It’s a question that Red Dwarf fans have been pondering for quite some time – which Rimmer currently appears on the sci-fi sitcom?
The status of Chris Barrie’s character is rather complicated, with multiple versions having appeared across its 12 series and recent feature-length special The Promised Land.
The original Rimmer – who died and became a hologram – featured in the first seven series, before departing the show to become the new version of spacefaring hero “Ace” Rimmer.
The eighth series saw Barrie return as a new human version, created by nanobots, but 2009’s Back to Earth saw Rimmer back as a hologram.
Did the new human Rimmer somehow perish and become a second hologram? Or did the original version return to Red Dwarf at some point during an off-screen adventure? And if so, what happened to human Rimmer?
Speaking on the Two Geeks, Two Beers podcast, series co-creator/writer Doug Naylor confirmed: “[It’s] the original Rimmer.”
He added: “We thought it was a good story [to have the original become Ace Rimmer], but obviously we want the original Rimmer back because… it’s the original Rimmer! So that’s what happened when we rebooted [with Back to Earth, the first episodes made for Dave].”
That’s that resolved, then! But as for how Rimmer mk. 1 returned, and what happened to his replacement, it’s possible we might never get an official explanation.
“The thing, it’s really difficult – if you spend all your time explaining things that most people aren’t interested in, you’re really going to be in trouble and you won’t be allowed to do any more!” Doug said.
“You wouldn’t be able to pitch ‘Quite a few fans are worrying about which Rimmer this is, let’s do a whole film to sort that out’ – they [the broadcaster] would just go, ‘See that door? Close it behind you.’
“Red Dwarf is guilty sometimes of not caring about backstory and if we can do another new good show, we will ignore [backstory] a little bit. It’s always been a bit guilty of that.”
Red Dwarf producer Richard Naylor did offer a glimmer of hope, though. “I think there is a really cool, exciting story to be told there, explaining a lot of those things, but it’s finding the right moment for it,” he said.
Red Dwarf: The Promised Land was a ratings hit for Dave, peaking at over a million viewers – with Doug Naylor confirming that still has ideas for “lots of different stories” if the show were to be recommissioned.