Solar Opposites Saved By Recasting Justin Roiland With Dan Stevens

When Hulu cut ties with Solar Opposites co-creator Justin Roiland, following domestic assault charges, an immediate issue the show faced was who would now play Korvo, the hot-tempered alien who serves as a parental figure for his team of refugees from the planet Shlorp. Roiland has been recently cleared of the original domestic violence charges, but that hasn’t changed his employment status with Hulu. Thus, enter Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast, a bunch of weird indies you haven’t seen), who was announced this June as the new voice of Korvo.

Within the context of the series, said new voice is explained in the opening moments of the season premiere as the aftermath of an accident involving the original dartboard from Cheers, “famous darts,” and a voice-fixing ray. The result is deeper and more British (including some actual British slang), and when Yumyulack suggests recalibrating the voice ray, Terry (Thomas Middleditch) says, “No, this is working for me.”

Frankly, Terry’s not wrong — it’s working so much better. And it might be exactly what Solar Opposites needs to reach new heights. In this post-#MeToo era, we now have multiple examples of productions finding new ways to go on after upsetting revelations emerged. The exciting ones are when those changes lead to true improvement: Replacing Chris D’Elia in Army of the Dead with Tig Notaro, or bringing in a classy British gent to curse and yell about humanity being stupid.

Co-created by Mike McMahon (Star Trek: Lower Decks), Solar Opposites has always been a show that’s much more under the radar than Rick and Morty (Roiland’s more famous co-creation) on a cultural level. However, since its premiere, the show’s writing has proven to be far more ambitious, especially with multi-season mini-narratives like The Wall pushing the boundaries of how to tell multiple stories at once within the same series.

To briefly explain The Wall: One wall of Yumyulack and Jesse’s room contains a bunch of interconnected terrariums, into which they dump humans who have been shrunk to the approximate size of army men figurines. First introduced in the series premiere, The Wall has become its own ongoing storyline as the residents inside have formed their own society, which by Season 4 has actually led to religious war between factions, as they scrape together survival…

Basically imagine if once a season, Rick and Morty devoted a full episode to the newest chapter of an ongoing post-apocalyptic drama — one, by the way, that stars Sutton Foster, Christina Hendricks, and other A-list talent. And this is just one of the wild narrative innovations the show has played with over the seasons — including the second spinoff-within-the-show, SilverCops, which features Kieran Culkin as a former Earth resident who was flung into space by his alien neighbors and became a space cop.