Rick Moranis could have come out of retirement to voice a demon-slaying version of himself in a bizarre cartoon series for Adult Swim, but the network ultimately passed on the idea. Very well known for his classic roles in movies like Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Moranis walked away from acting in 1997 to focus on raising his children following the death of their mother. He has since stepped out of his unofficial retirement with a couple of special appearances, but Moranis almost marked his return with a starring role in a bizarre cartoon series on Adult Swim called The Gatekeeper.
Details of The Gatekeeper were revealed by Austin and Colton Stock of Rare Bird Games in a video posted to YouTube. The concept originates from an Adult Swim pitch contest at Comic-Con 2017, with the pair developing the story while waiting in line. With great energy and enthusiasm, their friend Albert explained the concept in detail, and the original pitch in full can be seen in the video clip. They won the contest with their unique idea, and although pre-production had begun with concept art for the show developed, Adult Swim would ultimately pass on the project before officially ordering it to series.
The Gatekeeper would have followed a teenage boy who wins a cereal box contest to personally meet Moranis. He is flown out to northern Alberta, Canada, to meet the Big Bully actor, where he is housed in a cabin with Moranis nowhere in sight. The boy encounters a demonic creature and faces certain doom, when suddenly, “a topless Moranis strikes down with a mighty blow, decapitating the creature.” As it turns out, Moranis has transitioned from acting into hunting demons, and the boy decides to follow in the former actor’s footsteps.
“Rick Moranis reveals the true reason for his absence,” Albert explains in the video. “He sacrificed his acting career to become the Gatekeeper between our world and Hell itself. This show is filled with intrigue, comedy, mythical creatures, and Rick Moranis’s butler, a giant mantis named the Morantis. We may never encounter the return to the silver screen, but we can rest easy knowing that he watches over us. The Gatekeeper.”
So, what happened? According to Rare Bird Games, they had spent the following year developing artwork for the show. This even includes artwork from Rick and Morty artist Joshua Barish, and the visuals of what could have been look amazing. Still, the pair say that Adult Swim chose to shut the series down before it could make it any further into production, simply because “they felt nobody would know who Rick Moranis was.”
Although the Adult Swim series was off the table, Moranis would still come out of retirement to provide the voice of his classic Spaceballs character for an episode of The Goldbergs in 2018. He has also begun making sporadic appearances as himself, which includes stepping onto the screen for a video commercial with Ryan Reynolds. The actor has also signed on to reprise the role of nutty inventor Wayne Szalinski in a new Honey, I Shrunk the Kids reboot with Josh Gad playing his son.
Now that the powers that be at Adult Swim can see just how happy people are to see Moranis return, there’s still a chance The Gatekeeper could get made on the network. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Concept art for the unmade series can be seen in a gallery on Imgur. You can also learn more about the pitch for The Gatekeeper in the YouTube video below, courtesy of Rare Bird Games.