The Rick and Morty Season 2 finale — “The Wedding Squanchers” — saw Rick turn himself in to face life in Galactic Federation prison, and the Smith family returned home to find that the same federation had taken control of Earth. The surprise airing of the Season 3 premiere — “The Rickshank Redemption” — on April 1 undid just about all of that, ended Beth and Jerry’s marriage, killed Rick C-137’s body, and established Rick’s new character arc in the form of recklessly pursuing a 19-year-old sauce.
Editor’s note: This article is updated as new information about Rick and Morty Season 3 is released.
Since the Season 2 finale aired on October 4, 2015, fans have been thirsting for more Rick and Morty. Co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have learned the pressures of running a hit show the hard way after enduring endless online harassment from fans. Amidst drama, turmoil, and delay, there is still no firm air date in sight for Season 3, but Adult Swim is actively teasing a release this summer.
The production process for Rick and Morty is more convoluted than for some other shows, mainly because after writing the complex sci-fi scripts, the largely improvised dialogue is recorded. Then animators have to spend tireless hours packaging it all together with what’s ultimately a set of new dialogue full of sporadic stammering, burping, and lots of weird sci-fi noises. That largely explains the long process and delays, but hey, at least there’s an end in sight, right?
Other than all that, here’s everything we know about the upcoming Season 3:
[4/25/2017 Update] Episode 2 Is “Rickmancing the Stone,” and It Riffs on Romancing the Stone (1984)
Though just about every episode of Rick and Morty riffs on some other movie, show, or title, the relationships tend to be tangential at best or merely just borrow a basic plot setup. But we know that Season 3, Episode 2 will be “Rickmancing the Stone” which riffs on the Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas film Romancing the Stone.
In it, a romance-adventure novelist (Kathleen Turner) travels to Colombia to save her sister and follow a treasure map. She’s joined by a mercenary named Jack (Michael Douglas) on the adventure, and they eventually get wicked stoned after burning a lot of pot, fall in love, and somehow retrieve a crazy gem out of an alligator’s stomach.
It’s entirely possible that the A-plot of “Rickmancing the Stone” might see Summer kidnapped and Morty having to journey through some sort of jungle, alien or otherwise, to rescue her with Rick. Alternatively, Rick and Morty might play the “Jack” in this scenario, selfishly trying to smuggle some exotic goods while falling coincidentally into someone else’s adventure (much like in “Look Who’s Purging Now”). Either way, there will more than likely be some kind of exotic gemstone that Rick will want to get his hands on, and Morty will likely get bogged down in the ethics of it all and develop a crush on some girl, as he tends to do.
[4/5/2017 Update] Rick Will 100% Become a Pickle
We already knew — based on a roughly sketched clip that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 — that Rick would somehow become a Pickle. But a Season 3 promo, featured above, shows Pickle Rick reveal himself to Morty in the garage, teasing the new season’s release this summer. “Big reveal!”
[4/5/2017 Update] Tammy Is Alive and Has an Enslaved Cyborg Birdperson
In “The Rickshank Redemption” post-credits scene, we saw that not only was the infamous Tammy still alive, but she had a team of Gromflomite scientists transform Birdperson’s dead body into an avian cyborg calling itself the aptly named “Phoenixperson.” We’ve already talked about how this will mess Rick up, as their bond has been solidified by both canon band pictures and fan art alike. We might not see them again in Episode 2, but expect this pair to play a prominent role at some point.
[4/5/2017 Update] Rick’s New Character Arc Is All About McDonald’s Mulan Szechuan Teriyaki Sauce
In the final moments of the Season 3 premiere, Rick straight-up tells Morty (and viewers), “I want that Mulan McNugget Sauce, Morty! That’s my series arc, Morty!” The joke that started as Rick and Morty at its most random became a viral phenomenon in the days following the premiere. The sauce was a real thing in 1998, people really want to try it right now, other people are selling pictures of it on eBay, and McDonald’s just might get convinced to bring it back. It remains to be seen truly how much Rick’s lust for the sauce will factor into Season 3.
[4/1/2017 Update] Season 3 Premiere Airs April 1, Promising New Episodes This Summer
In a surprise and inconceivably 100 percent real move, Adult Swim dropped the Season 3 premiere on April Fool’s Day as some sort of looping live stream, but if you still want to catch it, you’ll have to check here. Nathan Fillion guest starred as a Gromflomite prison guard, and the network promises new episodes this summer.
[3/29/2017 Update]: An IMDb Flub Gives False Hope
For a brief moment, we thought we had it. The impending release of Season 3 was shown on the Rick and Morty IMDb page as April 24, 2017.
It’s unclear where this premiere date came from, but we know how IMDb works. And that piece of information, unfortunately, is bogus. Back to anxiously awaiting any confirmed news of the third season’s whereabouts.
Jerry’s Old Company Has a New Alien CEO
In a post on GalacticFederation.com, fictional journalist Drangle Meepmoop wrote up a profile of the new alien at the head of advertising company Haas + Milan: Kl’iiik Mijupsrit. Haas + Milan happens to Jerry’s former employer and his current employer; you’ll remember Jerry got a job assignment at the very end of Season 2.
