How ‘Rick and Morty’ Actor Ian Cardoni Channeled His Relationship With His Wife for Season 7 Finale

  Showrunner Scott Marder also teases Rick and Evil Morty as “the 10-season arc” to the Adult Swim series  

Rick and Morty
"Rick and Morty" Season 7 (Photo Credit: Adult Swim)

Historically, “Rick and Morty” has ended its seasons with a “big shoot ’em up” episode, aka a high-action, high-octane and highly canonical episode that often influences the course of series for seasons to come. That’s not the approach Season 7’s conclusion takes.

Written by Heather Anne Campbell and directed by Eugene Huang, “Fear No Mort” is one of the most intimate and introspective episodes this series has ever aired. Rick (Ian Cardoni) and Morty (Harry Belden) learn of a “fear hole” located inside of a Denny’s bathroom, a portal that forces those who enter to face their absolute worst fears. Desperate to feel something close to terror again, Morty jumps through the hole, setting off an adventure in which Rick is reunited with his lost love Dianne (Kari Wahlgren) and Morty has to confront what he truly means to his grandfather.

Cardoni found Rick’s Season 7 arc “compelling,” especially the character’s recent embrace of therapy. But actually having Dianne in Season 7’s finale was “really cool” both practically and emotionally for the actor.

“This is a human being who lived, was important to Rick, is important to Rick and lives on, in a way. Rather than have Dianne just be a name that’s thrown away it was incredible to have another scene partner, another person in Rick’s life that can move him,” Cardoni said.

He was also able to channel his own experience into the episode’s performance. “I’m a newlywed myself. So to approach a husband-wife dynamic from that side, just from my own personal life, was interesting. I got to bring more of my own emotions to the role, which was fun.”

As for Belden, who carried the other half of the emotional weight of this episode, he focused on leaning into what he believed would be authentic to the character.

“It was really cool to see that the writers in the show weren’t afraid to delve into these heavy concepts and explore what Morty’s natural, honest reactions would be to all of these absolutely insane things happening to him,” Belden said. “I had a blast.”

“To find an episode that gave us a window into the relationship and the core of everything felt like a really cool, nice love letter and just a different way to end our season,” showrunner and executive producer Scott Marder told TheWrap. “We felt like we did our big shoot ’em up in the middle. This was a nice ending to put a button on that.”

“The idea behind [the episode] is really we want to do a canonical episode but unlike any we’ve done before where it really focuses on the characters’ growth but you still get inklings of cannon that may or may not be real in a very 301 way,” writer Steve Levy told TheWrap, referencing Season 3’s trippy “The Rickshank Rickdemption.”

Though the Season 7 finale isn’t as canonically ambitious as other finales, Marder called the episode a “cool, kismet piece of connective tissue” that ties back to the most plot-heavy episode this season, “Unmortricken.” After six and a half seasons that quietly told the story of Rick searching for the man who killed his wife, “Unmortricken” ended with Rick killing his nemesis, Rick Prime.

“Diane, for lack of a better word, she’s like the Voldemort,” Marder said. “She’s the thing that completely drives Rick but he never talks about. And then 705 explains why he kept pursuing Rick Prime to a point where she got erased across everything.”

Levy noted that two of the most difficult episodes to break this season were these two bookends, “Unmortricken,” because the team had to “thread that needle” of paying off this massive confrontation, and “Fear No Mort.”

“We didn’t put an end to the Rick Prime story because we found him burdensome,” Marder explained. “We felt like he served a purpose in leveling up Evil Morty, who’s the true counterpart to Rick.”

The team also felt like the major midseason death was a “nice surprise” fans “wouldn’t see” coming.

“It helped recenter and put the attention where it belongs on the two people — well, three people if you want to count Morty — but the people that people cared about from day one,” Marder said. “We don’t want to try and steal Evil Morty’s thunder because he’s really important to us. And the stuff that we’re writing down the line is all keeping that in mind. They’re the 10 season arc. They’re the thing going on in the background.”


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