|Rick and Morty character|
|First appearance||"Pilot" (2013)|
|Portrayed by||Christopher Lloyd|
|Voiced by||Justin Roiland|
|Full name||Richard Daniel Sanchez III|
|Age||70 (seasons 1–4)|
71 (seasons 5–present)
"Rick" Sanchez is one of the two eponymous characters and the main protagonist from the Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon and voiced by the former, Sanchez is a misanthropic alcoholic scientist inspired by Christopher Lloyd's Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown from Back to the Future and Reed Richards from Marvel Comics. In September 2021, Lloyd portrayed Sanchez himself in a series of promotional interstitials for the series.
Known for his reckless, nihilistic behavior and pessimistic personality, the character has been well received. He is a sociopathic mad scientist who seems to know everything in the universe and thus finds life a traumatizing and pointless experience. However, despite assuming himself to be the smartest person in the universe, there have been times when he has been wrong. He is the widower of Diane Sanchez and father of Beth Smith, the father-in-law of Jerry Smith, and the grandfather of Morty and Summer Smith.
The Rick that the show usually follows is formally referred to as Rick C-137 by the Trans-Dimensional Council of Ricks, in reference to his original universe, C-137. Both Rick and Morty are voiced by their creator, Roiland. Volume 1 of the Rick and Morty comic series follows the Rick and Morty of Dimension C-132 while most episodes of subsequent installments follow the Rick of C-137 and his Morty; the video game Pocket Mortys follows the Rick and Morty of C-123.
Fictional character biography
Rick Sanchez from Earth (Dimension C-137) is the widowed father of Beth Smith, and the grandfather of Morty and Summer Smith. In the fifth season, it is revealed that after the death of his daughter Beth and his wife Diane in his home reality, Rick develops a portal gun and spends the following decades travelling the infinite multiverse in search of the specific alternate version of himself whom he believes responsible for killing them, befriending Birdperson and becoming a leading figure in the revolution against the Galactic Federation throughout his mid-30s. After being rejected by Birdperson, Rick returns to his journey of vengeance, before ultimately becoming the leader of a fledgling "Citadel of Ricks". The Citadel had originally formed to oppose him after he had killed a number of himself on his journey of vengeance, and under his guidance oversaw the binding of the multiverse's Ricks into a "Central Finite Curve" in which they are all the "Smartest Man in the Universe". They manipulated the flow of realities in which his daughter lived to ensure that she met Jerry Smith in order to produce an endless number of hypothetical grandchildren, allowing them to hide from the Federation using their brainwaves. Depressed, Rick eventually abandons the Citadel and casts himself into the multiverse once again, crashing into the garage of a now-adult, living version of Beth in another reality, where her version of him had abandoned her twenty years prior instead. He befriended her son, that reality's Morty Smith, and frequently traveled with him on adventures through space, visiting other planets and dimensions with him and occasionally Summer Smith. The events of the series beginning one year later. In the third season of the show, it is revealed that he is 70 years old.
In "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", Rick reveals that he powers his flying car with a battery that contains a miniature universe, or microverse, whose inhabitants unknowingly provide the required electricity. The inhabitants cease doing this after one of their scientists does the same thing for his own universe, and discovers that this is what Rick has done to his universe. Rick remorselessly destroys the miniature universe inside his own miniature universe, killing everyone inside. Nearing the end of the episode, Rick knows that his own microverse would power his battery, or he would dispose of it and create a new one.
In the episode "Rick Potion #9", Rick reveals his disdain towards love, in which he claims that it is "a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed". When Rick and Morty irreversibly mutate all humans on Earth except for their family members, they abandon their original dimension, Earth Dimension C-137, (and their family in that dimension) for a new one. Rick locates a universe in which the alternate version of himself has undone the damage inflicted by the love potion, but where the new dimension's Rick and Morty have been killed, allowing the C-137 Rick and Morty to take their place. Despite Morty's trauma concerning this knowledge, Rick is nonchalant about moving to the new dimension.
In the episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind", after numerous Ricks in alternate dimensions are murdered, the Trans-Dimensional Council of Ricks accuses Rick C-137 and orders for him to be arrested. Rick C-137 finds himself captured by an "evil" Rick (in actuality controlled by a Morty), but is saved by a legion of alternate-dimension Mortys led by Morty C-137.
