As retail continues to reopen and consumers return to physical stores, âRick and Mortyâ will be waiting for them. The Adult Swim animated series, which returns for Season 5 on June 20, hasn’t just been a ratings juggernaut, it has morphed into a merchandising machine.
“Rick and Morty” now has more than 150 global licenses – spanning fashion, accessories, home, toys and games – which generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Aired in more than 110 countries and dubbed in 26 languages, the show was the # 1 basic cable comedy of 2019 and won two Emmy Awards for the animated program, in 2018 and 2020.
âIt’s surreal to see all the merch,â says co-creator Justin Roiland. âIt was the dream of my life. I was like I could start a franchise that made toys, I could hang up my hat and go out into the sunset, having fulfilled my ultimate fantasy. And it happened. “
Co-creator Dan Harmon credits Roiland with keeping a close eye from the start on the growth of the series’ merchandising footprint. âAt first, even when Adult Swim was saying, ‘We do these things at a certain pace,’ Justin brought a merchandising and franchising obsession to the table that we really benefited from, and it continued to be really practical. “
Harmon is also pleased with how Adult Swim handled the show’s explosive popularity, which particularly took off in 2017, when characters like Pickle Rick and a joke about McDonald’s discovery of obscure “Sichuan Sauce” took off. suddenly dominated pop culture. âThe way they promote things and think about the marketing of ‘Rick and Morty’, even in its success, is a little miraculous,â Harmon said.
This year’s Season 5 kicks off features what Adult Swim calls a âGlobal Rick and Morty Day,â starting with the first episode premiering around the world starting Sunday, June 20 at 11 p.m. ET. As part of a major deal with fast food chain Wendy’s, two new show-themed blends will be available in Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in locations across the country: “Portal Time Lemon Lime” and “BerryJerryboree “.
In Los Angeles, Morty’s, a pop-up weekend restaurant at the Wendy’s Panorama City location, will offer “a show-inspired menu, like Jerry’s Single, paired with an extraordinary experience.” The ‘Rick and Morty’ themed menu will include a limited edition ‘Pickle Rick Pickle Frosty’, available only at Morty’s.
Now the empire is too big for even Roiland to stay on top, and he admits he would like to be more involved than he is right now. Next, he’s thrilled to unveil a real working butter robot, with sophisticated artificial intelligence, just like Rick’s butter-dispensing creation in the series. âWhen it comes out, oh boy, it’s gonna be one of the coolest things we’ve ever done,â he says.
As for the specifics of Season 5, Harmon and Roiland are mostly mom, but Roiland promises that âthis season we have a lot of really fun classic evergreen Rick and Morty adventures. But like we do every season, there’s going to be some bigger serialized stuff we’re going to hit. Which I know the fans are going to be very excited aboutâ¦ I’m really excited for this to come out. I think it’s one of the best seasons we’ve had in a long time. I know, it’s a weird thing to say when you only have five seasons!
Season 4 of âRick & Mortyâ ended with an open-ended question that Beth was a clone on: Space Beth or House Beth. It doesn’t seem like that question is asked immediately – but with “Rick & Morty” in production over several seasons at once (part of the massive 70-episode order Adult Swim made in 2018), it’s is difficult even for growers to keep track of what is happening in which season.
“I believe Season 5 doesn’t see a lot of concept of Beth compared to Domestic Beth, but I’m also kind of stumbled when we write Season 7, edit Season 6, and mix the sound on Season 5.” Harmon said. âIn Season 5, there’s a little hiatus from that, which may or may not be intentional. And then if that’s true, Season 6 sees a pickup season in that. But, as far as the canonical macro stuff goes, there is a big task to do in Season 5. I won’t say if it’s in the middle, at the beginning or at the end of the season. But we went there.
Harmon adds, âI mean there’s a lot of crazy stuff, but I don’t know, I can’t even tell myself if it’s crazy in a different way from previous seasons, more or less crazy. There are gems along the way, and some people will hate them and others will love them.