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Every Community Star You Likely Didn't Know Guest-Starred On Rick & Morty

Fans of "Rick and Morty" may not realize that the animated series is closely linked to NBC's cult sitcom "Community." The Adult Swim series was co-created by Justin Roiland and former "Community" showrunner Dan Harmon. Interestingly, both series feature a number of common attributes, including meta-narratives that love to blur genre lines. 

Notably, however, the mainstream appeal of the two series is decidedly quite different. While "Rick and Morty" has become one of the most popular animated shows in recent memory, "Community" always seemed to struggle to find a consistent audience during its run on NBC. The series was ultimately canceled during its fifth season, only to be resurrected by the now-defunct Yahoo! Screen for a final season (via Entertainment Weekly).

On the other hand, "Rick and Morty" premiered in 2013 to critical success (via Rotten Tomatoes) and has aired over 50 episodes to date. As the Emmy award-winning show has grown in popularity, so has the caliber of artists who join the animated sitcom. Notable industry heavyweights like "Spider-Man" actor Alfred Molina, veteran director Werner Herzog, and late-night host Stephen Colbert have all voiced strange, zany characters in Harmon's animated romp. 

However, even some of the most dedicated fans of "Community" could be surprised to learn that a number of high-profile actors from the show have also lent their talents to "Rick and Morty."

Joel McHale was Summer's love interest

Jeff Winger, played by Joel McHale, serves as the de facto leader of the main "Community" crew. A once successful lawyer, his prestigious degree from Columbia University is revealed to be a sham, forcing him out of his career. In a bid to return to his high-profile lifestyle, Winger enrolls at Greendale Community College to receive a legitimate degree, where he becomes the leader of a colorful band of misfits. After "Community" wrapped up in 2015, McHale went on to star in "The X-Files" and even played former "Community" co-star Chevy Chase in the 2018 comedy "A Futile and Stupid Gesture." However, he eventually reunited with his "Community" boss Dan Harmon for "Rick and Morty" Season 3, Episode 2 ("Rickmancing the Stone"). 

In this episode, Rick transports his grandchildren, Morty and Summer, to a "Mad Max"-style universe filled with chaos and vehicular warfare. McHale voiced the role of Hemorrhage, the leader of a group that terrorizes the wastelands. Summer eventually falls for Hemorrhage, but their love story doesn't last long. Rick eventually helps the tribe become more civilized, eventually leading the macho Hemorrhage to adopt a simpler and more docile way of life. Notably, Summer isn't the only "Rick and Morty" character to enjoy a brief romance with a character voiced by a former "Community" star.

Allison Brie and Morty shared a tragic romance

In "Rick and Morty" Season 5, Episode 3 ("A Rickconvenient Mort"), Allison Brie voiced a fictional, eco-conscious superhero named Planetina. While on an adventure with his grandfather, Morty encounters Planetina and immediately falls for her. Surprisingly, the shy superhero also takes a liking to the high schooler, and the two begin to date, much to the chagrin of Morty's mother. After hatching a plan to save Planetina from being sold to a rich sheik, the two spend their days together saving the planet. Unfortunately, Morty eventually learns that Planetina places more value in protecting the planet than she does in saving human lives, something that eventually forces the young man to break up with her.

Brie rose to prominence after appearing as the do-good, straight-A student Annie Edison in "Community." The youngest member of the group, she often struggled to have her voice heard and was taken advantage of for her proficiency in school. Throughout "Community," she shares a will-they-won't-they relationship with Jeff Winger, which is ironic considering the two actors also both served as love interests for different characters in "Rick and Morty." 

Notably, the animated series doesn't seem too shy about bringing back guest characters, and Planetina's story also doesn't seem entirely wrapped up yet, so there's always the possibility that Brie's character and Morty could reunite once again.

Gillian Jacobs also played a superhero

Gillian Jacobs made quite the splash when she joined "Community" as Britta Perry, an activist struggling to find meaning in her life through community college. Britta appeared as a series regular in "Community" throughout its six-season run. After the star wrapped up her time as Britta on the comedy, she went on to appear in a number of other Netflix series, including Judd Apatow's "Love" and the "Fear Street" trilogy.

Jacobs has also spent the years since "Community" ended lending her voice to animated characters. After voicing characters in "American Dad!", "Adventure Time," and "Long Live the Royals," Jacobs briefly played an unhinged superhero in "Ricky and Morty." Jacobs appeared as Supernova in Season 3, Episode 4 ("Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender"). In the episode, a drunk Rick concocts a plan to terrorize a team of prolific superheroes by putting them through life-ending challenges and puzzles that take a page from the "Saw" franchise. After a variety of trials and tribulations, Jacobs' Supernova manages to make it out alive. 

Despite surviving Rick's mayhem, it remains to be seen whether the character will ever return to the series. Perhaps the character could even team up with Allison Brie's Planetina at some point in the future?

Jim Rash voiced a galactic marriage counselor

After appearing in a recurring role as Dean Pelton in the first 2 seasons of "Community," Jim Rash was promoted to a series regular in Season 3. The fan-favorite character is best remembered for having a crush on Jeff and for his many elaborate and sophisticated costumes. While starring as the Dean of Greendale Community College, Rash co-penned "The Descendants," which nabbed him a Best Adapted Screenplay award at the Oscars. After "Community" called curtains in 2015, the star quickly made a guest appearance in "Rick and Morty."

The Oscar-winner appeared in Season 2, Episode 7 ("Big Trouble in Little Sanchez") as Glaxlo Slimslom, an intergalactic marriage counselor who tries to help Beth (Sarah Chalke) and Jerry (Chris Parnell) reconcile their rocky relationship. Naturally, not even the greatest marriage experts can tackle their marriage and chaos ensues. IGN praised the episode and the Beth and Jerry storyline, saying "Between Jim Rash's guest appearance and the wacky, violent battle that ensued, the Beth/Jerry storyline was unusually entertaining."

Seeing as Beth and Jerry's relationship has evolved since the second season, it seems unlikely that Rash will return as the character anytime soon. The star more recently voiced a character in "Solar Opposites," another animated series spearheaded by "Rick and Morty" co-creator Justin Roiland.

A medley of other Community stars have popped up in Rick and Morty

Throughout its six-season run, "Community" boasted a variety of guest and regular appearances from high-profile and established actors. A decent chunk of them have also popped up in "Rick and Morty" throughout the years. 

Perhaps the most obvious is Keith David, who appeared in the final season of "Community" as Elroy Patashnik, a failed inventor. The actor continues to occasionally appear as President Curtis in "Rick and Morty."

John Oliver, who most people probably know as the host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," appeared in "Community" as Ian Duncan, a psychology professor at Greendale. In 2013, Oliver also voiced an amoeba named Dr. Xenon Bloom in "Rick and Morty" Season 1, Episode 3 ("Anatomy Park"). 

Nathan Fillion, who appeared as a Greendale custodian in "Community" also appeared in "Rick and Morty" as a galactic secret agent who wants access to Rick's formula for interdimensional travel in Season 3, Episode 1 ("The Rickshank Rickdemption").

Seeing as "Rick and Morty" is still airing, it remains to be seen if other cast members from "Community" will appear in the animated sci-fi series. To date, "Community" series regulars Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Chevy Chase have yet to pick up voice roles in the show.