With its massive multi-season renewal deal, it is only a matter of time before new episodes of Rick and Morty arrive, but so far the details are few and far between.
Rick and Morty is notorious for making fans wait a long time between seasons. The wait between Seasons 2 and 3 lasted lasted almost a full two years, and in that time the delays became a meme of their own. Series co-creator Dan Harmon has addressed these delays on his weekly podcast, Harmontwon, where he assumes much of the responsibility for the wait.
Harmon has been open with his fans about the torturous writing process and the pressure to top past episodes. He also improvised a catchy song in one episode, where he rapped "they're drawing it" through a voice modulator.
"Here's how cartoons work," he said sarcastically. "First you write them, then you draw them. For a really long time."
Here is everything we know so far about Rick and Morty Season 4.
Season 3 ended with the dire warning from Mr. Poopy Butthole that Season 4 would not be coming for "a really long time." However, Harmon, co-creator Justin Roiland and other producers have been more optimistic than that. The writing process began back in June, and Roiland told Polygon that there would be no more long "chasms in between seasons."
Still, June of 2018 is still a full year after the last episode premiered. Just to match their pace from previous seasons, we would need to see a new episode by April 2019 at the latest — a feat that does not seem possible at the moment. Writer and producer Ryan Ridley told Detroit Cast back in January that fans should keep their eye on the end of next year.
"I know how long this show takes to write, let alone animate," he said. "I'd be surprised if there was a fourth season on the air anytime sooner than 2019... late 2019."prevnext
70 New Episodes
Rick and Morty made waves with its incredible pick-up order from Adult Swim. At the end of Season 3, the network ordered 70 more episodes — more than double the 31 that already existed. This made sense considering the series is a global phenomenon, and the increased job security could mean more episodes more often, as the staff is confident and comfortable enough to spend less time tearing their hair out.prevnext
The Return of Evil Morty?
A Twitter interaction back in November gave one vital clue about the content of Rick and Morty Season 4 as well. At the time, storyboard artist Douglas Einar Olsen was posting drawings encouraging people to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
"Aw jeez, do we really want an Evil Morty to rule the Cidatel??" he wrote. One contrarian follower responded, noting that in Season 3, Evil Morty had been legitimately elected through a democratic system. What Olsen wrote back could effect the series in upcoming episodes.
“Guess we’ll just have to see how his administration is faring this upcoming season,” Olsen wrote with a winking emoji.
Guess we’ll just have to see how his administration is fairing this upcoming season! ?— Douglas Einar Olsen (@DouglasEinar) November 5, 2018
That seemingly innocuous comment actually betrays a big reveal for the upcoming season, if Olsen was being serious. The series set up Evil Morty in the Season 1 episode "Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind," then did not revisit him until last season's "The Ricklantis Mix-Up." In the latter, it made some meta-narrative jokes about the continuity-heavy plot line, suggesting that it might never be revisited again.
The episode only touched on the main characters — Rick C-137 and his accompanying Morty — at the beginning and end of the episode. In both cases, they made grossly exaggerated comments that the Citadel of Ricks would never impact their lives ever again. Some fans took this seriously, while others saw it as a joke.
Olsen's tweet may be a hint, a misdirection, or a little of both. At the same time, a behind-the-scenes video seems to suggest that both Justin Roiland and producer Ryan Ridley expect Evil Morty to return.prevnext
'They're Drawing It'
View this post on Instagram
I still not sure what I’m allowed to post #insteadofmakingrickandmortyseason4. Just making sure there aren’t spoilers in this shot like conceptual drawings of Evil Morty in his Evil Pickle Morty Nano-Suit (which can kill half of all Ricks once powered by all 5 poopybuttstones) [SEASON 4 SPOILERS] [[wait do I put the warning before or after the spoiler]]
At least some new episodes have passed the writing and recording phase, judging by Harmon's Instagram. The writer posted a video from the studio showing several artists and animators working diligently on Rick and Morty. We know that the show's fast, partially improvised style requires that the voice work be in place before animation begins, meaning that there is a chance things are running well ahead of expectations.prevnext
Many expect the 70 episode order to increase the number of episodes per season going forward. Season 1 of Rick and Morty had 11 episodes, while the other two seasons have had 10 episodes each. Back in 2017, Harmon told Entertainment Weekly that he would prefer something like 14 episodes per season — a number that is now well within their grasp.
"I would like to think I've learned enough from my mistakes in season three that we could definitely do 14 now, but then I have to say, 'Yeah but you're the guy who says we can do 14 who turned out to be wrong so we're not listening to you now'," he joked.
"The nice healthy way to approach this is I want to prove it with the first 10 of Season 4 — prove it to ourselves, to production, to the network — that it's so easy that we'll earn additional episodes."prevnext
At the moment, the only performer listed on IMDb for Season 4 is Roiland, who plays both Rick and Morty, as well as a host of other characters. However, according to report by Inverse, the entire main cast is also returning.
This includes Sarah Chalke as Beth, Chris Parnell as Jerry and Spencer Grammer as Summer. Season 3 of Rick and Morty was filled with high-profile guest voices, including Susan Sarandon, Nathan Fillion and Christian Slater. Considering the increased hype surrounding the series, A-listers will likely continue lining up to be a part of it.prevnext
Dan Harmon's Updates
Aside from the video above, Harmon has made many Instagram posts with the hashtag "instead of making Rick and Morty Season 4." Harmon has been repeatedly frustrated with his social media followers, as they inevitably tell him to get offline and get back to making their beloved show.
In response, he has taken to prefacing everything with this hashtag, before anyone can admonish him for wasting time.
Some of the posts have shown things that he was legitimately doing outside of work, while others show him in the office. Rick and Morty is made at Starburns Industries, an animation studio founded by Harmon and several others.prevnext
While things have seemed quiet since the Season 3 finale, there has actually been one "mini-episode" online to hold fans over while they wait "a really long time." It features a hilarious and grotesque take on the opening sequence of Up, as portrayed by Mr. Poopy Butthole and his family.prevnext
Kanye West has made it perfectly clear that Rick and Morty is his favorite show on TV right now, and many fans expect to see him in a cameo in this upcoming season. Back in June, Kim Kardashian asked Justin Roiland to make West a happy birthday video in character, which she then posted on Twitter.
After that, the two made plans to meet up and hang out. It is unclear whether this meeting ever actually took place, but in the fall West began sharing all kinds of concept art showing himself and Kardashian in Rick and Morty-style animation. He has not credited this art to anyone, and has not commented on its purpose, but many fans take it as confirmation that West will be diving through portals when the show returns.prevnext
Behind the Scenes
There is also plenty of behind the scenes footage from past season of Rick and Morty, giving fans an opportunity to see what it takes to make the show. By looking at this footage, fans can get a sense of the process and maybe have a better idea of why the wait lasts so long. If nothing else, it provides some interesting fun facts to mull over in the mean time.prev