Mijupsrit is a Grunglorkian and the new as CEO, having succeeded Mr. Marklovitz, the human you’ll remember as a puppet-like “yes man” in the episode “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” for his reaction to Jerry’s “Hungry for apples?” campaign.
Kl’iiik Mijupsrit has a bold new vision for the company, saying “It’s time for Earth brands to reach an intergalactic audience, and introduce a whole new range of products to humans.” Under his direction, the company has had successes such as being able to “sear ads directly onto the consumer’s ocular orbs” of humans. It’s unclear how much Kl’iiik Mijupsrit will factor into the new season, but we’ll all take discomfort just in knowing that he’s there.
The Galactic Federation Controls Earth at the Start of Season 3
Believe it or not, the craziest thing to happen after the Smith family’s arrival on a Gromflomite-occupied Earth was not Jerry actually getting a job, but the wild influx of alien immigrants and tourists flocking to the planet.
The website also has a section for surveillance videos where you can see Jerry playing a game on his tablet while pooping and Beth swirling a glass of red wine; in the background, the subjects in all of the family photographs have been replaced with Gromflomites. Completely missing from both photos and surveillance are Morty and Summer.
And on March 16, the nearly inscrutable Rick and Morty Rickstaverse Instagram account revealed an expansion to its bizarre point-and-click adventure that now allows you to explore various changes that have happened on Earth via individual Instagram panels. Tourism shops sell F- and I-shirts in addition to T-shirts in order to suit all body types, Summer is fretfully eating soup in a Whole Foods knock-off, and the Smith family is adjusting to life at home under Gromflomite occupation. There are armed Gromflomites atop buildings, the Devil has some sort of deal with the Gromflomite Prison General (see below), and Morty’s permanent crush Jessica is now dating some buff alien.
Season 3 is Definitely Coming…Eventually
Adult Swim announced on August 12, 2015, that Rick and Morty would go on for a third season, which was less than halfway through the airing of Season 2. So, despite jokes from co-creator Justin Roiland pointing towards the contrary, a third season is 100 percent coming at some point. The when is what’s in question.
Mr. Poopybutthole Said It’s Coming Out No Sooner Than April 2017
Mr. Poopybutthole starred in a YouTube video that released only two days after the Season 2 finale aired. After a scuffle with a pizza delivery man, he writhes on the floor a bit and breaks the fourth wall enough to tell the viewer that they can “tune into Rick and Morty Season 3 — in like — a year and a half … or longer!” That would put the expected release date on April 6, 2017 … or longer. Even if Season 3, Episode 1 aired Sunday, April 30, Mr. Poopybutthole’s premonition would still technically be true, so we still have quite a bit of time for his prophecy to be fulfilled.
Note: The GalacticFederation.com viral site includes a “live” video feed of Mr. P’s current whereabouts, and he’s in that same living room petting his cat. You can also explore his house yourself in the Rickstaverse.
Season 3 Was Written by a More Diverse Writers’ Room
Co-creator Dan Harmon told Den of Geek the following:
“There was a craving for a gender balance in the writers’ room that we had never had, but I’m also very proud of the fact that we didn’t compromise ourselves following that craving. … We’ve gone from a bunch of dudes shooting Nerf guns at each other and asking each other questions about women that we don’t know the answers to … I think it’s like a 50/50 balance now, like in the early days of Community, which is really great. Because I think the important thing about gender in the writers’ room is not representation, it’s balance.”
Among a number of other additions is Jessica Gao, who penned Episode 3 of the upcoming season.
Writing Has Been a Long, Frustrating Process — But It’s Done Now
Writing for Season 3 had been a long and grueling process with a myriad of conflicting reports from both Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, along with other staff writers like Mike McMahan, who — based on a tweet — wrapped his role by November 11, 2016. According to IndieWire, Harmon told a crowd at Sundance that much of the delay has been a result of conflict between the two co-creators:
“We have fights all the time and then we have fights about why we’re having fights. Well, we didn’t fight during Season 2, that’s why it’s taking longer! All this fighting! So OK, let’s stop fighting!”
All that being said, the scripts are 100 percent written, and the overall production process is in the later stages. Don’t blame it on there being too many cooks for this one.
Voice Recording Started More Than a Year Ago
Mike McMahan, one of the writers on Rick and Morty, tweeted the above image to tease that the voice work had begun on Season 3 over a year ago. Unfortunately, the episode title was redacted.
Season 3 Premiere Will Feature an Unlikable Gromflomite Prison General
The official Rick and Morty Twitter account tweeted some production art in August 2016 that featured a new character called “Gromflomite Prison General,” who’s sporting something of the Gromflomite equivalent of a dadbod (they’re mostly lean, bug-like aliens). He’s likely some kind of warden, and we’re bound to dislike him.
All of Rick’s Equipment Is Gone
We’ve known this one for awhile, but the Smith Family garage is looking like it’s back to “normal” in this piece of Season 3 production art. Following his imprisonment, Rick’s former home was stripped of all the gadgets. It was probably the Galactic Federation cleaning the place out, but here’s to hoping that Morty was able to salvage something.
