Two Rick and Morty writers confirmed this week that the show will definitely return to Adult Swim before 2016 is over. That means we’ll find out how Rick is going to get himself out of space jail in a matter of weeks. One theory, adored by hundreds of fans suggests that, through multiverse theory, the show switched from following one universe’s Rick and Morty to watching a different universe’s Rick and Morty halfway through Season 2.
Two of Inverse’s Rick and Morty fanatics, one being well-versed in Adult Swim animation (comics editor Emily Gaudette), and the other a multiverse theory expert (space writer Neel Patel), are ready to unpack what the “ticket theory” means.
EMILY: Okay, so here’s the deal: A lot of fans, myself included, want to see Krombopulos Michael, the Gromflomite assassin, break Rick out of jail in Season 3. Aside from being my favorite character on the show, Michael looks a lot like the Gromflomites who run the space prison Rick’s being held in, and he’s the only guy on the show skilled enough to infiltrate the building. Problem is, we all saw him die.
This video, from “Dillionmcrich”, suggests that a subplot involving multiple realities has been in the works from the beginning of the show. The theory is this: We began watching Rick and Morty with a particular universe (c-137), and we switched universes quickly during the Mortynight Run scene in which Rick and Morty pick up their Jerry from Jerryboree. When Mr. Poopybutthole appears in Total Rickall, he’s embedded into the opening credits because, in this new universe, he’s always been there.
Neel, after learning about “ticket theory,” how plausible do you think this concept is? Can you limit an unlimited number of realities?
NEEL: I’m a pretty ardent skeptic when it comes to any kind of fan theories that attempt to weave science into sci-fi shows, but I’ll readily admit “ticket theory” is pretty sound. Much of the credit has to do with Rick and Morty itself.
Here’s the thing: Yes, multiverse theory effectively posits that an infinite number of parallel universes can and do exist, but that doesn’t mean we have a gajillion worlds like ours, and that there are a gajillion versions of each of us, and each experience a life (or death) of near infinite possibilities. I’ve outlined before why that’s a ridiculous notion, but at its core it’s because the laws of physics don’t stop. An infinite number of universes doesn’t mean anything is possible — unless those universes possessed natural laws that were tweaked or transformed to some extent.
Were that the case, we wouldn’t exactly get versions of ourselves that resembled anything like ourselves.
The narrator of the “ticket theory” video alludes to something like that — we should expect more Ricks and Mortys to be running around wreaking havoc, but we don’t get that, because the probability of getting those genetically identical counterparts in other universes is — and I can’t emphasize this enough — extremely low. In the grand scheme of things, the chances that any of us were ever born is lower than anyone could possibly calculate. A single particle may have had to veer one of a dozen ways — and then do that tens of trillions of times — in order for history to lead to this very exact moment. Compound the fact that billions of other particles had to do the same thing, and the odds are even lower.
An infinite number of realities raises the chances at least a handful of universes could facilitate this. And the “central finite curve” — which the “ticket theory” narrator says is likely the collection of universes with genetically identical/similar Ricks — is a good way to limit this idea down to something that’s digestible for a cartoon show.
So it’s possible, if you accept a reductionist view of multiverse theory. “Ticket theory” makes sense. Add in the show’s penchant to drop hidden nuggets here and there, and there’s no reason to think this Krombopulos Michael won’t show up to break Rick out of jail.
Of course, throw in the show’s other penchant to fuck with the audience, and there’s also a strong chance the writers just don’t give a shit to explain the return of Krombopulis Michael.
Personally, I’m rooting for this theory because I will never get tired of saying “Poopybutthole universe” and hope to have an infinite number of opportunities to say it again and again.
EMILY: Wow, that’s all fascinating. I think the extremely low probability that a Rick Sanchez would exist in any given universe makes it (sort of) likely that the Coalition of Ricks might exist too. If someone like Rick, who’s able to access and pass through other universes in multiple ways, was able to track down other Ricks, that group of Ricks would probably benefit from sticking together, because there’d be a finite number of them. Rick and Morty does mention that too, as the “ticket theory” video points out — the Coalition comprises some of the Ricks in the multiverse, but not all, and, of course, not every universe has a Rick.
Also, the Coalition of Ricks isn’t likely to do anything and step into the universe of Poopybutthole Rick to save him, because we’ve seen Ricks react numbly to their multiverse copies dying — being in prison probably isn’t such a terrible thing, in their eyes.
From a storytelling angle, I think it’ll be an awesome twist if Rick and Morty reveals that we switched our Rick and Morty halfway through a previous season, but I’m not sure fans will be able to keep up with the multiverse theory. I trust Roiland and Harmon to communicate everything you just explained in a funny way, but I’m hoping the show doesn’t fold in on itself too neatly. We dont want an ouroborus on our hands, because the show does so well maintaining its amorphous narrative shape.
We’ve got this “ticket theory” issue to make sense of in Season 3, and the show still hasn’t returned to the Old True Morty, who was remotely controlling that fake Rick with all the tortured Mortys strapped to his lair. I bet that will pop up in Season 3, too.
Season 3 of Rick and Morty will premiere on Adult Swim before 2017.