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Rick and Morty: The Best Rick Variants, Ranked
Michael McCarrick
2021-07-18T21:07:29
Before Loki and other popular franchises embraced multiverses and variants, Rick and Morty helped popularize the concept in mainstream entertainment with different versions of the titular characters in the same show. The Adult Swim show features plenty of Rick and Morty variants from different dimensions who co-exist in an isolated civilization called The Citadel.
While there are plenty of wildly different variants of Morty, there have also been plenty of memorable Rick variants. Here's a look at the most iconic variants of Rick Sanchez, some of which are slightly different versions of the definitive C-137 Rick, and others are completely different.

7. Toxic Rick

Toxic Rick is the worst version of Rick and makes C-137 Rick look like an angel. Toxic Rick was created in the "Rest and Ricklaxation" episode when Rick and Morty had their toxins removed at an intergalactic spa. When Toxic Rick manages to break out of the wasteland he was sent to and into the real world, he tries to make the whole world just as toxic as he is. He briefly succeeds in making the world the worst version of itself before the healthy Rick manipulates his "irrational attachments" by torturing Toxic Morty. Toxic Rick caves in and merges with healthy Rick, all because he cared for his grandson.

6. Cowboy Rick

Also known as Western Rick, Cowboy Rick and Morty made brief cameos in the Season 1 episode "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" while the main Rick and Morty are being taken to the Council of Ricks. Morty C-137 notices them saying, "Hey, whad'ya know? It's a cowboy version of me!" Rick replies with, "Jeez, you're easy to impress." Since Back to the Future helped inspire Rick and Morty, it's only fitting that a Rick and Morty variant pay homage to the Western-themed Back to the Future Part III. Even with no lines spoken, Cowboy Rick has become a fan favorite and even has his own Funko Pop.

5. The Scientist Formerly Known as Rick

The Scientist Formerly Known as Rick was referenced in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" when Rick C-137 was taken in front of the Council of Ricks. Suspected of being responsible for the deaths of 27 dead Ricks, Rick C-137 asks why the Scientist Formerly Known as Rick isn't being taken in for questioning since he too has a history of being uncooperative with the council. The council reveals that he too was killed by the mysterious killer. Even with only a picture of this variant's corpse shown, the Prince-inspired nickname and outfit is a hilarious tribute to one of the most iconic musicians of all time.

4. Doofus Rick

What makes Doofus Rick one of the more staggeringly different variants is that he's genuinely a nice guy and forms a close bond with Jerry. This is the first Rick variant who is actually interested in getting to know his son-in-law, and the two form a friendship so tight that Jerry even contemplates getting rid of his Rick and replacing him with Doofus Rick. When Doofus Rick has to return to the Citadel, Jerry is so upset that he punches a wall. Doofus Rick's bad haircut, buck teeth and kindness makes him stand out as one of the most likable characters in the entire Rick and Morty universe.

3. Simple Rick

This variant of Rick is compassionate, selfless and makes his wife and daughter a higher priority than science. Simple Rick appears in "Tales from the Citadel" in a commercial for Simple Rick's wafer cookie. This Rick works more with wood than polarity plating, realizing that the greatest thing he ever created was his daughter Beth. It turns out, however, that Simple Rick was contained in that wafer factory at the citadel and is forced to relive his happiest memory of giving Beth a present for her third birthday. The brain chemicals created by that happy memory are liquefied and put into the wafers themselves. This is the Rick all variants should aspire to be.

2. Tiny Rick

In the Season 2 episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez," Rick transfers his consciousness into a younger clone of himself. Combined with older Rick's brains and young Rick's teenage rebellion, Tiny Rick is initially created to infiltrate Morty and Summer's high school to stop a vampire. After the vampire is killed, this variant quickly becomes one of the most popular kids at Harry Herpson High School. However, as the episode continues, Tiny Rick starts to take over Older Rick's mind, and the latter can only cry for help when expressing himself creatively, such as through a drawing or an acoustic guitar performance. Older Rick finally takes back control when Summer makes him listen to Elliot Smith songs.

1. Pickle Rick

Sometimes when you're the smartest being in the universe, you need to challenge yourself in unconventional ways. Although Pickle Rick is still Rick C-137 in a new form, this Rick created a new variant by turning himself into a pickle to avoid attending family therapy. Pickle Rick needs no introduction as this Rick variant has become a worldwide phenomenon; the character's absurd hilarity has inspired countless merchandise and is nearly as big an entity as the show itself. Even though Pickle Rick appears in one episode that is simply titled "Pickle Rick," this variant goes through an action-packed adventure with the odds against him, and even makes it to the therapy session.

Honorable Mentions

Perhaps the most dangerous version of Rick is Drunk Rick, who puts Morty and the Vindcators through Saw-like contraptions in "Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender." The Cronenberg Rick takes Cronenberg Morty to the C-137 dimension after accidentally turning their universe into a world of normal-looking people. Teacher Rick at the Citadel, an eloquent version of the usually mean Rick, prepares orphaned Mortys for their new Rick, one of which is Slow Rick who is named Tall Morty. And finally there is the mysterious variant who has Rick's body and hair but Morty's face.
Rick and Morty stars the voices of Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammar and Sarah Chalke. Season 5 airs every Sunday at 11/10 p.m. ET on Adult Swim. 
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