Producer managers, supervisors, design assistants, casting assistances, storyboard coordinators and office production workers on adult sci-fi comedy toons Rick and Morty (Adult Swim) and Solar Opposites (Hulu) are beaming up with The Animation Guild (TAG), IATSE Local 839, to collectively bargain for their first union contract. TAG filed a petition for a union election following the request.
“This move follows a request by a super majority of the workers last week to be voluntarily recognized,” the Guild stated. “Attorneys representing both production companies responded to this request by contacting TAG and stating that the productions’ parent studios, Adult Swim and 20th Century Fox [Ed. note: Now 20th Television], were not willing to voluntarily recognize the entire unit as was proposed by The Animation Guild.”
Solar Opposites production manager Kallan Zimmerman offered comment on the move through TAG: “Production workers are the heart of the animation industry and have been underappreciated and undercompensated for far too long. It’s time for us to have a seat at the table alongside our artist colleagues.”
One of cables #1 watched comedies, Rick and Morty was co-created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. The show follows the misadventures of a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez (voiced by Roiland) is living with his daughter Beth’s (Sarah Chalke) family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry (Chris Parnell), granddaughter Summer (Spencer Grammer) and grandson Morty (also Roiland) into intergalactic escapades.
Produced by Williams Street with animation duties split between Rick and Morty LLC and Green Portal Productions, Rick and Morty premiered on Adult Swim in 2013 and has aired five seasons so far. Adult Swim announced an order for 70 episodes back in 2018 — the same year TAG helped the show’s animators ratify a new labor agreement and Roiland took to the show’s subreddit with some (soon deleted) pointed words.
Rick and Morty has won numerous accolades over the years, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program, two Annie Awards and a Critics’ Choice TV Award.
Co-created by Roiland and Rick and Morty writer/EP McMahan, Solar Opposites centers on a team of four aliens who escape their exploding homeworld, only to crash land into a move-in ready home in suburban America. Korvo (Roiland) and Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone) only see Earth’s pollution, crass consumerism and human frailty while Terry (Thomas Middleditch) and Jesse (Mary Mack) love humans and all their TV, junk food and fun stuff. Their mission: protect the Pupa, a living super computer that will one day evolve into its true form, consume them and terraform the Earth.
The Hulu Original series, which first premiered in 2020, is produced by 20th Television, with animation services provided by Green Portal, Bardel and Copernicus Studios. Solar Opposites has been renewed through season four (two seasons currently available to stream).