The Inverse Interview
'Rick and Morty' Season 5: The best villain says he wants to return
"Where are my testicles, Summer?"
Rick and Morty is doing everything it can to avoid serialization, but that hasn't stopped fans of the popular sci-fi cartoon from demanding the return of some of the show's best villains. The Season 4 finale brought closure to the stories of Tammy and Bird Person, but there are plenty of unresolved arcs left to be explored in Season 5 and beyond.
Now, Rob Paulsen, the prolific voice actor behind Snowball the dog, tells Inverse he's ready to bring his character back.
"I’ve done many half-a-dozen episodes, but that little critter is probably one of the best-known characters Rick and Morty," Paulsen says. "I so hope he comes back. Justin can call me anytime any day."
“I so hope he comes back.”
Of all the loose plot threads in Rick and Morty, perhaps the most intriguing is the story of Snuffles, the Smith family dog who became intelligent, changed his name to Snowball, and led a canine revolution back in Season 1. The episode ("Lawnmower Dog") ended with Snuffles/Snowball taking his dog army to another dimension, but there's always been a chance that the character could return.
In a 2017 interview with The Daily Beast, Roiland singled out Snowball as the one plot thread he'd like to bring back:
“I mean we have a ton of seeds that we’ve planted that we could come back to. There’s a bunch that I would do something with, but the one that I would really love to think about more is Snowball. I feel like that could potentially be really cool.”
Rick and Morty technically did bring back Snowball in the Season 4 episode Never Ricking Morty, but it was in a non-canonical scene that also featured another unresolved villain: Evil Morty. So for now, the story of Snowball remains a mystery — but not if Paulsen has anything to say about it.
The voice actor, who's currently in the news for bringing back his characters Yakko and Pinky for the Animaniacs revival on Hulu, raves about working with the Rick and Morty team.
"Justin and Dan are from another planet in terms of their talent," he says, adding that he's signed countless Funko Pops as a result of their talent. "I’ve signed in the high hundreds of Snowball swag now."
However, Paulsen's most famous character arguably isn't from Rick and Morty or Animaniacs, it's Carl Wheezer. The llama-obsessed side-kick in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius has become a major meme thanks to his distinct speaking style and the particularly brilliant delivery of a single line of dialogue ("Are you gonna finish that croissant?") that's gone viral on platforms like Tik Tok and YouTube.
"You could argue that Carl might be the most famous character in Jimmy Neutron, and I don’t know why, but I’m so grateful," Paulsen says. "People who are eight or 10 years old love Carl, and people who are 70 love Carl, and everyone in between."
The voice actor might not understand why the internet is so obsessed with that one particular line, but he does have a theory about why Carl Wheezer is so beloved in general.
"Carl looks like he should sound that way and sounds like he should look that way," Paulsen says. "I made a choice to go down that road."
But before Animaniacs, Rick and Morty, and Carl Wheezer, Paulsen credits his career to one classic cartoon: G.I. Joe.
After working in Hollywood for years and appearing in "half-a-dozen" movies, Paulsen auditioned for the role of Snow Job on the kids' cartoon inspired by the popular action figures. As soon as he arrived at the audition, something clicked.
“It was the purest form of acting. Pure creativity.”
"The coolest thing I noticed was that no one in the room was concerned about how anybody looked," he says. "That was utterly out the window. It was the purest form of acting. Pure creativity, utterly unencumbered by my visage. It was the sort of thing that we do as ten-year-olds."
Paulsen got the job, and then went on to work on Transformers for the same studio. Six years after that, he decided to focus entirely on voice-acting and let the on-camera stuff go.
Three decades later, he clearly made the right call.
"I’m glad I made the choice," he says, "because now I still don’t have to worry about what I look like."
The Animaniacs (2020) is streaming now on Hulu.