It’s been more than a year and a half since Rick and Morty Season 3 ended in October 2017, but since the week of San Diego Comic-Con 2019, promotion for Season 4 is finally in full swing. A May 2019 announcement confirmed that Rick and Morty Season 4 would premiere in November, and even though we don’t have a firm release date just yet, images and limited information about the new season have been begun to emerge — particularly during the SDCC 2019 panel that included genuine Season 4 footage.
Adult Swim ordered a whopping 70 Rick and Morty episodes in May 2018 that could one day comprise up to seven more total seasons. But co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are optimistic that the show could run for much longer.
Rick and Morty’s popularity exploded during the almost two-year break between Seasons 2 and 3, transforming Roiland and Harmon into household names. Today, the show is a bonafide phenomenon so popular that it compelled McDonald’s to resurrect a formerly extinct Szechuan Sauce. Rick and Morty remains as popular as ever, and that excitement has only grown during the long wait for Rick and Morty Season 4.
Despite a vague release window, we still don’t know that much about Rick and Morty Season 4. But here’s every detail we could find about the upcoming episodes, including possible plot details and production updates, all enhanced with some speculation straight out of an interdimensional data aggregator we forced Rick D-20420 to build from spare MacBook Pro parts.
First Season 4 Scene Has Taika Waititi as Gloopie and Jerry’s Failed App
During a San Diego Comic-Con panel for Season 4 in July 2019, Adult Swim showed a finalized scene from the new season in which Taika Waititi voices a tech-loving alien named Gloopie who helped Jerry launch some kind of app. This is the closest thing to a trailer that we have so far.
We have no way of knowing which episode in Season 4 this happens during, but we know that Waititi will be joined in this episode by another high-profile actor who’ll voice a character of the same alien species Read more.
Mr. Meeseeks Will Return in Season 4
When asked about recurring tropes or ideas for Season 4 during an interview with Entertainment Weekly published July 17, Dan Harmon confirmed that Mr. Meeseeks will return several times in the new season.
“There’s going to be a couple Meeseeks popping up here and there,” Harmon said, a confirmation he echoed later that week during the SDCC 2019 panel.
The eager-to-please Mr. Meeseeks live to complete a task assigned to it by a master before disappearing in a puff of smoke. The Season 1 episode “Meeseeks and Destroy” introduced the concept in one of the series’ all-time greatest episodes. The character later returned in a brief cameo during Season 2’s “Mortynight Run.” However many Season 4 appearances we get, they’re likely to me more like that than as part of a central storyline.
First Season 4 Images Show Rick Sanchez Alone … and Some Dinobots
Entertainment Weekly revealed the first two official photos for Season 4 on July 16, and Rick Sanchez stands alone in both. Recall that at the end of Season 3, the Smith family had united in opposition to Rick. Even Morty stood up to his grandfather to defend his mother, so these two photos imply that Rick might spend some time adventuring alone to what the official Rick and Morty Twitter account calls “the promised land” and some planet full of dinosaur cyborgs.
In this, Rick and Morty seems to be emulating Doctor Who in some fashion. The darkest times for any Doctor occur when he or she is traveling through time and space alone, not grounded by his/her lesser human companions.
What’s the deal with this race of reptilian cyborgs? Are they related to Crocubot?
A Prizeo Charity Contest Will Make One Fan a Season 4 Background Character
Justin Roiland announced on July 11 a new Prizeo charity contest benefitting NEXT for AUTISM and Bergen County’s United Way that will fly one fan out to the Rick and Morty headquarters to meet the team and “get you drawn into a future episode.” Anyone can enter at the official Prizeo page for $10 per entry. The description implies that this character will appear in Season 4:
At the end of Season 3 of Rick and Morty, there were some important questions left unanswered — Is Evil Morty coming back? Whatever happened to Morty Jr.? How’s Mr. Poopybutthole doing? The gag clauses in our contracts prevent us from sharing any details. But let’s just say it’s really weird and about to get a whole lot weirder. Want to see for yourself?
Does that mean the next Rick and Morty guest star could be you? Just maybe.
2019 Adult Swim Festival Includes a Rick and Morty Season 4 Screening
On June 25, details for the 2019 Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles this November were released, and the event includes “a special never before seen Rick and Morty Season 4 screening on Saturday,” November 16.
The official language is vague, and because we don’t yet know the precise premiere date for Season 4, this early screening could be for the premiere or it could be for an episode later in the season. We won’t know until we get much closer. But we suspect this is a good indication that the actual premiere will happen in early November. Here’s why.
Rick and Morty Season 4 Almost Shared a Voice Actor With Star Wars Resistance
In an exclusive interview with Inverse, actor Josh Brener — who voices the alien Neeku Vozo in Star Wars Resistance — revealed that he auditioned for a role in Season 4. “I did audition for a role on the new season of Rick and Morty,” Brener said. “But I don’t think I got it because I never heard back.” Brener describe the role as “a high school kid” but didn’t elaborate beyond that.
