The mid-season finale of Rick and Morty season 4, “Rattlestar Ricklactica,” paid homage to a number of movies that involved time travel. The episode also explored several classic science-fiction concepts, such as going back in time to kill Hitler or save Abraham Lincoln, that have been done, redone and parodied so much they are practically a genre unto themselves.

The plot of “Rattlestar Ricklactica” focused on how Morty’s attempts to ease his own guilt at killing the first astronaut from a civilization of space snakes spiraled out of control. Despite Rick’s insistence that he should just move on and not worry about it, Morty traveled back to the snake planet and sent a replacement snake that he called Slippy into the atmosphere to replace the one that had died. This proved to be a mistake, as the snakes were all racist and Morty accidentally gave them the common enemy they needed to unite as one race of horrible Snake Nazis out to conquer the universe.

Things became more complicated as it was revealed that Morty was indirectly responsible for saving the Nazi Snakes from a robot apocalypse. This led to multiple-factions of time-traveling snakes and robots trying to save or kill Morty and a lot of awkward moments involving a lot of parodies. Here’s a rundown of every time travel movie reference in Rick and Morty season 4, episode 5.

Battlestar Galactica

The title of the Rick and Morty season 4, episode 5, “Rattlestar Ricklactica” is a pretty clear parody of Battlestar Galactica. While the episode doesn’t directly reference any storylines from the show, Galactica became rather infamous in its final season due to a twist involving time travel that is still controversial to this day. Also, some of the robot snakes sent to kill Morty do bare a slight resemblance to the Cylons.

The Terminator

Even before we hear a narrator talking about “the war between snake and machine,” it’s clear that “Rattlestar Ricklactica” is largely parodying The Terminator and all of its many contradictory sequels. From the army of robot snakes that are sent back in time to kill Morty to the strange flesh-covered monkey robot that was sent by the Snake Resistance to save Morty, the episode is hardly subtle in referring to its source material. The only thing that’s missing is an Austrian accent on the robots protecting Morty.

Back To The Future

Ignoring how Rick and Morty itself started out as an X-rated parody of Back To The Future, “Rattlestar Ricklactica” contains a few nods to the classic time-travel movie. In order to get the space snake race to develop time travel, Rick has to learn Snake Math and translate the theories of time travel into a book that the snakes of 1985 can understand and use to invent time travel several decades early.  This mirrors the basic plot of Back To The Future II, which involved a book from the future altering the past. It’s probably also not a coincidence that 1985 was the “present day” in which Back To The Future was set. Finally, there’s a snake-themed Back To The Future poster on the wall of the lab where Rick leaves the time travel book to be found.


Based on a Dark Horse Comics story, Timecop was worked into a vehicle for Jean-Claude Van Damme, who plays one of the titular time-traveling law-enforcement agents charged with protecting the timeline. Rick and Morty explored the idea of timecops once before, in the season 2 premiere, “A Rickle In Time.” The same Dimensional Time Cops who tried to arrest Rick in that episode appear in “Rattlestar Ricklactica,” eventually solving the problem of the time traveling snakes by beating the first snake who learned how to use to tools to death before it could mate and pass on its superior genes.

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