Last week Adult Swim released a short live action clip of Christopher Lloyd playing Rick from Rick and Morty, just a couple of days before its fifth season finale. Given the show’s frequent reality-bending and its multiverse full of Rick and Morty variants, it stood to reason that the clip was a preview of the finale—a glimpse at Rick and Morty entering into a dimension that wasn’t animated. Adult Swim proceeded to release two more live action clips starring Lloyd before the finale aired, both about as short as the first one, referencing specific episodes and moments from the show, including—yes—a pickle. When the finale aired on Sunday night, though, It became clear that the clips didn’t have anything to do with its story. They were simply made as promos for the show, built around the surefire virality of Rick Sanchez being brought to life by the beloved actor whose most famous role inspired the character to begin with.
Interested in how these shorts came together, Paste had an email exchange with Paul B. Cummings, their director. He had high praise for Lloyd, who came prepared, and also hints at more shorts with Lloyd that could eventually see the light of day.
Paste: Who had the idea for the live action promos?
Paul B. Cummings: This was something the Adult Swim on air and marketing team came up with as promotional content for the series. They passed it by the creators—who were all in on the idea.
Paste: If Christopher Lloyd hadn’t been available, would the promos still have been made with a different actor?
PC: Possibly, but he was the top choice for this project and luckily Adult Swim was able to lock him in.
Paste: How aware of Rick and Morty was Christopher Lloyd? Did he seem familiar with the show and the character of Rick?
PC: Christopher had definitely seen some of the show. We sent him some clips and I pulled some selected scenes that we watched together. Some of the clips I felt were indicative of Rick as a character and others were of the episodes that we directly reference in two of the videos—“Pickle Rick” and the “100 Years” segments. Christopher told me he felt like Doc Brown and Rick Sanchez were like two brothers who took very different paths in life, so it was apparent to me that he was thinking really thoughtfully about the character and the show.
Paste: So far there have been three of these live action clips, totalling about 35 seconds. Has anything else been filmed?
PC: We shot a full day of short scenes and the three Adult Swim selected to air around the finale were the best of the bunch. So yes, fans may see more of these in the future.
Paste: The promos reference a few specific episodes and moments from the show’s history. Who decided on those references?
PC: They were selected by group consensus, because they are just so iconic in the series. Although the videos are short, the second you see the pickle or see Rick yelling “100 years” you know exactly what we’re referencing
Paste: Any plans for live action Rick and Morty to appear in the show itself?
PC: The show creators would have to answer that.