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The Darkest Rick And Morty Theories We Hope Aren't True

Adult Swim's Rick and Morty is already just about the darkest family comedy on the air, but that hasn't stopped some fans from hypothesizing even darker fates for our favorite intergenerational sci-fi duo. If any of these sadistic fan theories turn out to be correct, we're all going to have to borrow Rick's brainalyzer for a little snip snip.

Rick and Morty is exactly the kind of show that begs its viewers to concoct whacky theories. Between the lines of all the episodic comedy, creator Dan Harmon has threaded a complex continuity serialized across four seasons to date. Minor elements teased on early episodes return to have serious plot implications. A perfect example of this cropped on the season 4 premiere; after dying in a freak accident on Forbodulon Prime, the genius Rick Sanchez (voiced by series co-creator Justin Roiland) is "resurrected" inside a Rick-clone from an alternate universe. Since he axed his own clone protocol back on season 2, Rick consciousness as we know it in Dimension C-137 was rerouted to a parallel reality. This sets off a cycle of trans-dimensional death and resurrection that drives the central plot of the episode.

In a fictional world where the main character is essentially a god and quite literally anything is possible, Harmon and company have done an incredible job maintaining actual dramatic stakes for the series. A big part of that effort has been their commitment to building Rick and Morty's meta-story over years. Understandably, however, fans have a few thoughts about where that meta-story might be headed.

With dangling plot threads like Evil Morty, the Citadel of Ricks, cyborg Birdperson, and Rick's ongoing war against the government (plus his 20-year absence from his daughter's life), there's a lot of raw material for plot prognosticators to work with. Here are some of their darkest predictions.

Rick and Jerry are still stuck in a simulation

On the season 1 episode "M. Night Shaym-Aliens," a band of scamming humanoid aliens known as Zigerions design a Russian-nesting doll of simulations to trick Rick into revealing the formula for concentrated dark matter. In the course of the Zigerions injecting Rick into their simulated universe, Rick's son-in-law Jerry Smith (Chris Parnell)  gets scooped up and dumped into a low-res section of the same simulation. By the end of the episode, both Rick and Jerry have escaped the Zigerion simulator and tricked their captors into blowing up their own spaceship. Or did they?

Careful viewers noticed that the Zigerions had aboard their ship a captive alien who looks exactly like the Plutonians whom Jerry visits during a subsequent episode. Is this just a coincidence, or proof that Rick and Jerry may still be kicking around that same simulation Inception-style? It's certainly blood-chilling to think that two of the series' central characters are still trapped inside an alien simulator with no way to get out — especially since they believed they escaped. Since the only evidence for this one appears to be that brief Plutonian cameo, we're a little incredulous.

Rick ended his own life

A gifted scientist with an alcohol problem, an inability to express his emotions without lacquering them in a thick layer of sarcasm, a tendency to take everything he does in life to the extreme, and a sense of creativity that's often too brilliant for his own good, Rick Sanchez is undeniably a complicated, troubled man. He's faced death in all its forms: creatures wanting to kill him, others succeeding in killing him, and he himself laying waste to plenty of intergalactic baddies — not to mention that whole "Rick and Morty murder alternate-dimension versions of themselves and take their places" thing that happened on Rick and Morty season 2. Rick has even attempted to take his own life before. On the season 2 episode "Auto Erotic Assimilation," after he comes to realize the extent of the damage he's done to his family through his self-destructive and irresponsible behavior, Rick is seen aiming a vaporizing death ray at his head. He passes out before anything serious can happen.

One Rick and Morty fan believes this isn't the first time Rick planned to commit suicide. Reddit user u/djjazzydwarf theorizes that Rick has ended his life once before, pointing to his behavior when he discovered his dead body during his and Morty's timeline jump as evidence of this fact. 

"Rick didn't think of this as a big deal and knew exactly what to do about 'his' dead body," they wrote. "What I was thinking was the Rick we all know and love wasn't the original timeline's Rick. That timeline's Rick killed himself when Beth was a child. And when our Rick somehow messed up his timeline, he jumped to the [original] one of the [series]."

If proven true, this dark Rick and Morty theory would seriously mess with the connection between the one Rick and the one Morty that fans have come to know. For every Rick, there's a specific Morty; if the actual Rick committed suicide in the same timeline as the Morty we know, and the Rick we know is a replacement who still partnered up with that Morty, that complicates the link. Beyond that, it's harrowing to think about a character — as flawed as he may be — ending his own life. 

