'Rick and Morty' Season 4 Festival Screening May Reveal an Early Premiere

Could this be a hint at the Episode 1 release date date?

The first Adult Swim Festival ever, held in 2018, featured the “Rick and Morty Musical Ricksperience”, and this year’s event held in November will have something even more exciting: “a special never before seen Rick and Morty Season 4 screening on Saturday.”

That’s right, and episode of Rick and Morty Season 4 will screen on November 16 as part of the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles.

Saturday’s events will run from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific and include all manner of “comedic performances, previews of your favorite shows, limited edition merch, exhilarating games,” and more from Adult Swim’s wider programming slate. There’s no telling exactly when the screening might happen, but it’ll probably occur later in the day. Rick and Morty is the network’s biggest show, so this screening might be the final event at the festival.

In May, Adult Swim confirmed that the Rick and Morty Season 4 premiere would happen in November 2019. The question that still remains is obvious:

When in November will it air?

Here's the official teaser and announcement video for the 2019 Adult Swim Festival

Despite how some fans across the internet are reacting to this Adult Swim Festival news, we don’t know for sure that this screening is the actual Season 4 premiere or just an early preview of an episode that falls later in the season.

All of the official language just says “Rick and Morty Season 4 screening.” If it were the premiere, wouldn’t Adult Swim just come out and say that? A few different possible explanations begin to emerge.

If the Adult Swim Festival screening is a preview of the Season 4 premiere, then the actual premiere will probably air on Adult Swim the very next day: Sunday, November 17. (In recent seasons, Rick and Morty has aired late Sunday nights.)

The Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty official D&D adventure book will be released on November 19, the first Tuesday right after the Adult Swim Festival. The show’s release schedule almost never relates in any way to tangential properties like this, but of the 500 licensed Rick and Morty products scheduled for release this fall, this sourcebook is definitely one of the most important. If the premiere screens during the Adult Swim Festival, then airs on Adult Swim Sunday, that’s just two days before the book’s release — all of that feels like the perfect media blitz to promote the new season.

It’s just as possible, however, that the premiere could air even later in the month, but if hundreds or thousands of people see it at the Adult Swim Festival, spoilers will inevitably leak onto the internet. If Adult Swim waited more than a day to screen this episode, that would seem like a serious misstep. They wouldn’t want the premiere spoiled, which only furthers the assumption that this episode is from later in the season.

rick and morty thanksgiving
We'd love to see more themed episodes from 'Rick and Morty'.

We previously speculated that Rick and Morty Season 4 could begin with a Thanksgiving Special in late November, and while that theory now feels more farfetched than ever, it’s still possible. Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 28, so a Thanksgiving-themed episode would probably air on November 24. If the Rick and Morty team do a holiday episode, it could just be from the middle of the season. Episode 3, 4, or even 5?

But there’s also evidence that Rick and Morty Season 4 could begin airing much sooner in November. Adult Swim isn’t calling the Adult Swim Festival screening a premiere, so the screening could be a preview of Episode 2 or 3 in Season 4. That would mean the Season 4 premiere might air on either Sunday, November 3 or Sunday, November 10. That festival screening would then just a preview of the next episode that’ll air normally a day after the screening.

The best possible scenario for fans is that first option: the Rick and Morty Season 4 premieres on November 3, the season continues airing on Sundays, and fans at the Adult Swim Festival just get to see Episode 3 a day early. We’re still more than four full months away from the premiere, but we’re getting so close.


Rick and Morty Season 4 will premiere sometime in November 2019, and the Adult Swim Festival runs from November 15 to 16.

Media via Adult Swim