In Star Wars Resistance, Brener voices an awkward but enthusastic alien mechanic, and in the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, he voices Donatello, the nerdy turtle with a purple bandana. It’s safe to assume that Brener is typecast as nerdy characters in his voice work. That might be a clue about the Season 4 role he almost had.
Rick and Morty Season 4 Will Probably Include Interdimensional Cable 3
Justin Roiland, who voices both Rick and Morty, shared an image from inside a recording studio on February 8. Nothing about the photo itself is interesting or surprising, but his caption offers a clue: “Idc3 (maybe) @rickandmorty,” he writes. “I-D-C-3” must stand for Interdimensional Cable 3 (sometimes stylized as “Inter-Dimensional Cable,” hence the IDC).
This anthological Rick and Morty episode structure has Rick Sanchez hack into a regular cable box so everyone can watch an entire multiverse worth of television. “Rixty Minutes” in Season 1 and “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” in Season 2 both used the concept in Episode 8 of their respective seasons. (Episode 8 of Season 3 instead went to “Morty’s Mind Blowers,” a similar but different episode style.)
Not only does this post imply that Season 4 will include Interdimensional Cable 3, but it’s also a strong indication that Roiland is recording episodes from rather late in the season, Episode 8 to be precise. That is, assuming the new season follows a similar structure as the previous three.
Is There a Trailer for Rick and Morty Season 4?
Contrary to what many across the internet say whenever Adult Swim releases a new Rick and Morty commercial, there are no trailers or teasers for Season 4 yet. A fully animated scene did debut at San Diego Comic-Con in July, but that doesn’t count as a legitimate trailer.
Here’s one example of a false alarm: On January 2, Adult Swim released a trippy 15-second video clip called “Rick vs Morty.” It featured a bizarre animation style that showed a Shark Rick eating a Fish Morty, a Hippo Rick eating a Bird Morty, and a Godzilla Rick attacking Mothra Morty — among other disturbing images.
Even if the final image is of Evil Morty with his eyepatch, this is just a fun, random commercial that doesn’t mean anything for Season 4.
Many television networks produce these kinds of videos — known as “idents” — as a reminder to viewers in the middle of commercial breaks: “Hey! Watch this cool video. Don’t forget you’re watching Adult Swim.”
These are all super fun to watch, but they don’t actually mean anything for the show. And they definitely don’t count as any kind of trailer.
How the Rick and Morty Season 3 Ending Sets Up Season 4
The Rick and Morty Season 3 finale ended things in a place that felt strangely normal, especially when compared to the Season 2 cliffhanger that left Rick imprisoned and Earth overrun by the Galactic Federation. “The Rickchurian Mortydate” pitted Rick against the president of the United States and made us wonder whether or not Beth was actually a clone of herself — but both of these plot threads just sort of ended.
During the episode, Beth and Jerry reconciled their differences and ended their ongoing separation by rekindling their marriage. In the final shot of “The Rickchurian Mortydate,” the whole Smith family sat at the dinner table, and everyone was laughing at Rick. That’s pretty mundane, leaving it open for Season 4 to go in all sorts of different directions. The last time Rick and Morty felt like this, it was late Season 2.
In the first photos from Season 4, Rick appears without any companion, indicating that he might have some solo adventures in the new season.
What’s the Plot of Rick and Morty Season 4?
Nothing is certain yet when it comes to the plot of Rick and Morty Season 4, but Justin Roiland said the new season maintains a serialized overarching plot.
“We have serialized stuff we check in on now and then that’s sprinkled over the top of strong episodic episodes,” Roiland says. “To fans of the show, they’re going to want to watch them in order.”
Despite a “Simpsons-esque” procedural storytelling structure in the sense that “characters … don’t really age” and the show can keep going forever, Season 4 will have a season-long arc, similar to how Season 3 explored Beth and Jerry’s separation and how that affected all of the characters. Now that they’ve reunited and made Rick the black sheep of the family — especially after seeing Rick alone in the first two Season 4 images — it seems likely that the new season will see Rick flying solo for a stretch.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Harmon and Roiland also confirmed that Season 4 will address time travel in some fashion, namely how Rick’s portal gun allows him to travel forward (or potentially backward) in time. This’ll likely factor into one episode as a key plot device.
One unfinished animatic shown at SDCC took place during Christmastime, when Jerry tries to hang Christmas lights but falls off a ladder. Rick saves him using some kind of contraption before he and Morty head off to space. Read more.
What Is the Rick and Morty Season 4 Release Date?
Adult Swim announced on May 15 that Rick and Morty will return November 2019. The news was revealed during Warner Media’s Upfront presentation, and while we still don’t have a specific Season 4 release date, this is the closest we’ve come so far.
Season 4 might kick off with a Thanksgiving Special in late November, but a new Rick and Morty-themed Dungeons & Dragons adventure book will be released on November 19. Could the show begin the Sunday before or after?
The early screening at the 2019 Adult Swim Festival does make it seem like the premier will happen earlier in the month, and the November 16 screening is an episode later in the season — but that is pure speculation.
