Rick and Morty and released the first preview for Season 6 Episode 7, which will apparently include a parody of Denis Villeneuve's Academy Award-nominated sci-fi/drama film, Arrival. As you can clearly see in the preview footage, the Rick and Morty episode will see Earth invaded by a mysterious alien armada. Morty tries to deny the latest planet-threatening calamity has anything to do with him – but needless to say, at this point he has trouble convincing those around him that it's true.
It takes just one comparative look at the alien ships in Arrival to know that Rick and Morty is for sure paying homage to Villeneuve's work. It will be interesting to see just how much of the larger storyline for Arrival the episode does or does not borrow. Furthermore, while Arrival seems like a fine reference point to start with, this mass invasion of Earth also seems like it could definitely be a story that advances some of the main story thread developments for Rick and Morty Season 6 – depending on who is doing the invading, and why. Rick and Morty Season 6 has definitely upped the stakes for the series in terms of big bad villains and their goals...
There's definitely room for Rick and Morty to also go for a deeper character story, based on the story beats of Arrival. Villeneuve's film chronicled the phenomenon of alien ships appearing at various places on Earth. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner played two members of a science team brought in to help translate the aliens' mysterious form of communication and language. An alternate storyline seems to show how Adams' character had the tragic experience of raising a daughter who eventually got a rare disease and passed away. As Adams' character seems to get closer to figuring out the aliens' communicative method, the memories of her experiences as a mom become more and more vivid.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ARRIVAL FOLLOW!
The third act twist of Arrival is Amy Adams' character finding out that the aliens do not experience linear time. The "language" they are teaching humanity is actually a benevolent act, that can teach humans to see future events and avoid species-ending catastrophe. The rub is that the film reveals that Adams' character wasn't seeing memories of her tragic past – she was seeing memories of a tragic future, one in which she and Renner's characters fall in love after working on the alien project together, and have a daughter who gets an incurable disease. When Adams finally tells him the secret of her future-seeing power, years later, Renner will leave her.
Arrival was a powerful parable about the nature of human existence and how we perceive it. The question of whether we would still live out our lives if we could see all the good, bad, and ugly in advanced is exactly the sort of head-trip that Rick and Morty loves to throw at fans.
Rick and Morty Season 6 airs new episodes Sundays on Adult Swim.