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Rick And Morty Theory: Rick's Intelligence Stemmed From Diane's Death

It's no secret that Rick Sanchez in "Rick and Morty" is the smartest man in the universe. And the Rick viewers primarily follow is supposedly smarter than all of the other Ricks from alternate realities. But what exactly made it so that Rick is not only smarter than everyone else but needs to prove to everyone he's the most intelligent being around?

Several fan theories have emerged on this subject on Reddit, with u/Old_Second7770 writing, "Why is it that in the central finite curve with all its infinite worlds not have one with a Living Diane, because without the death of Diane Rick was going to live a simple life with his family and not care about inter dimensional travel which if never invented means Rick never became the smartest person in the universe. I think Dianes might be alive outside the curve."

The Season 5 finale introduces the Central Finite Curve, where the audience learns how Rick separated a portion of the multiverse so that their reality exists in a multiverse where Rick is always the smartest one in his respective universe. This also seems to correlate with the fact that in no other reality of this Curve, Diane is alive. Outside of the Curve, Rick isn't the smartest one in his universe, which is why Evil Morty wants to go to one of these dimensions so that he can escape from his grandfather's oppression. Therefore, since Diane is always dead wherever Rick is the smartest, it would appear her demise is the catalyst for allowing Rick to be as smart as he is.

Rick is content with a simple life when Diane is alive

From flashback scenes, viewers know that the main Rick was planning on giving up scientific pursuits. That is until Rick Prime entered the picture to hand him the secret to interdimensional travel. When Rick refused, Rick Prime dropped a bomb on his Diane and Beth, killing them. He then has the drive to invent the portal gun on his own and numerous other inventions. 

Rick's pursuit of revenge gave him the ambition always to be smarter than everyone around him, and that wouldn't have happened without Diane dying. In another Reddit thread about the theory, a lot of fans think it holds weight, with u/usgrant7977 stating, "I imagine he gave up on a super driven, dedicated career in science in the world's where his wife didn't die. I think he just took the chance to be a dad and a husband as better than a life obsessed with advanced science." It would make sense for Rick needing to be the smartest to hunt down Rick Prime because, as we've seen so far, Rick Prime is seemingly one step ahead of the smartest man in the universe. 

Redditor u/Organic-Proof8059 saw this theory working as well: "I interpreted as the feverish obsession of finding her murderer drove Rick to insane levels of genius...because he'd never find him, he constantly leveled up, like a constant state of becoming more genius." Since breaking out of the Central Finite Curve is possible now, could Rick one day be reunited with Diane and give up his need to be a genius? Anything's possible in this show, especially seeing how it's continuing up to at least the 100-episode mark.