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Why Scroopy Noopers' Voice From Rick And Morty Sounds So Familiar

Aw geez, Looper reader, remember Season 1 of "Rick and Morty?"

Arguably one of the most audacious freshman outings for any animated series, "Rick and Morty" immediately hit its burgeoning fanbase with a vast array of strange storylines, including a ridiculous oppression allegory told from the perspective of a cyborg dog. The apocalypse kills most of its main cast and even an episode primarily composed of bizarre inter-dimensional commercials (almost entirely improvised by the series' recently embattled co-creator, Justin Roiland).

One episode that often gets lost in the chaos of "Rick and Morty's" first season is Episode 9, "Something Ricked This Way Comes." If you need a refresher, the plot follows Morty's (Roiland) dad, Jerry ("Archer" and "Saturday Night Live" alum Chris Parnell), as his unwillingness to concede Pluto's planetary status turns him into a populist Plutonian folk hero. If Jerry's ignorance-fueled ego wasn't bad enough, his denial supports a Plutonian government set to destroy their non-planet. This truth is uncovered by an unlikely hero, voiced by one of the most prolific voice actors working today.

Scroopy Noopers — the ostracized son of Pluto's King Flippy Nips (Rich Fulcher) — is voiced by Nolan North, whose staggering resume includes 20 appearances on "Rick and Morty" alone (most notably, he played Anderson Cooper and Tom Hanks in Season 6's "Juricksic Mort," as well as Special Agent Gribbles in the Season 2 finale, "The Wedding Squanchers"). North's work on the Adult Swim series is just the minuscule tip of a truly monumental iceberg.

North hunted treasure as Nathan Drake in Uncharted

Nolan North is likely most well-known as the lead of Naughty Dog's blockbuster flagship video game series, "Uncharted." North played Nathan Drake, a ruggedly charming adventurer and a treasure hunter in the same vein as Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones. The series contained four main entries, all of which received critical acclaim upon release. 

In an interview that took place at London's MCM Comic Con (archived on YouTube), North described the first "Uncharted" game as his "break" into the acting industry and expressed his happiness at seeing the project reach such unimaginable heights after pouring himself into the role of Nathan Drake. "It made me a better actor ..." he said of the experience before gushing about the game's talented cast, including Emily Rose ("God of War: Ragnarok") and Graham McTavish (HBO's "House of the Dragon"). When asked about a potential film adaptation in this same 2015 interview, North said he wasn't sure if an "Uncharted" film made sense creatively, as he felt the original games were already "cinematic" enough and had accomplished what most Hollywood adaptations in development were attempting to do. North ultimately gave the 2022 film his blessing after seeing the trailer. 

North also read the audiobook for the novelization of the "Uncharted" film, which he felt told the film's story more satisfyingly, affording more time to critical characters and sequences (via Operation Rainfall).

He fought conspiracies as Desmond Miles in Assassin's Creed

Around the same time he would first play Nathan Drake in "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," Nolan North would also begin playing a vital role in another soon-to-be-blockbuster franchise — Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed." North played Desmond Miles, a reluctant hero born into a secret brotherhood of assassins worldwide for centuries.

For lack of a better term, Desmond is essentially the meta-protagonist of the first several games (through "Assassin's Creed III"), whose goal and storyline carry over from entry to entry. In contrast, the somewhat more recognizable assassins like Ezio, Altaïr, and Connor are merely vessels through which Desmond experiences his family history. Though Desmond heroically sacrifices himself at the end of "Assassin's Creed III," his presence is felt in many subsequence games. North even returned to voice the character's elevated consciousness (known as The Reader) in 2020's "Assassin's Creed: Valhalla."

At a convention sometime before August of 2017 (but after North had finished his work on "Assassin's Creed III"), the actor got candid about how he felt Desmond evolved throughout the series (archived on YouTube). He said that after he recorded Desmond's lines for the first game, he was desperate to know what happened next — the writer, however, hadn't written that yet.

North seemingly theorizes that some of Desmond's potential character arc fell apart due to "political" falling-outs behind the scenes. A character he had once been told would become "the ultimate assassin" instead became someone North described as "boring" and "whiny." "They're really well-made games," he said, "I just think, somehow, Desmond's character ... hit a fork in the road that was, unfortunately, a dead end on both [paths]. He just had nowhere to go."

He committed acts of villainy as The Penguin in Batman: Arkham City

"Assassin's Creed" wasn't even the last massive video game franchise to include Nolan North in its principal voice cast. After the runaway hit, "Batman: Arkham Asylum," video game studio Rocksteady began developing a sequel titled "Batman: Arkham City." Released in 2011, the game received instant critical acclaim and is now regarded by many as one of the greatest video games of the modern era. "Arkham City" also introduced the famous "Batman" villain The Penguin to its grim universe, voiced by Nolan North.