Rick purposely abandoned Beth and his wife

Another dark Rick and Morty theory that focuses on Rick's past actions is one presented by Redditor u/ghytrf: Rick's abandonment of his daughter Beth (Sarah Chalke) and his wife when Beth was a child was... done on purpose. The thought of anyone — let alone a fictional character on an adult-oriented animated series — intentionally leaving their partner and child behind is enough to send shivers down one's spine. But this theory gets even darker in that u/ghytrf speculates Rick abandoned his family because he wanted a fatherless Beth to rebel in her teenage years, marry Jerry, and have two children with him. 

As we know, every surviving Rick has an accompanying Morty, whose consciousness protects Rick's mind from dangerous enemies. But our Rick also has a Summer (Spencer Grammer), Morty's older sister who possesses the same mind-cloaking abilities that Morties do. The theory goes that Rick, in his seemingly infinite wisdom, found out that Beth and Jerry would first have a daughter who is "as effective a jammer as Morty," and then would have an actual Morty. 

Beth and Jerry seem to be, as u/ghytrf argued, somehow "destined for each other" — so "they might eventually end up together in time to conceive a Morty even if they don't have Summer while they're in high school." If Rick hadn't left Beth and his wife all those years ago, there's a chance that Summer wouldn't have been born, leaving Rick with only one mind-jammer instead of two. (OK, Google — define "selfish.")

Evil Morty is Rick C-137's original pair

Many of the most popular Rick and Morty fan theories circulating around the internet deal with the origins of the eyepatch-wearing Evil Morty (also voiced by Roiland), who used Machiavellian tactics on the season 3 episode "The Ricklantis Mixup" to wrestle control of the Citadel from its ruling class of Ricks. The most compelling and darkest iteration of this theory was first articulated by Redditor u/Krazyflipz.

As the theory goes, Rick C-137 actually comes from a universe where he didn't abandon his family and instead remained present throughout his grandson's life. This consistent exposure to the smartest man in the universe turned Morty into a brilliant little chip off the old block. In other words, the Rickest Rick of them all produced the Mortyist Morty of them all. Think that's not so dark yet? Just wait.

Once Rick realized that he created a Morty so brilliant that he could actually pose a threat to Rick, the hard-drinking scientist decided that the universe was only big enough for one of them. The theory posits that Rick C-137 killed his original Morty, then jumped ship to a universe where he had abandoned his family and inserted himself back into the picture. A neat solution — or so he thought. As u/Krazyflipz argues, the real Morty C-137 used his genius to fake his own death, after which he used a stolen portal gun to travel to the Citadel of Ricks where he engineered the hostile takeover depicted on "The Ricklantis Mixup."

If this theory is true, Evil Morty is Morty C-137, and his bloody coup in the Citadel of Ricks may only be the first step of an elaborate revenge plot against the Rick who tried to kill him.

But where's the evidence for this dark Rick and Morty theory?

Harmon has apparently dropped ample evidence that this dark theory might indeed be correct. In two instances, we catch a glimpse of a younger Rick playing with a toddler version of Morty. The first occurs while an evil Robot Rick is sifting through Rick C-137's memories. The second happens during the episode "Get Schwifty" when an old family photo of Rick playing with the same toddler Morty appears on Birdperson's wall. Both images seem out of place, since Rick C-137 took a 20-year hiatus from his family and Morty "C-137" is only 14.

This discrepancy would be conveniently explained away if the theory is true and Rick C-137 hails from a universe where he was actually present for the first 14 years of his grandson's life. We all know Rick is more than capable of abandoning one universe and setting up shop in another. After Cronenberging his "original" universe on the season 2 episode "Rick Potion #9" (a Rick and Morty episode that features genuinely accurate science), Rick and Morty both use the portal gun to hop a few universes over where they kill their counterparts, bury them in the backyard, and assume their places in the Smith family.

Whether you buy it or not, it's certainly a compelling dark theory — but one that we hope isn't true for the sake of, well, everyone in Rick and Morty's lives. We'll have to see if Evil Morty makes another appearance when the second half of season 4 returns sometime in 2020.