Rick and Morty Season 4 won’t begin airing until sometime in November, and as we wait with great anticipation for the return to Rick Sanchez’s chaotic multiverse, we thought it necessary to explore some of the most important lingering theories about the show that might become important in the new season.
Rick and Morty has more than its fair share of abandoned plotlines and forgotten characters. (Do you even remember that Morty technically has a son out there?) There are unanswered fan theories that have been lingering since the show’s first season, and even more pressing concerns only arose in the last few episodes of Season 4.
How many times has Rick migrated into an alternate reality? What are Evil Morty’s real goals? Better yet, what’s his origin story? Will we ever learn the truth about Beth?
From the return of Morty’s pet dog to Rick’s dead friends rising again, here are six theories that could become really important in Rick and Morty Season 4.
6. Snuffles, the “pretty and white” dog, could return
Way back in the second Rick and Morty episode ever, “Lawnmower Dog,” the titular duo went inside the dreams of Morty’s math teacher to incept him into giving Morty better grades, but in the main universe, the rest of the Smith family dealt with their dog, Snuffles, whose intelligence increased dramatically thanks to a device made by Rick. Snuffles built himself a mecha body and even developed a system to outfit many other dogs with similar tech.
Cyborg canines took over the planet for a time, and only after rediscovering his love for Morty did Snuffles take his legion of pups into an alternate reality for intelligent dogs.
Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland has particular fondness for little white dogs just like Snuffles; Roiland has two dogs that look just like him in real life. Of all the characters to appear on the show, Snuffles is the one that Roiland wants to bring back — or at least he said so in July 2017 around the time that Season 3, Episode 2 was going to air.
Snuffles obviously didn’t return in Season 3, but of all the characters to appear on the series that might return in Season 4, place Snuffles high on that list.
5. Birdperson rises again as phoenixperson
Oftentimes, the post-credits scenes for Rick and Morty episodes are kind of meaningless — or at the very least they have zero implications on the bigger picture. One time Dracula got really mad that Coach Feratu was killed, but nothing ever came of that. The post-credits scene of “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” however, gathered a special amount of interest as part of the surprise Season 3 premiere that aired on a loop on April 1, 2017. In it, it’s revealed that the traitorous Tammy had Galactic Federation scientists resurrect Birdperson as a Terminator-esque cyborg called Phoenixperson.
Many of us, this author included, thought it meant Phoenixperson would be important to Season 3. Wrong.
(Necessary background: Rick and Morty’s popularity exploded in the two-year hiatus between Season 2 and 3, so fans were left with that cliffhanger from “The Wedding Squanchers.” Rick turned himself in to the Galactic Federation. Earth was taken over by aliens. Birdperson — Rick’s best friend — was killed. Except right here in the Season 3, Episode 1 post-credits scene, he was resurrected and enslaved by one of the show’s biggest villains.)
Rick and Morty is notorious for establishing cool plot hooks and then abandoning them entirely, but it feels like a necessity to bring Phoenixperson back into the mix for Season 4.
4. Beth is a clone of herself — and she starts a war
The penultimate episode of Rick and Morty Season 3, “The ABC’s of Beth,” establishes the possibility that Rick might’ve replaced Beth Smith with a clone so that she could travel the multiverse on her own adventures.
In the finale, Beth is suspiciously positive and kind towards the rest of her family, so much so that even she suspects she’s a mild-mannered copy of herself. Despite Rick’s promise that a clone substitute would cause zero problems just one episode prior, he tries to kill this version of Beth. Having a “Happy Beth” get back together with Jerry solves the problem of their separation, a key throughline of Season 3, and once Rick is forced to accept this Beth, whoever she is, Season 3 ends with an awkward feeling of normalcy.
For Rick and Morty, however, normal is abnormal.
One really interesting theory someone posted two years ago to Reddit imagines a Season 4 arc that has the real version of Beth return looking for Rick’s help to take down a Council of Beths, but a far more interesting and less misogynistic alternative would see the Council of Beths try to attack Rick directly. Even if this doesn’t happen in Season 4, it would still be an exciting idea for later seasons.
3. The “Ticket Theory”
During Season 2’s “Mortynight Run,” Rick drops Jerry off at Jerryboree (a daycare for Jerrys), and, mainly because of an apparent mix-up with the paperwork, a huge number of fans think that most of Season 2 takes place in an alternate reality with a different Rick and Morty pairing than Season 1. It’s called the Ticket Theory.
Essentially, Rick takes the wrong Jerry at the end of the episode after harvesting some space crystals a little earlier. Two episodes later, during the famous debut of Mr. Poopybutthole in “Total Rickall,” Rick throws those same crystals in the trash. We know that the same Rick who took those crystals walked away with a Jerry, and they all went back to a Smith household that had known Mr. Poopybutthole for years. Most of Season 2 takes place with this version of the family, but we don’t know for sure if that was always the case.
Season 4 could further explore this idea by either confirming or denying Ticket Theory. Even more interesting, it might confirm that some Rick and Morty episodes focus on a pair from different realities.
2. Rick has migrated dimensions at least three times
In Season 1’s “Rick Potion #9,” the entire planet gets transformed into Cronenberg monstrosities, forcing Rick and Morty to migrate to what fans call the Replacement Dimension. Much later during “Morty’s Mind Blowers,” we learn that after Morty messed around with some sentient squirrels, they had to migrate yet again.
If Rick’s only done this twice, then why is he always talking about how he has an infinite number of daughters and grandsons? If Rick and Morty Season 4 takes a bold step forward in exploring Rick’s backstory, then a compelling way to do that would be for Rick to have had some kind of traumatic experience before the start of the series that forced him to migrate into an alternate reality.
The show’s very premise is that Rick reappears 20 years after abandoning his family. He moves in and begins taking Morty on all sorts of weird adventures. Isn’t it obvious? Rick wasn’t across the galaxy or something like that for all that time. The original Rick of that dimension probably died years ago, and the Rick who stars in the series migrated into the main reality because he was trying to escape some threat or otherwise caused some catastrophe in his previous reality.
Which leads us to…
1. Evil Morty Is Rick’s original Morty
In Season 3’s “The Ricklantis Mixup,” Candidate Morty wins an election and executes almost every Council of Rick member to gain absolute power. We later learn that this is the same Evil Morty that messed with Rick in Season 1’s “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind.” We still have no idea why Evil Morty hates Rick the protagonist so much, but the implication is that he’ll be coming for our protagonist in Season 4 — unless Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland decide to avoid using this character for another two seasons again.
Some fans on Reddit have theorized that the Morty who Rick abandons in the intro credits becomes Evil Morty. Maybe Rick Prime’s original Morty was just as smart as he was? Maybe Rick was so jealous that he abandoned that Morty and thinks he’s dead?
In “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind,” an evil Rick robot probes Rick’s memories, and for some reason he has a memory of Morty as a baby — except this Rick has supposedly been absent from his family’s lives for 20 years. This is further proof that the protagonist version of Rick we watch did not originate in Dimension C-137. Evil Morty could be the baby he remembers, and because time still moves linearly despite traveling into alternate dimensions and back, that would explain his two-decade absence.
No matter what the origin of this Morty truly is, Season 3 definitely made it seem like his story would play a huge role on the show moving forward. With Season 4’s arrival, it seems very likely we’ll see Rick and Morty come up against Evil Morty yet again.
Rick and Morty Season 4 will premiere sometime in November 2019.
Watch me break down some theories about Evil Morty: