The strangest Rick and Morty crossover ever has somehow come full circle in Season 5 with what we might as well call a cameo and an origin story wrapped into one. It happens at the end of Episode 4: "Rickdependence Spray."
Ironically, Beth the horse surgeon has a sibling that is half-horse — or more accurately, half-Chud. Rick procreated with the princess of the subterranean horse people introduced in that episode, creating a blue-haired horse that’s probably going to cause a lot of problems for the Chud. The strangest thing about the most bonkers episode this season is that this isn’t the first time an equine creature resembling Rick Sanchez has appeared in animated television. Is this Pony Rick the same one that appears in a My Little Pony show?
Somewhere in the multiverse, that answer is yes!
On July 21, one Rick and Morty fan posted to the show’s subreddit a side-by-side comparison of images made to look like a meme. On the left, we see the human-Chud hybrid creature — Rick’s offspring — that Princess Poñeta gives birth to. And on the right is a scene from an April 2018 episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic where a cute pony with a tail and mane the same color as Rick’s hair stands in line for a rollercoaster, also wearing a light blue shirt and lab coat.
“A two-step timeline of events,” the Reddit post reads. While this is likely not a literal crossover, it’s a fun little Easter egg nonetheless. We might as well accept it as headcanon because this must be intentional, right?
The My Little Pony franchise has had plenty of strange crossovers and allusions to other properties, both on different official shows and fan-made materials. Similarly, Morty and Rick have done everything from present an Emmy to promote Pringles chips. Most recently, they appeared in the Space Jam sequel for a family-friendly cameo. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic airs on Time Warner Cable Kids network, which is owned and operated by Time Warner, the parent company that also owns Adult Swim and therefore Rick and Morty.
A children’s show about ponies featuring a nod to Adult Swim’s raunchy sci-fi series is an odd choice, but it becomes less weird in retrospect when you realize it’s a singular media company leveraging two prominent franchises. For Rick and Morty Season 5 to then feature what’s essentially a callback more than three years later feels like more than a coincidence.
But it’s clear that Adult Swim isn’t promoting My Little Pony here. If anything, this is the Rick and Morty production team poking fun at this whole thing.
Does it make sense that Rick would get blackout drunk and procreate with a Chud horse princess? Definitely. He had sex with a planet in Season 4 and thought the clay offspring with spiky hair were his children. And that was two seasons after he reunited with Unity the hivemind for a planetwide sexcapade. It’s also logical within the "Rickdependence Spray” story, where Morty interacts with a “breeding mount” used to extract "reproductive material” from horses.
When Rick tries to use what he thinks is authentic horse DNA material, the experiment instead creates monstrous sperm that threaten the world. The end result is peace between the humans and Chud. The sexual union of Rick and the princess brought their people together, but so did the sperm-related apocalypse. Everything is horse-themed, so how could you not include a callback to the weirdest Rick and Morty crossover ever?
You can’t help but wonder if the Rick and Morty writers saw this episode as a perfect opportunity to include this callback to the My Little Pony cameo because everything is horse-themed here. Rick’s half-Chud offspring immediately digs into the ground after its birth, and we’ll probably never see it again. But there’s always the chance that this is the secret origin story for how Rick’s Chud child wound up on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Rick and Morty Season 5 airs Sunday nights on Adult Swim at 11 p.m. Eastern.