The wait between Rick and Morty Season 3 and Season 4 lasted more than two full years, but it's starting to seem like we won't have to wait nearly as long for Season 5. Particular after Adult Swim Fest 2020 in mid-November, the show's production is on track, even if we don't have a release date just yet.
The show's future release schedule should be much more consistent given the fact that 60 more episodes were ordered back in May 2018, but series co-creator Dan Harmon also promised in a July 2019 interview that the wait between seasons "will never be this long again." 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.
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. The Season 4 finale aired on May 31, 2020. Does that mean we'll have to wait until November 2021?
Speaking during a digital-only PaleyFest NY in October 2020, Dan Harmon noted that productivity for the team has only increased during the pandemic.
"We're more on schedule than we've ever been," he said. "It kind of makes you have to focus on the whole process when you don't have this office environment anymore. Everyone has to run this bee colony remotely, so the honey just gets made more consistently. It's working for us." He also noted that he was reviewing an animatic for a "late Season 5 episode" while also being "very late [in the process of] writing Season 6," specifically the finale. He even theorized they might already be working on Season 7.
Harmon also previously revealed in a June 2020 interview with The Wrap that the team had already begun work on Season 5 by the time the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States circa March 2020. So based on these comments, we have a good sense of how far along Season 5 could be.
Rick and Morty director Erica Hayes told Inverse that it can take nine months to a year to go from an episode’s ideation and writing to the finished product. That may vary or increase given how complex animation on the series has gotten, but it's still a valuable benchmark nonetheless.
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.
If that were the case, however, they would have announced a release date at Adult Swim Fest.
Season 4 was announced in May 2019 for November, but it wasn't until the early October release of the 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.
Historically, mid-summer is the most popular time for Rick and Morty season premieres. 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. But given the Season 4 premiere in November, we can't really rely on past seasons to predict upcoming ones.
So in all likelihood, we're probably looking at sometime in early- to mid-2021 for the Season 5 premiere. May 2021 feels like the best-case scenario.
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?
Just like Justin Roiland teased in an interview with Variety, the Season 4 finale got "canonical" and "serialized.” It brought back serialized elements like the Gromflomite Galactic Federation, Tammy, Birdperson, and Dr. Wong. But there was also the introduction of a second Beth commonly referred to as "Space Beth."
A Season 3 episode hinted that Rick may have cloned Beth, but now we have no way to know which one is a clone. "Space Beth was not a one-off character," Harmon confirmed during Adult Swim Fest 2020. "That's a thing that could have been the case." So we can safely expect her to return in Season 5.
The Galactic Federation has also 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.