Why 10,000 Rick and Morty fans are petitioning for the return of an obscure 1990s McDonalds sauce

Rick and Morty szechuan Mulan sauce

In the summer of 1998, McDonalds launched a short-lived promotional Szechuan sauce to coincide with the release of the Disney film Mulan. And almost 19 years later, on April 1, 2017, the sci-fi show Rick and Morty lobbied McDonalds for the long-dead promo sauce’s return, by filling its season 3 premiere with meta references to it. Why this is happening isn’t really clear, but presumably one of the show’s co-creators, Dan Harmon or Justin Roiland, bloody loved that sauce, and wants its return more than anything in the world. Or (more likely) it’s one of the show’s typically weird and elaborate jokes.

Here’s how they did made their case. Like something out of The Matrix or Inception, part of the episode was set inside a simulation of Rick’s brain, where he was able to acquire a portion of the now-cancelled sauce and prove to the Galactic Federation agent that the sauce was as delicious as he said it was.

“In 1998 they had this promotion for the Disney film Mulan, where they created a new sauce for the McNuggets called Szechuan sauce.” pic.twitter.com/iWAszRkm4G

— Rick & Morty Quotes (@rick_morty_bot) April 2, 2017

“Yeah, I’d like to get a 10-piece McNugget and a bunch of the szechuan sauce. Like, as much as you’re allowed to give me.” pic.twitter.com/67XCkwRAuA

— Rick & Morty Quotes (@rick_morty_bot) April 2, 2017

Later in the same scene, which you can see below, a tragic (and presumably false) origin story was shown, suggesting how Rick might have turned from a kindly scientist to a galaxy-roving nihilist after the tragic death of his wife and daughter. Despite all the tragedy, the agent was far more focused on the incomparable deliciousness of the sauce:

Oh, by the way, here’s a cheesy 1998 advert for the sauce:

The episode soon turns to more pressing matters – Rick’s escape from prison – but the subject of the sauce makes a return at the end of the episode, when Rick makes an epic rant to Morty about it once more. Just in case the below YouTube clip of it gets taken down, we’ve transcribed it all:

“I’ll go out and find some more of that Mulan Szechuan Teriyaki dipping sauce, Morty, because that’s what this is all about Morty – that’s my one-armed man! I’m not driven by avenging my dead family, Morty, that was fake, I’m driven by finding that McNugget sauce. I want that Mulan McNugget sauce, Morty, that’s my series arc, Morty, if it takes nine seasons, I want my McNugget dipping sauce Szechuan sauce, Morty, that’s what’s going to take us all the way to the end, Morty, nine more seasons Morty, nine more seasons until I get that dipping Szechuan sauce, for 97 more years, I want that McNugget sauce, Morty.”

There you have just part of the story – because since the first episode of Rick and Morty season 3 aired on April 1, the Szechuan sauce phenomenon has taken on a life of its own, possibly thanks to this tweet from the show’s account:

Please God, I don’t ask for much, please let us gain enough cultural influence to force McDonald’s into bringing back that fucking sauce.

— Rick (((and Morty))) (@RickandMorty) April 2, 2017

They then asked McDonald’s if they wanted to get in on the joke, to which the chain responded awkardly with an adaptation of Rick’s catchphrase, “Wubba Lubba Dub Dub.”

@RickandMorty .@RickandMorty McNugga Lubba Dub Dub. 👀

— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) April 2, 2017

Rick and Morty’s Twitter soon mocked McDonald’s for their response.

Be careful what you wish for.
This makes me uncomfortable. Specifically the “McNugga”.#szechuansauce https://t.co/c8UO7W8gNy

— Rick (((and Morty))) (@RickandMorty) April 2, 2017

Co-creator and Rick & Morty voice actor Justin Roiland seemed incredulous:

Whaaaaaaaaaat https://t.co/qsH8axp6r0

— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) April 3, 2017

And now fans have turned it into A Thing on Twitter:

when you ask if @McDonalds has #szechuansauce and they say no pic.twitter.com/PQ7Ky1zxkM

— ㅤ (@Smittayy) April 2, 2017

I want someone to love me as much as Rick loves Schezwan sauce. 💚@RickandMorty

— Shalalalala🌶🔥 (@Shala19XX) April 3, 2017

Someone at @McDonalds has got to be thinking ‘why are all these people asking for that Mulan sauce back?!?!?’@RickandMorty #szechuansauce

— Alex Nedved (@Nedved92) April 2, 2017

The hints have actually chimed with viewers enough that, just a couple of days on from the season premiere, 10,000 people have signed a petition demanding the sauce’s return, and it’s even got to the point where fans are making campaign T-shirts for the sauce’s return.

There are already unofficial Rick & Morty campaign tshirts for McDonalds’ Mulan/Szechuan sauce pic.twitter.com/bsG6elvx0Y

— Larry Bartleet (@larrybartleet) April 3, 2017

Your move, Ronald…

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