The Big Picture

  • Season 7 of Rick and Morty premiered without Justin Roiland, who was dismissed amidst sexual assault allegations in early 2023.
  • Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden were chosen through an exhaustive six-month search to replace Roiland as the voices of Rick and Morty.
  • The showrunners aimed to ensure a seamless transition by casting two distinct actors and enhancing the show's prospects for a prosperous future.

Last night returned with the adventures of our beloved albeit cynical genius scientist Rick and his timid grandson Morty as Rick and Morty kicked off its seventh season. This premiere marked a significant shift, as it was the first episode without the involvement of co-creator and star Justin Roiland. Roiland's association with the show came to an end in early 2023 when he was dismissed by Adult Swim amidst allegations of sexual assault. Although the charges were subsequently dropped due to insufficient evidence, additional allegations since surfaced in September.

The Season 7 trailer introduced the voices of Roiland's replacements, yet the identities of the new cast members remained a secret until the credits of last night's premiere, which unveiled newcomers Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden as the new voices behind the characters. Cardoni lends his voice to the character Rick Sanchez, while Belden takes on the role of his grandson, Morty Smith. The arduous task of finding Roiland's replacement fell to the showrunner, Scott Marder, and co-creator Dan Harmon. After an exhaustive six-month search that involved evaluating thousands of candidates, Cardoni and Belden were chosen through an open casting call. Marder and Harmon's primary aim was to ensure a seamless transition, where the change would go unnoticed by the audience. Opting to cast two distinct actors, in contrast to Roiland's portrayal of both roles, aimed to ease the workload on a single individual and enhance the show's prospects for a long and prosperous future.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on the difficulty of finding Roiland's replacement, Marder shared: "Rick was a lot harder than I expected; everyone sounded like Macho Man Randy Savage or like a cousin of his. No one sounded exactly like Rick. It was tricky. People had it in splashes but once you bring them back in, they couldn’t do it conversationally, which is what we needed. It was exhaustive." He further revealed; "Ian was early on and Harry came after we exhausted every resource. We had multiple waves of narrowing people down."

Who Are Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden?

Image via Adult Swim

Cardoni and Belden are fairly newcomers to the industry. Both voice actors have a few voice acting credits between them. Cardoni, a native of the Boston area and an alumnus of Emerson College, has made appearances in Larry David's Clear History and lent his voice to promotional material for various projects, including Syfy's Resident Alien, WWE, and Apple TV+. On the other hand, Belden, born and raised in Chicago and an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, honed his skills at the Second City Training Center. His past credits include shows such as Adult Swim's Joe Pera Talks With You, Fox's Proven Innocent, and NBC's Chicago Med.

Rick and Morty Season 7, premiered on Adult Swim on Oct. 15 and the season will include 10 new episodes.