The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

The Live-Action Rick and Morty Director Told Christopher Lloyd to Get 'Unhinged'

Live-action Rick and Morty shorts brought some real Back to the Future vibes to the small screen, and io9 spoke with the director behind them: Paul B. Cummings.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Live-action Morty realizing that live-action Rick isn’t a pickle.
Live-action Morty realizing that live-action Rick isn’t a pickle.
Screenshot: Adult Swim

Ahead of Rick and Morty’s season five finale this past weekend, Adult Swim suddenly began dropping a series of live-action shorts starring Christopher Lloyd and Jaeden Martell as the unhealthy grandfather/grandson duo. io9 was curious to learn more, so we spoke with director Paul B. Cummings.

What was interesting about the shorts—which all run for under 15 seconds—was the tiny bit of multiversal context they were accompanied by in the form of Rick and Morty’s reality designation codes. Though each of the clips was released with a different code referring to various universes within the larger Rick and Morty franchise, there was little explanation as to what was going on, or why Rick and Morty were suddenly being depicted by live actors. While Lloyd’s casting made for a solid nod to Rick and Morty’s ties to the Back to the Future trilogy, it also raised the question as to whether there might be more meatspace Rick and Morty going forward.


When io9 recently spoke with the shorts’ director Paul B. Cummings via email, he sadly couldn’t comment on if or how they might be situated within the actual canon of the show. He pointed out, though, that the bulk of what Lloyd’s Morty is going on about in each of the clips are notable moments from the animated show’s past. “Everything was pretty scripted out with not much riffing, but when we shot the ‘100 years’ bit I told Chris to just run with it and repeat the lines over and over and try to get a little unhinged,” Cummings said. “We watched that clip from the show a few times right before shooting it.”


Cummings also described how, during the shorts’ production, Lloyd opened up to him about “how he felt that Doc Brown and Rick Sanchez were like brothers that took two very different paths in life,” which is the sort of idea that Rick and Morty itself has spent a significant amount of time digging into in its more recent series. Given the way that the season five finale ends up, the arc of Rick and Morty’s narrative future is up in the air, though the show’s next chapters have already been ordered by the network.

Rick and Morty’s current season is now available to stream on Adult Swim’s website, and the sixth will release sometime in the future. We’ll be sure to let you know exactly when that will be when we find out for ourselves.

Wondering where our RSS feed went? You can pick the new up one here.