The latest Rick and Morty episode — “The Ricklantis Mixup” — renewed enthusiasm for one of the show’s most popular fan theories after a seemingly forgotten villain returned: Could Evil Morty be Rick’s original Morty?
An eight-month-old theory from the Rick and Morty Reddit resurfaced shortly after “The Ricklantis Mixup” aired. The Morty who wins a democratic election on the Citadel to then become a sinister dictator was confirmed to be the same Evil Morty from Season 1. Now, more than ever, fans are convinced that this Morty is actually Rick’s original Morty, and the evidence is stacking up.
The core of the theory is simple: The very premise of Rick and Morty claims that Rick’s been gone for 20 years. So if Morty is 14 years old, then how could Rick have memories of Morty as a child (“Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind”). And how could Birdperson have a photograph of Rick with an even younger Morty (“Get Schwifty”)?
Most assume that the Baby Morty Rick interacted with isn’t the show’s main Morty. It could be one that died or that Rick abandoned — after all, Rick and Morty already left one Cronenberged reality in the dust.
But this theory posits that Baby Morty could be a Morty that Rick helped raise, one who grew up to be just as brilliant as his grandfather. They just wouldn’t have seen eye-to-eye:
“However, there’s not enough space for two genius minds in one garage. … they argued a lot and Rick started making big deals out of all sorts of small problems or mistakes Morty made, always yelling at him. He was afraid Morty might never stop messing with his important stuff and thought intimidating him would solve the problem. But one day Rick had enough as Morty almost shot him dead in a conflict as to justify his standing points. For the old man, that was the last straw. Rick took the portal gun and traveled to another dimension.”
Rick C-137 could have abandoned a “smart” Morty and fled to a dimension where that Rick had been gone or dead for 20 years; that’s where the show starts. This could conceivably explain Rick’s depression, guilt, and nihilism.
The theory continues with Morty C-137 going on to develop his own portal gun to kill Ricks from different dimensions — “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind” — with the aid of his own robot, Rick, to conceal his identity. After his plan was foiled, he escaped and infiltrated the Citadel sometime later to eventually become president in the chaos following “The Rickshank Redemption.” All he needed was a bit of charm and some cold, calculating manipulation of the masses.
Candidate Morty is cold, calculating, and as soon as he’s in complete control, he becomes a brutal dictator. President Morty kills everyone who opposes him with the snap of his fingers, and it’s in those final moments that we get a look at the secret documents given from Deepthroat Rick to Campaign Manager Morty as he floats dead outside the airlock.
Evil Morty’s cryptic final monologue in “Tales From the Citadel” didn’t tell us much about his backstory or his motives, but one thing’s for certain: There’s no way this is the last we’ve seen of him. Maybe he’s coming for Rick next.
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland once told Inverse that they “haven’t thought that deeply about certain theories.” Evil Morty, it would seem, is the exception.
The greatest Rick and Morty villain ever is back, but will we ever learn whether or not the convoluted theory about his backstory is true? Probably not, but it’s still fun to imagine.
Rick and Morty Season 3 airs Sundays on Adult Swim at 11:30 p.m.
If you liked this article, check out this video on four Rick and Morty fan theories you should know about.