In the second season premiere, "A Rickle in Time", Rick nearly sacrifices himself to save Morty, but saves his own life when he realizes that doing so is possible. In the episode "Get Schwifty", it is revealed that Rick was once in a rock band called the Flesh Curtains, alongside Birdperson and Squanchy. In the episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez", Rick transfers his consciousness into a younger clone of himself, whom he calls "Tiny Rick". He soon becomes anguished in his new body, and manages to return to his older true form, and murders a line of other clones he produced. In the second season's finale, "The Wedding Squanchers", Rick and his family attend Birdperson's wedding, where Birdperson is betrayed and killed by his bride Tammy, a double agent for the Galactic Federation. The family is forced to inhabit an unusually small yet Earth-like planet, as they cannot return to Earth due to Rick's status as a wanted criminal. Rick turns himself into the Federation to allow his family to return home, and is incarcerated on a prison planet under the charges of having committed "everything". But in the season three premiere "The Rickshank Redemption", by taking out the Council of Ricks while saving Morty and Summer, it is revealed that Rick actually turned himself in to access the Federation's supercomputer and wipe it out financially. Rick also indirectly convinces Beth to divorce Jerry for trying to convince the family to sell him out.
The premiere episode of the series' third season, "The Rickshank Rickdemption" shows a possible origin for Rick, in which he was a well-meaning scientist who loved his wife Diane and daughter Beth, but had an encounter with a member of a militant group of Ricks who had achieved inter-dimensional travel during his own initial testing of a prototype inter-dimensional portal gun, who offered him the secret to creating the device, and joining their organization. Shortly after his refusal, and his pledge to quit science forever, a bomb was sent through a portal, killing Diane and Beth. Rick claims that this was a fake memory he created in order to trick his interrogator into implanting a virus into the mind-reading device he was attached to, allowing him to hijack his body and escape from the Federation prison. At the end of the episode, Rick again insists, in a rant to Morty, that the death of his wife and daughter as depicted was a fake memory; in the fifth season, his wife and daughter from his home reality are confirmed to have been caught in an explosion and with both being killed. In the fifth season finale "Rickmurai Jack", the Citadel's new President Morty, with whom Rick indicates to be acquainted, destroys the Central Finite Curve, stripping all Ricks of their title of "Smartest Man in the Universe" and freeing the multiverse of his influence.
Rick's trademark catchphrase in the first season (and also appearing as a variation in the second season) is "Wubba Lubba Dub-Dub", first introduced in the episode "Meeseeks and Destroy". In Birdperson's native language, the catchphrase translates to "I am in great pain. Please help me".
One of the show's creators and executive producers and voice actor Justin Roiland revealed Sanchez was pansexual. This was shown in "Auto Erotic Assimilation", when Rick connects with Unity, an ex-lover who is a collective hive mind of assimilated individuals from the planet they occupy.
The character was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who first met at Channel 101 in the early 2000s. In 2006, Roiland created The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, an animated short parodying the Back to the Future characters Emmett "Doc" Brown and Marty McFly, and the precursor to Rick and Morty. The idea for Rick and Morty, in the form of Doc and Mharti was brought up to Adult Swim, and the ideas for a family element and Rick being a grandfather to Morty were developed. Roiland considers his voice for Rick to be a "horrible Doc Brown manic impression". Addressing Roiland's and his own portrayals of Rick in a series of promotional interstitials (directed by Paul B. Cummings) compared to Doc Brown, Christopher Lloyd stated "that he felt like Doc and Rick were like two brothers that took different paths".
The character has received positive reception. Speaking of Rick's relatability and likability, Dan Harmon stated that "we've all been Rick. But Rick really does have bigger fish to fry than anybody. He understands everything better than us. So you give him the right to be jaded and dismissive and narcissistic and sociopathic". Emily Gaudette of Inverse wrote that fans have "come to love [Rick] over two seasons of misadventures".
David Sims of The Atlantic noted Rick's "bitter amorality" and called the character "a genius who comfortably thinks of himself as the universe's cleverest man and is grounded only by his empathy toward other people, which he tries to suppress as much as possible", therefore writing that Rick's selflessness at the end of the episode "The Wedding Squanchers" is "the most surprising twist possible". Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club wrote that "[Rick] slowly realizing that he loved his grandkids and his daughter (and tolerated his son-in-law) no matter how many times he swore at them helped to give the character some necessary depth", and that "behind all the catchphrases and the crazed energy ... There's something dead and sad and fucked up in the guy".
In popular culture
In the first episode of the third season, "The Rickshank Redemption", Rick shows a significant interest in Schezuan sauce and insists that his motivation in life is "finding that McNugget sauce" caused a public interest in having the sauce be reinstated on the McDonald's menu, with some fans attempting to recreate the sauce themselves. According to USA Today, McDonald's spokesperson Terri Hickey stated that "We never say never, because when our customers speak, we listen. And to paraphrase some of our most enthusiastic fans, our sauce is so good that it would be worth waiting 9 seasons or 97 years for." The character also appears in the couch gag of the 2015 The Simpsons episode "Mathlete's Feat", with Roiland reprising his role.
In March 2019, Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty confirmed the character of Monarch crypto-sonographer Dr. Rick Stanton, played by Bradley Whitford, to have been based on Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty, with Dougherty having the character "drink a lot" to keep the character in line with the spirit of Sanchez.
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