The novelty Szechuan dipping sauce, originally released by McDonald’s to promote the Disney movie Mulan twenty years ago, is about to return to the fast food franchise’s menu in a big way after overnight demand early last year. And this time, it’s coming back with a three-part podcast, titled The Sauce, premiering February 22 and hosted by Catherine LeClaire.
On Tuesday, McDonald’s announced the official return of its Szechuan dipping sauce, which re-entered mainstream consciousness when it was the focus of a joke in the long-awaited Season 3 premiere of the cult animated comedy Rick and Morty. But on weweantthesauce.com, a link tweeted by the verified McDonald’s Twitter account, the fast food company revealed even bigger plans for the sauce’s (potentially permanent) return.
“We know there were many unanswered questions and even more unbelievable stories from last year’s Szechuan saga,” wrote the chain. “So, come this Thursday, February 22nd, we’ll not only announce when, where, and how much Szechuan Sauce will be returning. We’ll also answer those questions and share those stories via a stranger-than-fiction, three-part podcast series: The Sauce.”
The website says The Sauce will be a co-production between Gizmodo and Onion Labs. That means it’s going to be legit and not satire (though it will still be entertaining and funny).
A “trailer” for The Sauce features audio from cell phone footage of the “Szechuan Riots,” which swept McDonald’s nationwide when the franchise briefly reintroduced the sauce, in limited quantities, in October 2017. Public opinion of the craze was generally unpopular, as Rick and Morty fans packed McDonald’s restaurants and flipped out whenever it ran out. It was a really weird weekend.
In 1998, McDonald’s briefly released Szechuan dipping sauce as part of a promotion with Disney’s animated hit film Mulan. In 2017, the sauce was part of a joke in the cult series Rick and Morty, which premiered and looped the episode online and on TV as a surprise for April Fool’s Day. (Usually, the network Adult Swim, owned by Turner Broadcasting, airs the cult Tommy Wiseau film The Room on loop for April 1.)
After the episode, demand for the sauce spiked overnight, causing passionate Rick and Morty fans — a fandom characterized by their intensity, wrote Vox — to create petitions and flood social media asking for the sauce to return.
The Sauce will premiere online on February 22.