19 years ago, McDonald’s temporarily offered a delicious Szechuan sauce for its chicken nuggets as a cross-promotion for Disney’s film Mulan. Little did the fast-food chain know that cartoon co-stars Justin Roiland and Nathan Fillion (of Firefly fame) would reference it in 2017.
In a surprise Season 3 premiere of the popular cartoon Rick and Morty, Fillion guest stars as Cornvelious, a member of a galactic federation bent on ruling Earth and using Rick’s genius for their own purposes. Rick (Roiland) out-smarts the aliens as always, but not before indulging in one of the show’s trademark wink-at-the-camera moments.
Rick explains that he fell in love with the Szechuan sauce in 1998 during the brief time it was available. Able to access a virtual “1998” out of his own memory bank, he orders Szechuan sauce from a McDonald’s, but it is taken away by Fillion’s character who gorges insatiably. Rick ends the episode meta-ranting about finding the sauce again, if it takes him “9 seasons or 97 years.”
But only a few days later, the internet is buzzing about the episode and the sauce. A petition has been launched with over 25,000 signatures pleading with McDonald’s to bring the product back. And it looks like they just might. The show’s creator Dan Harmon has already heard from McDonald’s reps, with executive chef Ashley Lutz saying, “I’ll see what I can do.”
A live-action version of Mulan is set to be released in 2018.