Everyone’s favorite interdimensional animated duo, Morty Smith and Rick Sanchez, have been on hiatus since Rick and Morty Season 3 ended in October 2017. Even though Adult Swim ordered a whopping 70 more episodes of the show for the near future, the only thing on anybody’s mind is when Season 4 might finally grace us with more wacky adventures.
From the creative minds of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty’s popularity exploded during the almost two-year hiatus between Season 2 and 3. These days, the show is a bonafide phenomenon that can force even McDonald’s to resurrect its extinct Szechuan Sauce. So while everyone waits for news about Season 4, intrigue only further peaks.
There’s very little concrete information out there about what Season 4 might entail, but we’ll do our best to round up the various tidbits of information, rumors, and best theories.
On that note, here’s everything we know about the future of Rick and Morty and plenty of well-informed speculation.
Rick and Morty Season 3 Ending
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.
According to Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon in a September 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the episode felt that way because the team “finale-ified” it when they realized they had to cut the season to 10 instead of 14 episodes.
So in the final shot of “The Rickchurian Mortyday,” the whole Smith family sat at the dinner table back home, and everyone was laughing at Rick. That’s pretty mundane, leaving it open for Season 4 to go in all sorts of different directions.
What Is the Rick and Morty Season 4 Release Date?
Adult Swim has not formally announced a Season 4 release date, but there’s virtually no chance that it’ll be in 2018. After all, in the Season 3 post-credits (featured above), Mr. Poopybutthole said Season 4 wouldn’t be out for “a really long time.” 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 was only officially renewed for a fourth season in 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 that point.
Rick and Morty writer Ryan Ridley estimated in January 2018 that Season 4 wouldn’t premiere until late 2019, and that’s really the only straightforward estimation anyone has made.
But How Far Along Is Rick and Morty Season 4 Production?
Analyzing how far along Rick and Morty is in its production does offer one optimistic outlook:
In early September 2018, Dan Harmon announced via Instagram that the Rick and Morty art team was already drawing the new season just days after a different post indicated that voice recording had started. For comparison, in February 2017 Harmon said “they’re drawing it” to a crowd of frustrated fans during a recording of his podcast Harmontown. The Season 3 premiere then aired less than two months later on April 1, 2017.
Take this assumption with a grain of salt, but if the Season 4 timetable matches up, then it’s possible that we could see the beginning of Season 4 air before the end of 2018. And there’s further evidence to support that a new episode could air around Christmas.
While talking about when Season 4 might come out in the Season 3 post-credits scene, Mr. Poopybutthole did say, “I might even have a big, white Santa Claus beard!” Because Mr. Poopybutthole’s post-Season 2 teaser turned out to be almost 100 percent accurate in predicting the Season 3 premiere, we can reasonably assume this new one might also be accurate.
Maybe Season 4 will kick off with a Rick and Morty Christmas Special that shows Mr. Poopybutthole dressed up like Santa Claus? And then the show will continue almost four months later like it did for Season 3?
Has Composer Ryan Elder Began Recording Music for Rick and Morty Season 4 Yet?
In a conversation with Rick and Morty composer Ryan Elder in early October, Elder told Inverse that he hadn’t gotten to work on anything from Season 4 just yet. He also noted that his part in the production begins around the middle and continues right up until the very end.
“I am not involved at all yet in anything with the new episodes,” Elder told Inverse on October 2. “I hope that it’ll be soon, but I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to them. I know they’re writing it, and usually, that means that it’s not too long before I get involved.”
Elder did note that he’d been focusing on the release of the official Rick and Morty soundtrack on September 28 and then the Rick and Morty Morty Ricksperience as part of the Adult Swim Festival on October 7. “My hope is that they’re holding off stuff so that they’ll send me stuff once I get done with this,” Elder said. “But I don’t know if that’s true or not. I literally have no idea. I take it as it comes. When it comes in the door, I drop everything.”
For all we know, Dan Harmon called Ryan Elder exactly on October 8, the day after the Festival, to make all sorts of weird sound requests for Season 4.
Is There a Trailer for Rick and Morty Season 4?
So far, there aren’t any trailers for Season 4 just yet.
Other than random Adult Swim promos, like one done in the style of X-Men: The Animated Series, the closest thing we’ve gotten to new Rick and Morty happened when the two presented an award at the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2018.
The surprise airing of the Season 3 premiere on April 1 was unprecedented, and there wasn’t a legitimate Season 3 trailer until late June 2017 announcing the rest of the season would begin airing at the end of July.
Might we see a more traditional schedule with a trailer before the Season 4 premiere? There’s really no way to know, but we do know that Rick and Morty and Adult Swim like to keep fans guessing.
How Many Episodes Is Rick and Morty Season 4?
There’s no confirmation just yet, but Dan Harmon told Entertainment Weekly in September that their creative team wanted Season 4 to run 14 episodes rather than the usual 10 or 11.
That was also once the ambition for Season 3, but some kind of creative conflict between Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland seemingly caused long production delays and eventually shortened the season to only 10 episodes.
So we’ll believe 14 episodes when we see it made official. Otherwise, we can all probably expect 10 or 11 episodes for Season 4.
Who Is in the Rick and Morty Season 4 Cast?
The entire core voice cast is slated to return in Season 4. Co-creator Justin Roiland voices both Morty and Rick himself. Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, and Spencer Grammer should also return as Jerry, Beth, and Summer Smith as well. Beyond that, it’s unclear what characters could return or what higher-profile guest stars might lend their talents. Morty’s longtime crush, Jessica (Kari Wahlgren), is all but certain to return for at least a few episodes.
Each season usually offers a handful of recognizable guest stars. Keith David’s President of the United States has appeared in Seasons 2 and 3, so it’s reasonable to assume he might appear in Season 4 as well. Supernova, a purple cosmic being with superpowers voiced by Gillian Jacobs, is the only surviving member of the Vindicators. Given the way she parted ways with Morty and Rick in Season 3, she might return to the show as a villain at some point. 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 even admitted in May 2018 that he desperately wanted Ice-T to voice a character on the show, so that could happen in time for Season 4.
Actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future movies, publicly said in July 2018 that he’d be totally down to 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.
When Does Rick and Morty Air Each Week?
Other than the premiere, all of Rick and Morty Season 3 aired on Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. Eastern with episodes being made available afterwards on Adult Swim’s website.
Technically, any time slot within Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of programming is fair game, and that occurs nightly between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. So it’s possible that Rick and Morty Season 4 might get a more favorable time slot.
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 also have 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 Rick and Morty writer Jessica Gao. In theory, a third season of Harmon’s live-play Dungeons & 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 2016. The video game developer with a focus on VR has published Accounting+ and Dr. Splorchy Presents: Space Heroes with Trover Saves the Universe due out in early 2019. Along with Rick and Morty Mike McMahan, Roiland was also hired by Hulu to produce an animated sci-fi series called Solar Opposites.
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 currently working on.
Catch up on the first three seasons of Rick and Morty on Hulu.
Here’s a pleasant little promo video of Mr. Poopybutthole just playing some tunes in the beauty of nature. It’ll soothe the soul while you wait for Season 4.