Here's When 'Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons' Takes Place in the Canon
Sorting through how the excellent new comic fits into broader canon.
When Rick Sanchez tries to teach his grandson Morty Smith how to play Dungeons & Dragons in the Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons crossover comic, he has to use a special item that fans should recognize from the show: the Morty Adventure Card. Its use clues us as to when this adventure into tabletop gaming happens within the timeline of the show.
Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons hits store shelves on August 29, telling of an adventure in which Morty tries to learn the classic tabletop game in order to fit in with the cool kids at school. In a preview from VICE published last month, we see Morty get quickly overwhelmed by the complexity of D&D, so he resorts to using his Morty Adventure Card to compel Rick into helping him figure it out.
The Morty Adventure Card in Morty’s hand in the bottom two panels was instituted sometime after “Meeseeks and Destroy” — Season 1, Episode 5 — when Rick instituted a method through which Morty can pick some adventures. We don’t actually see the card in action until Season 3’s “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender.”
At the beginning of the episode, a crystal named the VindiBeacon rings in the garage, indicating that the superhero Vindicators want Morty and Rick to team up with the superhero team for something. Rick scoffs, refusing the “literal call to adventure,” but Morty thinks superheroes are cool and whips out the card to force him.
Writers Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub might’ve included the Morty Adventure Card in the Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons as a simple Easter egg, but the number of stamps could also be a clue that this D&D adventure takes place 3 to 4 punches before the “Vindicators” episode — which means roughly 30 to 40 total adventures prior if Morty can pick “every one in ten adventures.” This also confirms the long-held suspicion that there are tons of adventures that happen offscreen.
So assuming this comics storyline takes place with the core Morty and Rick from Dimension C-137, then it probably takes place during the middle of Season 2 or earlier.
There’s also the obtuse but simpler explanation that maybe Morty gets multiple Morty Adventure Cards, just like how I get a new coffee punch card from my favorite coffee shop whenever I fill one up and get my free drink. If that’s the case, then this storyline could happen at just about any time. In an infinite multiverse, everything is meaningless anyway, right?
No matter how the Adventure Card ties in, Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons offers plenty of other Easter eggs and nods to the show that will entertain fans and make this comic a must-read, even if fans don’t play D&D.
Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons will be released on August 29.