One of the longest gags in Rick and Morty’s run has to do with a cardboard box sitting on the shelf in Rick’s workshop labeled “time travel stuff.” Co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have a long-standing rule to not mess around with time travel, so they put that box in the garage as an in-joke reminder, but in the upcoming Season 4 — due out this November — that’s all about to change.
Rick and Morty Season 4 will use time travel, or at the very least grapple with a bit of a plot hole established in the pilot episode about how Rick’s inter dimensional portals relate to the flow of time in a way that feels like time dilation.
During a Friday panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Harmon and Roiland — along with other stars and creatives from the show — spoke about the new season and debuted an exclusive scene from an upcoming episode. As part of the proceedings, Harmon admitted, “We never messed with time travel after the pilot, but we do in Season 4.”
Harmon didn’t specifically expand upon what he was referring to, but the only instance that could apply happens after poor Morty fails to activate his grav boots on an alien world when trying to descend a cliff. He winds up breaking every bone in his legs. Rick uses his portal gun to go into a “future dimension” where they have “broken-leg serum at every corner drug store.” Everyone in that dimension was young, making Rick a source of fascination for all the “young ladies.” (You do the math.)
Traveling back consumed the rest of the Portal gun’s charge, establishing that not only does this technology allow Rick to traverse across different alternate timelines, but it also allows him to move forward — and probably backward — in time. (This is also why they must travel through inter dimensional customs.)
This method of travel hasn’t been featured on the show since. In fact, twice Rick would rather migrate into an alternate dimension at the same point in time rather than travel back in time. And that’s just the only times we’ve seen. We have no way of knowing how many times Rick has done this, but the way he talks about the multiverse makes it seem like he has infinite Mortys and Beths and realities to choose from.
We don’t know much just yet about how Season 4 might incorporate this method of travel, but it’s bound to cause all sorts of unique problems in the new season.
Rick and Morty Season 4 premieres in November on Adult Swim.