McDonald’s occasionally releases products that coincide with major films or pop culture phenomena, e.g., the McJordan burger in celebration of Michael Jordan, the neon yellow and blue ice cream cone for “Despicable Me” fans, or the double Batman burger at McDonald’s Japan, just to name a few.
These tie-ins are usually just flash-in-the-pan promotions that come and go several times a year. People come in, try what’s new, and then move on to the next thing.
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However, one cartoon couldn’t accept the cyclical ways of the fast food world, and vowed to bring back a limited-edition item through whatever means available.
That cartoon? Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s foul-mouthed “Rick and Morty.” The sauce? A sweet Szechuan sauce introduced as a promotion for the Disney movie “Mulan” in 1998. And the means? A viral internet campaign 37,000 fans strong.
In the third-season premiere of the sci-fi-themed Adult Swim cartoon, which aired on April 1, the character of Rick — a mad scientist-type — professes his love for the discontinued sauce. Since then, fans have been clamoring for the return of this 19-year-old condiment. Two packets even fetched over $14,000 on eBay after that first episode, called “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” first aired.
Well, McDonald’s listened. This Sunday, before the season’s second episode finally aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, co-creator Justin Roiland announced on Twitter that a McDonald’s rep sent him a huge jug of the discontinued sauce.
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The label on the bottle included several references to the television show, which Roiland photographed and posted on social media, along with a victorious message that he finally “got the sauce.”
But not all “Rick and Morty” fans shouldn’t be celebrating the comeback of their beloved sauce just yet. McDonald’s has only agreed to release three jugs of the sauce to a “few lucky fans,” but they have yet to specify how. There are also no official plans to bring it back to stores — though some fans are still holding out hope, as a live-action version of “Mulan” is scheduled to hit theatres in 2018. Only time will tell if the film will once again push the franchise into action, 20 years after the initial Szechuan-sauce launch.