The Rick and Morty season 5 finale revealed Rick’s much-awaited tragic backstory, which risks ruining the show’s formula in season 6. Rick and Morty started in 2013 as a satire of sci-fi movies and family sitcoms, following the intergalactic adventures of sociopathic genius scientist Rick and his insecure grandson Morty (both voiced by Justin Roiland). Adult Swim renewed the series for 70 episodes in 2018 — an unprecedented move that demonstrates just how popular the show has become. With several more seasons left to go, the ending of Rick and Morty season 5 rebooted much of the show’s premise, threatening to undermine the show’s future.
The Rick and Morty season 6
Rick and Morty has been gradually changing its core formula in recent years. Season 5 saw Morty gain some independence (having his own story in “Mort Dinner Rick Andre”) and Rick going on numerous adventures without Morty. However, nothing upended the show’s formula more than Rick’s backstory in the season 5 finale. The story is revealed not only to the viewers but to Morty, and this is bound to have big repercussions for their relationship. Morty learns that C-137 Rick was instrumental in creating the Citadel and the Central Finite Curve, an interdimensional wall that blocks off the realities where Rick isn’t the smartest person in the universe. Morty thus confirms his fears that Rick has been manipulating entire realities so that he can use him in his intergalactic schemes.
The Rick and Morty season 5 finale established a significant amount of canon backstory. This is a risky move ahead of season 6 since Rick and Morty will have to abandon its old — and very popular — formula. When Evil Morty leaves the Central Finite Curve (with a yellow portal gun), he leaves behind a world in which Rick is not the omnipotent force he once was
Rick and Morty Producer Scott Marder confirmed a more serialized season 6, which further suggests that the show has rebooted its core formula. This feels like an intentional move that confronts audience feedback. When Rick asks Morty if he wants to hear his “stupid crybaby backstory” and invites him to “knock himself out,” he is arguably addressing the audience, who have long debated Rick’s backstory. Finally answering this lingering question wipes clean the slate of fan speculation.
To redeem itself, Rick and Morty season 6 will have to juggle between elaborating on the new status quo and keeping the elements that made Rick and Morty so popular in the first place.