already went ahead and made it a reality.
"I took things that inspire me and made them into one ridiculous concoction," he told SYFY WIRE over email. "I tried to fit as many references as I had time for, including X-Men, Pickle Rick and the Mr. Meeseeks episode."
The 15-second tag (basically a small network ad that can play between commercial breaks) for Adult Swim is chock full of your daily dose of R&M: Rick's green-glowing portal gun, Morty's massive arm from "Rickmancing the Stone," a Beast-like take on Squanchy, a highly self-aware Snowball, and the giant music-loving Cromulons from the Cygnus 5 Expanse.
When asked what part of the multiverse his short takes place in, Schepperd offered:
"I don’t know. What reality are we in? Maybe this one. Unless… no… maybe, just maybe, we are the dreams of a brain tumor, impeding upon the mental capacity of a river snake. Slowly sucking its thoughts into our own. Becoming a reality from nothing."
Watch the tag below:
Despite some reports that the tag is a tease for Season 4, Adult Swim assures us that it's a standalone project that is unrelated to new episodes. Even with that being true, it's still a really nifty piece of animation that highlights the show's wild inventiveness.
"It was fun," Schepperd continued. "Since almost any scene (thing?) can be turned into a ‘90s action cartoon, it was tough to pick and choose Rick and Morty moments to reference. Getting it down to 30 seconds wasn't easy. Also, I had to make sure there were enough fanny pack armbands and superfluous headgear to really nail that X-Men look."
"I can still hear that beautiful synth riff shredding through the back of my mind," he added. "Still taste the sweet colorful sludge sliding past my tongue, and feel my dreary eye holes widen in pure anticipation. It was Saturday morning and motherf***ing X-Men was coming on. Literally, How to Draw X-Men was my first drawing book. No joke, that ‘90s cartoon is probably the reason I am an animator. It felt serious. As a kid, I always shied away from animation that was too childish. X-Men didn’t talk down to me."
While there is no definite air date for Season 4, co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon recently locked down a deal to produce 70 more episodes of the show for Adult Swim. With the last three seasons around 10 episodes a pop, we could be in store for seven more years of Rick and Morty. Many ancient cultures would have sacrificed an animal or even a town member (a la Shirley Jackson) for so many years of prosperity.
Rick and Morty is fantastic science fiction in a classic, text book sense," Schepperd said. "It's been discussed at length, but the Pickle Rick insanity is a solid example. Rick chooses to go through a physical transformation to avoid a psychological transformation. Boom. A perfect character-driven start to a sci-fi plot, and then you dress it up with insanity, witty conversation and more insanity. It could be an episode of the Twilight Zone or a Kafka short. Just reshoot it black and white with really bad puppet effects. So, yeah. Inspiring."