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Having transcended the pinnacles of any cult Adult Swim series before it, the animated comedy Rick and Morty has become a more lucrative brand with each passing season, with many more to come. Its success afforded co-creator Justin Roiland and writer/EP Mike McMahan the chance to branch off with another delightfully wacky sci-fi comedy, Hulu's Solar Opposites, which hits the streaming service on Friday, May 8. After seeing the first pair of trailers, fans are likely wondering how the two projects will compare and contrast. That's where we come in.
CinemaBlend spoke with Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan all about the first season of Solar Opposites, which centers on a family of aliens – Korvo, Terry, Jesse and Yumyulack – who land on Earth with a creature that could destroy the entire planet. Here's Roiland talking about how this family unit's show differs from Rick and Morty.
I felt pretty confident that both shows could live independently of each other. They're pretty different, despite having the sci-fi comedy similarities. Solar Opposites was sort of... I mean, it's been a long road. I feel like we started developing this in between Seasons 2 and 3 of Rick and Morty; we had a two month break and that was sort of the beginnings of it. All this time later, it's finally coming coming out, and they're really, really fun in different ways. Solar is [different from Rick and Morty] just by way of having different characters at the helm – these four aliens that are that are a bit more naive and a bit more vulnerable and not as not as all-knowing as someone like Rick, and not as dysfunctional as Rick. Well, I guess there's dysfunction, but it's not nearly on the level of something like Rick. So that, in and of itself, kind of lends to a bit of a lighter tone.
While Justin Roiland's vocal talent is obviously a highlight that Rick and Morty shares with Solar Opposites, his furrow-browed alien Korvo definitely stands apart and isn't merely a shadow of either Rick or Morty. To Roiland's point, no one in Solar Opposites ever hits Rick's chaotic highs or nihilistic lows, which works to the Hulu show's favor, since it isn't beholden to humor's sharpest edges like Adult Swim is. The new comedy can keep its more upbeat tone while still keeping the dialogue and themes strictly adult and heady.
For all the dark and weird moments that transpire in Solar Opposites, much of it lacks the neurotic tug of despair that lurks around all of Rick and Morty's corners. As Justin Roiland put it, the idea was more about keeping things fun.
It's a lot of fun. Mike, not to steal your word – fun – but the show is really the guiding light for us. We want to have a lot of fun with this thing, and then also [question] how can we subvert people's expectations where it makes sense, and not in a scary way, but in a fun, sort of surprising way.
Rick and Morty fans are pretty lucky that Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan chose to team up on another animated science fiction series, what with the entire entertainment world at their fingertips. And it's largely thanks to how much the two creators absolutely adore the genre. McMahan, as some might remember, is the creator of CBS All Access' upcoming animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks, which will be the first full-on comedy in the Trek franchise. Here, McMahan shares his thoughts on adding to the sci-fi comedy genre.
We both love Rick and Morty, and it was not our goal to compete with, or comment on, Rick and Morty at all with Solar. It's really just that, you know, we definitely wanted to work together on another show, because we found out that we love working together on Rick and Morty. And I am an insane sci-fi person. Like the only things I read are sci-fi, I love sci-fi movies. I'm constantly pitching, esoteric sci-fi nonsense. I mean, I literally have a Star Trek show. I love sci-fi. So the sci-fi element of Solar actually came [when] we originally were trying to break and pitch on a regular family kind of show. And then, we'd been looking through – Justin keeps a lot of sketchbooks full of ideas – and Terry and Korvo, like the kind of nascent versions of them were in there, along with a title that just said Solar Opposites.
Justin Roiland then shared that the first time he ever drew any of the Solar Opposites characters, it was on a dry-erase board in his old office. Oddly enough, the illustrations ended being extremely close to what made it to the final product. Which just goes to show that sometimes, one's first instincts are indeed the most fruitful ones.
With Solar Opposites, Mike McMahan wanted to bring the same kind of approach that they took with Rick and Morty, in that there was a pronounced priority in making sure the genre elements remained in the same quality tier as everything else the show delivered.
I love Futurama, I love Galaxy Quest. Playing in this area of doing good [sci-fi comedy]. I think what Rick and Morty does amazingly is the character voices and just the comedy is so clear, but the sci-fi is fucking awesome. And so we tried to do that. If there's any similarity, it's that we love the comedy, but we also love the sci-fi, and it's kind of like you try to do both at once and just make something people are gonna love.
Solar Opposites is set to make its debut on Hulu on Friday, May 8, with all eight Season 1 episodes dropping at once, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more from our talk with co-creators Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan. Check out our Summer 2020 TV schedule to see everything that's heading to the small screen in the coming months, or if you're just interested in Hulu's near-future releases, our May 2020 rundown has you covered.