'Rick and Morty' Season 4: Six Big Reveals From Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland
You will never have to wait so long for another season of Rick and Morty ever again. In a new interview, series creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland spilled the galactic beans on the show’s newest season, which among other things, they promise fans the wait “will never be this long again.”
On Tuesday, the first two images of Rick and Morty Season 4 were revealed. Today, an interview with Harmon and Roiland accompanies the reveal on Entertainment Weekly, in which the two creators dish on the newest season.
It will be two years since fans last saw Morty and his grandpa Rick when the newest season debuts in November. We already know that the long wait came down to “protracted contract negotiation with Adult Swim” that led to the network ordering 70 more episodes in May, but Harmon and Roiland further contextualize how quickly new seasons will be released.
“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,” Harmon said. “I don’t know how fast we can do it, but I know it will never be this long again.”
Rick and Morty Season 4 Will Be 10 Episodes
Roiland responded to a direct question about the Season 4 episode count and said that it’ll be ten episodes. This confirms our previous guess that much like Season 2 and 3, the fourth season would be ten episodes long. Season 1 was the only season to differ at eleven episodes.
Dan Harmon previously said Season 3 was originally slated to be 14 episodes, but creative issues delayed production that led to Episode 10 being “finale-fied.” The first few Season 4 episodes could be recycled from that batch of four episodes, but we’ll know more this fall.
Roiland and Harmon Are Already Writing Season 5
One of the biggest concerns for many Rick and Morty fans has been the lengthy wait between seasons. It was more than a year and a half between Season 2 and 3, and the wait between Season 3 and 4 will ultimately be more than two full years. Roiland and Harmon were transparent at how the 70-episode order has affect their creative process.
“There were so many things that had to be settled before we even started Season 4,” Harmon said, “and it’s really safe to say — as Justin says — we’re literally writing Season 5 while finishing Season 4 just to force ourselves to commit to a certain schedule.”
We can assume that Season 4 is nearing completion in the animation stages, which Harmon and Roiland oversee. At this stage of Season 3’s production, the next season hadn’t yet been ordered, so there was no reason to even brainstorm ideas. Harmon shared a bunch of Season 5 ideas via Instagram at the end of May, so the Rick and Morty team is probably writing the scripts for new episodes.
Season 4 Will Have a More Serialized Structure Like Season 3
In the interview, Roiland says that Rick and Morty is “Simpsons-esque” in the sense that “characters … don’t really age,” allowing them to take a procedural approach. Rick and Morty has always followed a procedural story to an extent, but Roiland and Harmon recognize that they had the greatest amount of success integrating serialized plots into the mix.
“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.”
When pressed about which episodes fans should rewatch ahead of the new season, Roiland suggested all of Season 3. Most of Season 1 and 2 are procedural stories that feel like “the adventure of the week,” but starting at the Season 2 finale, the show began to build up narrative consequences and story arcs that lasted throughout Season 3. Rick started Season 3 imprisoned by the Galactic Federation, breaking out in the premiere and inspiring Beth’s separation from Jerry.
Season 3 dedicated a lot of story to exploring how each member dealt with Jerry and Beth’s separation, and it ended with them getting back together. Season 4 will have similar stakes and an overarching plot that’ll make sequential watching a necessity.
Dan Harmon Wants to Show a Scrapped Animatic at SDCC
There’s a Rick and Morty panel at San Diego Comic-Con later this week on Friday, July 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern. There will be teasers for Season 4, but Dan Harmon wants to show an animatic for a scrapped episode during the panel.
“Justin is going to kick me under the desk here, but I’ve been pushing to show at Comic-Con an animatic for an episode that we aborted in the early stages,” Harmon said. “We could fix it, but fixing it would take as long as doing a new episode.”
Rick and Morty panels have a tradition of screening animatics, or black and white storyboard art strung together with unpolished sound effects and voice-over. It’s commonly used in animation production, as a guideline for the filmmakers. At the 2016 panel, they showed off an early animatic (featured above) that previewed “Pickle Rick.”
Season 4 Will Have Several Mr. Meeseeks Look At Me
When asked about recurring tropes or ideas, 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.
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.
Guest Stars Include Paul Giamatti, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi, Kathleen Turner
Perhaps the biggest revelation to come out of this interview was the confirmation of four voice actors in Season 4: Paul Giamatti, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi, Kathleen Turner.
Kathleen Turner has done voice work in the past, including Jessica Rabbit in the 1988 feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well as TV shows The Simpsons and King of the Hill.
It was announced this week Taika Waititi would direct a fourth Thor, and now he’ll be in Rick and Morty. Waititi has done motion capture and voice work for the alien Korg in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, and in Rick and Morty he’ll be in the same episode as Sam Neill (whom Waititi directed in Hunt for the Wilderpeople).
“He’s from the same species as Taika’s character,” Roiland said, “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.
Rick and Morty Season 4 will premiere in November 2019.