The Season 2 Cliffhanger Will Resolve Itself Very Quickly
In an interview with Den of Geek, Dan Harmon had the following to say about lingering tensions over the Season 2 finale cliffhanger:
“I don’t think anybody wants to do a third season that simply spends a whole bunch of episodes dealing with a situation that we created at the end of the second season. So I think that’s a non-spoiler way of saying things should be okay pretty quickly.”
It’s safe to say that Rick won’t be in prison for very long, and the show will resume the more procedural status quo by Episode 2.
Season 3, Episode 2 Is Titled “Rickmancing The Stone”
Spencer Grammer, the voice of Morty’s sister Summer, shared the above script for Season 3’s second episode, “Rickmancing The Stone.” Typical of the show, the name is a clear riff on some other story title or phrase. In this case, it’s a riff on Romancing the Stone, a 1984 adventure film that feels like an Indiana Jones rip-off.
“Rickmancing The Stone” will apparently feature a “giant piano” in some fashion, based on a sliver of text from the script. Keep in mind that more often than not, the naming conventions for episodes are only loosely associated with the actual plot. Beyond including the sci-fi trope of falsely implanted memories, the episode “Total Rickall” has very little to do with any version of Total Recall, Schwarzenegger or otherwise.
Ryan Ridley & Dan Guterman Co-Wrote Episode 7 of Season 3
Ryan Ridley served as producer on the show and a voice actor for a slew of minor characters, including the upcoming “Alien 32,” but he also had a hand in writing great episodes like “Meeseeks and Destroy” and “Look Who’s Purging Now.” Dan Guterman, on the other hand, has written for The Onion, The Colbert Report, and Community, in addition to several previous Rick and Morty episodes. This pair previously co-wrote on “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate,” so they are back at it again for another “Great Collaboration” in Season 3.
More Mr. Meeseeks Likely in Season 3
Dan Harmon himself said late in 2015 at a Comic Con appearance: “I’m going to make that a personal promise to myself. I’m going to force Mr. Meeseeks into Season 3.” Expect more from this fan-favorite character(s). The creator diagnosed Community’s failure due to it becoming too much of an “inside-joke show.” It’s something they tried to avoid for Season 2: “There was a heavy impulse in Season 2 to not call anything back from Season 1.” The third season is slated to be different, but the co-creators did confirm that fan-favorite Evil Morty would not make an appearance.
Pickled Rick Will Fight Rats
No, he’s not just pickled from all the booze. A very rough Season 3 Exclusive, that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, shows a scene in which Rick is literally a pickle and has to use his wits and limbs from fallen bugs and other garbage to defend himself from an onslaught of wild rats. The ensuing violence and chaos is about on par with a sewer-based Purge, and it involves a horrific machine that uses rat brains to biologically enhance Rick’s pickle.
Rick and Morty Destroy a Butthole-Looking Death Star
In an exclusive reveal on Adult Swim’s in-house livestream show, Development Meeting, the very rough above clip shows Morty striking out yet again with his long-time crush, Jessica, before going on an adventure with Grandpa Rick to retrieve a “plasma shard” owned by a princess in the “Abadango Cluster.” In a harrowing space attack, the pair destroys the power core to a vast alien ship and escape the ensuing explosion in a very obvious riff on the original Star Wars, complete with the award ceremony. What you never got at the end of A New Hope was any sort of complete mental breakdown like that which both Rick and Morty have at the end.
Season 3 Will Have 14 Episodes
During a lengthy Q&A session at Magic City Comic Con in January 2016, Dan Harmon confirmed (at about the 11:08 mark) that Season 3 will have 14 episodes, which is an increase from the 11 episodes of Season 1 and 10 episodes of Season 2.
Where Production Was As of February 6, 2017: “They’re drawing it.”
During a live recording of his comedy podcast Harmontown — with a video recording published February 8, 2017 — Dan Harmon fielded a question about the Rick and Morty Season 3 release, and he launched into a heavily autotuned musical answer that explained the process of producing a complex animated series. The main takeaway? “They’re drawing it.” The only description for the YouTube video says “shitpost,” which pretty accurately sums up Harmon and co.’s annoyance at pestering fans these days.
That “Rick and Morty - New Clip” Is a Rick(and Morty)roll
On February 20, 2017, Adult Swim released a video called “Rick and Morty - New Clip” that predictably sent fans into a rabid frenzy. The confusing supercut of spliced dialogue clips from the show recites the lyrics to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” — which makes this a somewhat dense Rickroll that isn’t as obvious as others. It’s pretty much the lamest meme-trick in existence at this point.
So When in the Squanch Is Season 3 Coming Out?
We don’t know exactly when! Adult Swim said this summer. But we will definitely tell you when we know. In the meantime, catch up on these important episodes.
This article was originally published on March 14, 2017. It was last updated April 25, 2017 (9:56 a.m. Eastern).Photos via 'Rick and Morty' Wiki, Nerdist, GalacticFederation.com, YouTube, Adult Swim, Rick and Morty Wiki, Nexus Mods, imgur, The Daily Dot