In the game's story, North's Penguin acts as a makeshift despot in the quasi-apocalyptic experiment that is the titular Arkham City — a walled-off section of Gotham City inhabited solely by Gotham's most wanted. Bruce Wayne (played by the late and legendary Kevin Conroy) is forced into the veritable hellscape as a political prisoner. Still, he ultimately dons his alter ego to protect those within themselves and each other.

North voiced The Penguin in every "Arkham" installment to feature the character, including the tangential "Batman: Arkham Origins" (which saw much of the series' core cast temporarily swapped out for younger actors). In a 2014 interview with the Gaming Show, North included The Penguin in a short list of characters that defined his career, alongside Desmond Miles from "Assassin's Creed," Nathan Drake from "Uncharted," and Edward Richtofen from "Call of Duty."

He played both Superman and Superboy in Young Justice

Somewhat of a spiritual successor to the early-2000s "Teen Titans" animated series, Cartoon Network's "Young Justice" was a surprise success that spawned and maintained a dedicated fanbase that continues to cry out for more seasons to this day.

Nolan North was a part of the series' core group of young sidekicks who struggled to establish their own identities outside the shadows of their godly mentors. He voiced Superman and Superboy — a clone born from a combination of Superman and Lex Luthor's DNA. As such, Superboy had a strained relationship with his two "fathers," which manifested in the classic teen angst necessary for any successful young adult drama at the time.

Comparing his dual roles in an interview that took place ahead of the show's third season (released on the now-defunct DC Universe streaming service), North said, "[Audiences] think of Superman like the 'Man of Steel' — he's invulnerable ... [he's] perfect. And I think Superboy is flawed perfection." He praised how the series "humanized" Superboy by giving him relatable flaws, such as his fear of abandonment and out-of-control anger. North continued working on "Young Justice" through its fourth and seemingly final season on HBO Max.

He got downright disgusting as David in The Last of Us

If you're enjoying "The Last of Us" for the first time on HBO, you may want to quickly scroll to the next slide — otherwise, here's a major spoiler warning for events that occur late in the original game's narrative.

After a close call with a group of bandits at the University of Eastern Colorado, 14-year-old Ellie (Ashley Johnson) must drag her critically injured survivalist protector, Joel (Troy Baker), across a zombie-infested America in the dead of winter. During this time, she encounters David, played by Nolan North. Though he seems benevolent at first, he ultimately takes Ellie hostage and reveals himself as a deranged cannibal with truly disgusting intentions.

Yet, when speaking to an audience of fans at Tampa Bay Comic Con about how he developed such a vile character, North explained that he couldn't look at David as a villain. "He's the shepherd of a flock," he said, "he's trying to take care of his people. ... I wanted to play him just as kind as possible." From his perspective, trying to "play" David's worst attributes would've robbed the portrayal of the humanity that ultimately made him all the more terrifying. "A jerk doesn't think he's a jerk," he continued, "a psycho doesn't think he's a psycho. You don't play the problem."

As a side note, this is far from the first or last video game to feature the talents of both North and Baker. Unfortunately, one of their most recent and direct collaborations took place in a highly polarizing triple-A title.

He saved the world as Tony Stark in Marvel's The Avengers

Nolan North has voiced the iconic billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark / Iron Man in a few different projects, beginning in 2014 with the "hyper-reality" interactive touring installation "The Marvel Experience." He even voices the character for Epic Games' animated Fortnite shorts. However, his definitive performance as the character is arguably in Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics' "Marvel's The Avengers."

Players and critics cited all issues, including unsatisfying enemies, repetitive gameplay, underwhelming multiplayer aspects, and micro-transactions. Whether by default or genuine merit, the most vital element of the game wound up being the story and performances. The voice talent was absolutely stacked. In addition to North, the game featured Usman Ally ("Veep"), "Critical Role" alums Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey (the latter of whom may also be known to readers as Abby in "The Last of Us — Part II"), and, of course, Troy Baker, who plays Stark's close friend Bruce Banner (Baker also appeared alongside North in "Uncharted 4," "Young Justice" and the "Batman: Arkham" series). 

North, who professed his love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an interview on Square Enix's website, said he was conscious of stepping into a role already made famous by Robert Downey Jr. He told Square Enix, "if we did anything that would lead to a comparison of those movies, which are universally beloved, it would just be a bad, bad outcome. In that same interview, he half-joking acknowledged that he'd be open to leading an "Iron Man" video game down the line. Laughing, he told the interviewer, "I'm putting this in the heads of Marvel and Crystal Dynamics — if we ever do split off from here into some solo games, I'm open to it."