Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty, has left Starburns Industries, the production company he co-founded. Collider, which broke the news, reports that there’s as yet no official reason for Harmon’s departure. However, it quotes a source with knowledge of the situation: “Dan stepped away from Starburns some time ago to focus his time and attention on Rick and Morty.”
In 2018, Adult Swim renewed the show, striking a deal with Harmon and co-creator Justin Roiland for a whopping 70 episodes. The first half of the fourth season finished airing last month. Harmon previously created the live-action NBC sitcom Community, and is also one of the co-founders Channel 101, an online forum for comedic web series.
Harmon set up Starburns in 2010 with Dino Stamatopoulos, Joe Russo II, James Fino, and Duke Johnson. The boutique production studio has made a name for itself with distinctive animated tv and web projects: its credits include The Emperor’s Newest Clothes, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, and Harmonquest. It produced the first season of Rick and Morty, but production has since moved to Rick and Morty LLC, which operates out of the Starburns building in Burbank, California.
The company entered feature production with the 2015 stop-motion film Anomalisa, which picked up an Oscar nomination. More recently, it was developing Bubbles, an unauthorized Michael Jackson biopic told from the point of view of his eponymous chimp companion. The project has been in limbo since director Taika Waititi and production partner Netflix left it, possibly over renewed allegations of sexual abuse against Jackson.
Two years ago, Harmon made headlines when he spoke about how he has treated women “like garbage” and sexually harassed a former female colleague, Megan Ganz. He delivered the confession on his podcast Harmontown (you can watch a video recording below). The podcast came to an end last month.
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