Justin Roiland's 'Solar Opposites' Puts a New Spin on His "Constantly Escalating Absurdity"
The 'Rick and Morty' co-creator on the "lighter and sillier" tone of his new show
Published Feb 22, 2021Cartoon watchers already know Justin Roiland as the co-creator and main voice behind Rick and Morty — and fans of that show's fast pace, irreverent tone and absurdist humour will find plenty more where that came from in his latest series, Solar Opposites (the second season of which comes to the new Disney+ hub Star on March 26). In fact, Roiland was worried about comparisons between the two shows right up until the critics' reviews started coming in.
"Stylistically, it's still my kind of design, it looks like the kind of characters I draw," says Roiland in a roundtable interview with Exclaim! "Are people gonna expect that sort of same nihilistic [tone]? It's very different than Rick and Morty. It's much lighter and sillier. And it's not as intense. And oftentimes, the plots aren't as [meticulous]. It's a bit more of a sitcom kind of craziness with sci-fi thrown in."
Roiland plays the alien Korvo who, along with Thomas Middleditch's Terry and their child-replicants Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone) and Jesse (Mary Mack) have crash-landed on Earth after their home world, Shlorp, was destroyed by an asteroid. While the aliens' stories follow a familiar sitcom pattern, there is some serialization involved with what can only be referred to without spoilers as the Wall, a storyline which Roiland says takes on an "'HBO Original Series' kind of tone."
Speaking with Exclaim!, Middleditch describes Terry as the "co-worker and sort of trash bag mom character who doesn't really do any work and just wants to have fun on Earth." Yumyulack on the other hand, who attends high school with his sister Jesse, is labeled by Giambrone as having "bounty hunter tendencies… And ever since being on Earth, he kind of just wants to be the coolest kid or rule the school. He'll do it by any means necessary."
While Korvo and Rick share the same sort of zany plots and general disdain for humanity, Roiland says they differ in that "Korvo wants to be in control, but doesn't really have the respect of anyone around him. He's way more naïve, way less smart than Rick."
For Middleditch and Giambrone, Roiland's name was a big part of the attraction in joining the show. "Justin has a good track record," says Middleditch. "It's just super funny and the writing is sort of semi-serialized, but, also, constantly escalating absurdity is always a good world to be in, in terms of voiceover."
For viewers unfamiliar with Roiland's style, Giambrone offers this summary: "You got a good family dynamic going on with sci-fi elements. You got a good dose of violence. But it's really kind of like the love between these aliens that have crashed on Earth finding a new world. It's two sets of odd couples."
If you're wondering how some of the characters attend high school (complete with openly prejudiced staff) it's because, like in Rick and Morty, Roiland and McMahon decided to not have people care that aliens are a thing. There's no governments hunting the aliens à la ALF. At least in that regard, one of the other shows that was in the back of their minds was Third Rock from the Sun, which took a similar tack. At the same time, they strived to do their own version of the 'aliens trapped on Earth' genre.
"It's like Gremlins 2 in New York, when the dude's getting attacked by the flying Gremlin and New Yorkers are just walking by, they don't give a shit," said Roiland. "That's what we wanted for Solar Opposites. And that opens the door for all kinds of fun stuff."