The late 2019 launch lines up with our previous suspicions. After all, Mr. Poopybutthole said Season 4 wouldn’t be out for “a really long time” in the Season 3 post-credits scene. The last time the character delivered a scene like this at the end of Season 2, fans had to wait almost two years for Season 3.
Rick and Morty wasn’t officially renewed for Season 4 until May 2018, so even if the co-creators and writers had ideas for the new season ready to go, they probably weren’t working on it at all until late last spring at the earliest.
Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley also estimated in January 2018 that Season 4 wouldn’t premiere until late 2019. It looks like he was right all along.
How Far Along Is Rick and Morty Season 4 Production?
In the July 17 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dan Harmon said that they’re “writing Season 5 while finishing Season 4,” so the team is close to finishing Season 4. He also promises that the time it takes to make new seasons will never be this long again:
“I think it’s safe to say without fear of being wrong that the gap between Seasons 3 and 4 will be the longest and last time that it’s ever so long that it’s ridiculous. I don’t know how fast we can do it, but I know it will never be this long again.”
Here’s some further history about Season 4’s production:
In January 2019, Rick and Morty’s animation supervisor Eric Bofa Nfon tweeted confirmation that Bardel Entertainment had begun work animating Season 4.
For context, this stage of production during Season 3 began in September 2016, and the Season 3 premiere aired about seven months later in April; Then the rest of Season 3 proceeded starting in late July. This matches up to November’s Season 4 release date.
On March 11, Vancouver based background artist Amanda Wong announced via Twitter that she’d been working on Rick and Morty Season 4. She worked previously on background coloring and illustrations for Rick and Morty Season 2. She’s likely doing contract work through Bardel to help with production on backgrounds in Season 4.
On March 15, former Rick and Morty artist Erica Hayes, who’s now a director on Season 4, tweeted, “We’re drawing it!” This is a reference to a popular line from Dan Harmon during the recording of a Harmontown podcast in February 2017. When asked about the status of Rick and Morty Season 3, he said, “They’re drawing it! Once they’re done, Adult Swim will decide when to release it.”
Now that the Rick and Morty Season 4 release date is set for November, that likely means the drawing process is done. All that’s left is the final animation and editing.
How Many Episodes Is Rick and Morty Season 4?
14 episodes was once the ambition for Season 3, but some kind of creative conflict between Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland caused production delays that eventually compelled them to shorten the season to 10 episodes. Now that Adult Swim has ordered 70 episodes, the series will likely never face extensive production delays again.
Who Are the Rick and Morty Season 4 Guest Stars?
Each season usually offers a handful of recognizable guest stars. Season 3 alone had 12 different guest stars such as Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, and Thomas Middleditch, to name a few. Who will lend their voice to Season 4?
In May 2019, Harmon and Roiland confirmed that Paul Giamatti had in a Season 4. They confirmed this in the July 17 EW interview, and added that Sam Neill, Taika Waititi, and Kathleen Turner were also in Season 4.
Back in October 2018, Jurassic Park star Sam Neill tweeted, “I enjoyed working with @RickandMorty last week ….” with a generic photo from the show’s promotional materials. We therefore already knew he was a guest star in Season 4.
“He’s from the same species as Taika’s character,” Roiland said of Neill’s role, “and we wanted a Kiwi flavor to their species.” Could this Kiwi-flavored species be the dinosaur cyborgs revealed in the second photo of Season 4? We hope so.
Justin Roiland has also said he’d love to bring the intelligent white dog Snuffles/Snowball back on the show, which would probably require voice actor Rob Paulsen.
Dan Harmon also admitted in May 2018 that he desperately wanted Ice-T to voice a character on the show, so we’re hoping that pans out for Season 4.
Actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future movies, said in July 2018 that he’d lend his voice to the show. Considering Rick and Morty started off as a Back to the Future parody, that would make for one really exciting guest star. What if he was Rick Sanchez’s time-traveling father?
What Else Are Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland Working On?
In addition to sharing showrunner duties on Rick and Morty, both Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have many other creative projects as well.
Harmon continues his Harmontown comedy podcast with actor Jeff B. Davis and also co-hosts another podcast about racism in the comedy industry called Whiting Wongs with former Rick and Morty writer Jessica Gao. In theory, a third season of Harmon’s live-play Dungeons and Dragons show called HarmonQuest should also be in development. Harmon was also hired in July 2017 to adapt Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan for television.
Roiland has run Squanch Games since it began in 2016. The video game developer with a focus on VR has published Accounting+ and Dr. Splorchy Presents: Space Heroes and then later Trover Saves the Universe. Along with Rick and Morty’s Mike McMahan, Roiland was also hired by Hulu to produce an animated sci-fi series called Solar Opposites, which is set to premiere sometime in 2020.
McMahan is also flying solo on an upcoming animated comedy series for CBS All Access set in the Star Trek universe called Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Both Roiland and Harmon have a lot going on, but as of this writing, Rick and Morty Season 4 seems like the primary project they’re actively working on.
Catch up on the first three seasons of Rick and Morty on Hulu.
Watch Inverse breakdown Dan Harmon’s story circle for each and every episode. It’ll soothe the soul while you wait for Season 4.