After news broke that Justin Roiland has been charged with felony domestic violence in Orange County, several questions remain unanswered about the fate of his vast animation empire.
As NBC News was first to report on January 12, Roiland, the co-creator of Adult Swim’s rick and morty and Hulu’s solar opposites, was charged in 2020 with one count of domestic battery with bodily harm and one count of forcible confinement by threat, violence, fraud or deceit following an alleged incident that year with an unnamed woman with whom Roiland was going out. After Roiland was released on $50,000 bail in 2020, several preliminary hearings were held in the case, including one on Thursday. (Roiland pleaded not guilty, and in a statement, Roiland’s attorney, T. Edward Welbourn, called media coverage of the charges “inaccurate,” adding, “To be clear, not only is Justin innocent, but we also expect that this case is about to be dismissed once the district attorney’s office completes its methodical review of the evidence.”)
But rick and morty The Adult Swim distributor has so far declined to comment on the news, the show is not even halfway through an order of 70 episodes ordered by the channel in 2018. In addition to its role as co-creator and executive producer on the cult hit adult animated series, Roiland voices the show’s incumbents Rick and Morty. The series is still the most watched on Adult Swim; its recently completed sixth season averaged 560,000 viewers for early airings, with substantial gains from delayed viewing and streaming. The success of rick and morty gave birth to a short spin-off series (Victors 2, which Roiland produced) and a series of comic books. In 2022, Adult Swim also announced an anime spin-off from director Takashi Sano.
Beyond Adult Swim, Hulu has made significant investments in Roiland productions. Like with rick and morty, Roiland plays a main character on solar opposites, the Hulu show he co-created with Mike McMahan about aliens living in suburban America. Three seasons have aired so far, and they have been renewed for a fifth season on the Disney-run streamer. Roiland also produces and does voice work on koala man, a Hulu comedy series that debuted on Monday. Hulu did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Disney’s 20th Television Animation produces both solar opposites and koala man; Roiland also has an overall deal at the studio. 20th Television had no comment when contacted by THR.
In 2016, Roiland co-founded a video game developer called Squanchtendo (“Squanch” referring to the name of a planet on rick and morty) with former Epic Games executive Tanya Watson. Roiland now leads the company, currently called Squanch Games, as CEO, with offices in Burbank, California, and Raleigh, North Carolina. His latest title, the first-person shooter Raised on life, released on December 13 to impressive sales, boasting the biggest Xbox Game Pass launch of 2022 and the biggest third-party launch on the platform ever. He also released an NFT art collection in 2021 and mounted an art exhibition at UTA Artist Space (he is a client of the agency) in December. Squanch Games did not respond to a request for comment.
Roiland is scheduled to return to an Orange County court on April 27 for another preliminary hearing.