When all is said and done, the wait between Rick and Morty Season 4 and Season 5 will be barely over a year. That’s a huge improvement considering the draught after Season 3, which lasted more than two full years.
Series co-creator Dan Harmon promised in a July 2019 interview that the wait between seasons "will never be this long again." His fellow co-creator Justin Roiland also 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. So it makes sense that we’re now looking at the shortest amount of time between two Rick and Morty seasons ... ever.
Here's everything we know about Rick and Morty Season 5, from air dates to plot theories — and enough calculated speculation that Rick Sanchez himself would be impressed.
Is there a Rick and Morty Season 5 trailer?
Yes! Adult Swim released the first official trailer for Rick and Morty Season 5 on March 30, 2021. It makes for interesting timing considering Season 3’s surprise debut on April 1, 2017 — April Fools’ Day — with “The Rickshank Rickdemption.” The end of March and the beginning of April is officially a major week for the show, especially when we remember that the trailer for the back-half of Season 4 debuted on April 1, 2020.
Watch the new trailer below.
The trailer opens on the entire Smith family — Jerry, Summer, Rick, Morty, and Beth — running through an eerie, foggy wood. Summer and Rick bicker about it being too quiet before things kick into high gear.
We see fully colorized and animated scenes from the “First Look" animatic released during July 2020’s Adult Swim Con. In that trailer, Rick almost dies, Morty crash-lands on Earth when he realizes that Jessica might hang out with him, and we meet Mr. Nimbus, Rick's "once and eternal foe." Mr. Nimbus reappears in several scenes from the trailer, including one where Jerry calls him a “strange, horny ocean man.”
There’s also some kind of Voltron-themed episode where each member of the family gets a super-suit and (presumably) a mecha to pilot. (Is this the same episode where they’re all in the woods?) Morty, Rick, and Jessica also later appear in some kind of arena where the spectators are robot people and giant mecha dogs, so there may be some overlap there.
One nightmarish series of images shows Rick and Beth in bondage gear. Beth looks like Hellraiser. Rick has a swordfish through his abdomen, which he uses to bludgeon an alien. Jerry is strung up in some kind of dungeon in this storyline, so it’s up to Rick and Beth to save him.
One of the more peculiar things about this trailer: There are a series of shots from a very specific angle in the Smith kitchen we don’t see that often. A hologram Rick stops Summer from going into the garage. A bruised and battered Morty is grabbed by the arm to leave with Rick. Some kind of alien in a spacesuit marches through a portal in the garage to attack Rick. Do all of these events take place in a single scene? Or could there be almost an entire episode from a single angle?
In yet another scene, Rick puts the house’s blast shields down, locking Jerry outside while a kaiju-sized praying mantis ravages the surrounding area. Rick’s spaceship is also seen pulling an entire solar system behind it, as piloted by Morty, Summer, and an unknown teenager that looks like it could be a young Jerry. Some small alien wants to be humped, and then there are other scenes of Rick fighting with versions of himself (a tried and true staple of the series).
That’s everything in a nutshell.
When is the Rick and Morty Season 5 release date?
This one’s easy: The trailer released March 30, 2021 confirms that Season 5 premieres June 20, 2021 at 11 p.m. Eastern on Adult Swim. So Rick and Morty is sticking to late-night Sundays.
Mid-summer remains 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” and then 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. Season 4 did premiere in November, however.
Most long-time Rick and Morty fans out there have come to expect long waits between seasons. Whereas many TV shows operate on an annual production and release cycle with more consistency, that’s not the case here. Roughly 18 months or longer have passed between the end of a season and the start of a new one.
When Season 4 was greenlit back in May 2018, it was part of a 70-episode order that likely includes even Season 10. Previously, the production team would be waiting on Adult Swim and Time Warner to greenlight a new season. Since that’s not the case anymore, new seasons should keep coming with regular frequency. The timeline for Season 5 is proof of that.
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” in the finale. The Gromflomite Galactic Federation, Tammy, Birdperson, and Dr. Wong all returned, 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. The Season 4 finale confirms that he did. 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." In a December 2020 interview with Inverse, Beth voice actor Sarah Chalke implied the obvious but did not say it outright: Space Beth will return in Season 5.
The Galactic Federation has also been defeated yet again, though some Gromflomites will always live on to rebuild. 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, but the show continues to challenge our expectations in interesting ways. Rick is, quite simply, a jerk. Why do we love him so much?
When the dust settles on Season 4, both versions of Beth decide to stick around, and as far as lingering plot threads, the only major thing left hanging is Evil Morty who had a non-canon cameo in Episode 6 and little else to do 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 fact 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.