‘Rick and Morty’ producers explain “exhaustive” search for new lead voices

L-R: Cardoni, Belden — Courtesy Adult Swim

On Sunday night’s season 7 premiere of Rick and Morty, viewers noticed a pair of new names in the credits: Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden.

Cardoni is the new voice of Rick Sanchez, while Belden portrays Morty Smith; both men replaced show co-creator Justin Roiland, who was let go from the Adult Swim show after domestic assault and various other allegations were leveled against him.

Charges against Roiland were eventually dropped, but this season’s showrunner, Scott Marder, and show co-creator Dan Harmon took part in an “exhaustive” search to find his replacement.

Marder explained they were specifically looking for two actors to play both parts, both with an eye on the show’s longevity and the “sheer quality of life” on Justin’s replacement. “We watched it over the years wear down on Roiland’s voice …,” he commented.

Mader explained the show’s producers heard thousands of hopefuls over six months.

“Rick was a lot harder than I expected,” Mader explained, adding, “everyone sounded like Macho Man Randy Savage or like a cousin of his. No one sounded exactly like Rick…People had it in splashes but once you bring them back in, they couldn’t do it conversationally, which is what we needed.”

Harmon likened it to people imitating Dana Carvey‘s imitation of George W. Bush. “[T]his character has to be angry, sad, despondent and all those things,” he says, which proved difficult for people who do a mean Rick to pull off.

Marder explains of the new cast members, “They feel like they just won the lottery. They just brought this show 30 more years. We just got these eager, young guys who are so excited to attack every episode.”

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