Rick and Morty fans endured quite a long wait for Season 4 — more than two full years, in fact — but the show's future release schedule should be much more consistent given the fact that 60 more episodes were ordered for Season 5 and beyond back in May 2018.
Series co-creator Dan Harmon promised in a July 2019 interview that the wait between seasons "will never be this long again" and his fellow co-creator Justin Roiland said that the production team was "rolling right into the next batch," meaning that work on Season 5 began before Season 4 even began airing. While we still have longer to wait for Season 5, this is a good sign that it won't be another two years between seasons.
The Season 4 finale dropped a few bombshells for the series like the return of Birdperson as Phoenixperson and a second version of Beth appearing. So for anyone wondering when Season 5 might finally air or what might happen during it, we've got you covered.
Here's everything we know about Rick and Morty Season 5.
When is the Rick and Morty Season 5 release date?
Most Rick and Morty fans have learned to brace for long waits between seasons. Roughly 18 months or longer have passed between the end of a season and the start of a new one. That seemingly won’t be the case anymore starting at Season 4, however.
Since Adult Swim ordered the full 70 episodes, there’s no doubt about whether more Rick and Morty is coming. Production will theoretically never stop until all 70 episodes are created, whereas before the production team would stop working until Adult Swim ordered more episodes. Chances are high, however, that forced remote work due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic cause some problems for production.
"We had already finished Season 4, and the writers are working on Season 5 in two-hour blocks through Zoom," Harmon told The Wrap in a June 2020 interview when asked about working during the pandemic. He also noted the benefits of a Zoom-based writers' room where people are logistically incapable of speaking over one another. Roiland mentioned the utility of using digital drawing tablets like Cintiqs rather than a dry erase boards because any images drawn during a brainstorm over Zoom can then be shared.
By all accounts, it does seem like the production team has been “rolling right into the next batch" of episodes, as Roiland promised in a July 2019 Entertainment Weekly interview. So how can we make an educated guess?
Also consider that former Rick and Morty writer Jeff Loveness shared an image to Twitter on September 20, 2019 confirming that he wrote several Season 4 episodes and the Season 5 premiere — and that it was his last day on the show. Based on that, a Season 5 premiere date in late 2020 seems at least possible. But thus far even that doesn't seem likely unless Time Warner takes Justin Roiland's suggestion to "drop an episode each month" to "make it a big event."
Historically, mid-summer is the most popular time for Rick and Morty season premieres.
Fans no doubt remember that Season 3 technically began on April 1 with the surprise-airing of “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” Then, Season 3 continued with “Rickmancing the Stone” on July 30, 2017. Almost exactly two years prior, the Season 2 premiere, “A Rickle in Time,” aired on July 26, 2015.
Since summer 2020 has come and gone, however, it may be possible that Season 5 is tracking for a November release like Season 4. That season was announced in May 2019 for November, but it wasn't until the early October release of the Season 4 trailer that we learned the specific release date of November 10. Based on that, we're probably looking at a five-month lead time from the Season 5 announcement and its release.
In other words, Season 5 probably won't be released until summer 2021 (and that's a conservative guess).
Is there a Rick and Morty Season 5 trailer?
While it's not exactly a trailer per se, Adult Swim did release a "FIRST LOOK" animatic during Adult Swim Con in late July 2020. Described as a cold open from a Season 5 episode (Harmon said he "can't remember" which one), the clip opens on Morty carrying a mortally wounded Rick on what appears to be some kind of asteroid.
Crystals floating by on some alien planet reflect alt-reality versions of Rick and Morty (including one where they are vampire-fighting "Blades"). Then, Morty flies through a closing portal back towards Earth, narrowly escaping a massive, tentacled monster while totally wrecking Rick's ship in the process. Moments before they're about to die by crashing into Earth, Morty calls Jessica to confess his love. She suggests they hang out, which inspires Morty to make a successful crash-landing in the ocean. That's where things get weird.
Mr. Nimbus, Rick's "once and eternal foe," appears out of a giant magical clamshell, like some kind of knockoff Aquaman. Even Rick refers to Mr. Nimbus as his "nemesis."
While this isn't a trailer by any means, the animatic preview is an interesting way to pinpoint where production might be on Season 5. A "Pickle Rick" animatic debuted at San Diego Comic Con 2016 in July of that year, a little more than a year before that episode aired.
While this could mean that Season 5 won't debut until summer 2021, it at least means that some kind of legitimate trailer could be released sometime before the end of 2020.
How does the Rick and Morty Season 4 finale set up Season 5?
In a video interview published by Variety with the show’s creators and voice actors before the start of Season 4, Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland dropped a big hint that the Season 4 finale could really shake things up for the show.
“The finale of Season 4 is really good,” he said. “We get canonical. We get serialized.”
There are also huge canonical implications because now there are two versions of Beth Smith and no way to know which one is a clone. The Galactic Federation has been defeated yet again, though some Gromflomites will always live on to potentially rebuild the empire yet again. Tammy is dead beyond a measure of a doubt, and Rick has reclaimed the Terminator-esque pieces of Phoenixperson to keep them in his garage in a way that feels like a homage to the ending of Shaun of the Dead.
Much like the Season 3 finale, the ending to Season 4 also alienates Rick from the rest of the family. These characters, along with the viewer, have had to reckon with just how terrible a person Rick is yet again. Rick fancies himself a god in this universe, and so does the average viewer by proxy, but the show continues to challenge our expectations in interesting ways.
When the dust settles on Season 4, both versions of Beth seemingly decide to stick around, and as far as lingering plot threads, the only major one remaining is Evil Morty who had a non-canon cameo in Episode 6 and little else this season.
There's a lot that could happen in Season 5: Aside from Evil Morty, we could see the team-up between the Talking Cat and Balthromaw the dragon, Supernova from the Vindicators, Morty's soul mate from "The Vat of Acid Episode," and plenty more.
How many episodes will be in Rick and Morty Season 5?
We can safely assume that Season 5 will be 10 episodes long like most previous seasons.
In a September 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dan Harmon admitted that the original plan was for Season 3 to be 14 episodes long, but creative struggles compelled them to make a “finale-ified” version of Season 3, Episode 10 instead to cap the season. Given the rounded number of 70 episodes Adult Swim ordered, and the confirmation that Season 4 is also 10 episodes long, we’re probably looking at an even six more seasons that are each 10 episodes long.
In that same EW interview, however, they offered a hint that future seasons could be longer than 10 episodes.
“We’re literally writing Season 5 while finishing Season 4 just to force ourselves to commit to a certain schedule,” Harmon said. “Not to get anyone’s hopes up, but it is structured into our deal that if we’re going strong and fast there are options to deliver more episodes at a time.”
Translation: If Rick and Morty production proceeds quickly and efficiently, they might make future seasons longer than 10 episodes — or it could just mean that the Rick and Morty team delivers larger batches of seasons so the show can air more regularly.
What other weird stuff might happen in Rick and Morty Season 5?
Series co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have said time and again that they really want to work with Kanye West on an episode. In theory, they might just give the music star full creative control over an entire episode. Why? Read more.
In late May 2019, Dan Harmon trolled fans lightly via Instagram by posting a large number of Post-It notes with bizarre Rick and Morty concepts, saying that they were all for Season 5. These random ideas sound wackier than ever before, but it also means that the writers were brainstorming for Season 5 more than a year ago. Read more.
Rick and Morty Season 5 will definitely happen one day, probably sometime in 2021.