Rick and Morty season 5 seemingly confirms one of the show's major fan theories

Rick and Morty season 5 Diane
(Image credit: Adult Swim)

Every so often, Rick and Morty peels back the tragic, drink-addled onion that is Rick Sanchez and teases out more of his backstory.

One of the most pressing questions is that of Rick’s wife (and Beth’s mother). She is never seen on-screen and has only been mentioned a handful of times – but the season five premiere has dived deeper into their untold history.

Fans have long since put two-and-two together after a "memory projection" during an interrogation of Rick in a previous season yielded an informative flashback. During the scene, a past Rick is confronted by a Rick from the future who wants him unmoored from the domestic life presented by his wife, Diane, and their daughter, Beth. The future Rick then launches a bomb which kills both Diane and Beth – but Rick reveals that this event never happened and was a ruse to trick the Galactic Federation from getting too deep into his memories.

Rick and Morty season 5

(Image credit: Adult Swim)

But what of Diane? Did she ever exist in-canon – or was she just a figment of Rick’s imagination? Season 5 has an answer-of-sorts.

During a showdown between Rick and his laughable nemesis Mr. Nimbus, Nimbus reveals that he and the lovable mad scientist go way, way back. Nimbus says Rick needs his nemesis to stick around as a reminder of how far Rick has fallen.

"If Diane were alive today, what would she think?" Nimbus asks Rick. His reply? As always with the show, it’s wonderfully meta. “Don’t try and establish canonical backstory with me,” Rick snaps back.

Knowing Dan Harmon and his creative team’s love of subverting audience expectations at the best of times, it’s unlikely we’ll hear more about Diane any time soon, but Nimbus’ words clearly cut deep. Sooner or later, that dam is going to burst – and the show might finally find time to explore what really happened with Rick and the woman he loved who may or may not be called Diane.

Relive the show’s greatest half-hours with our rundown of the best Rick and Morty episodes. Then, find out when the next episode is dropping with the Rick and Morty release schedule.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.