Rick and Morty Season 4 isn't finished yet, but Season 5 is already "mostly in the can," according to Justin Roiland. In a recent interview, the show's co-creator and voice of its two main characters confirmed that Season 5 is on track for a quick release (at least by this show's standards), and revealed a plan he's been pushing that could fix the show's biggest problem — and change television forever.
Speaking to SlashFilm, Roiland shared his pitch for how Adult Swim should schedule Rick and Morty Season 5 (and the rest of the show's 100-episode order):
“I’ve been saying we should drop an episode each month, just make it a big event. I like the idea of thinking outside the box with how any show is delivered to the masses. If you do one a month, the show is alive the whole year and you’re still buying us all the time we need to make them as good as they need to be. I’m not saying that’s ever gonna happen, but I have brought that up in the past. That just goes to the point that I have no idea what the plan is for season five. I’m sure whatever it is will be the right decision.” [Emphasis added by Inverse]
It might sound ridiculous at first, but Roiland's idea of releasing a new episode of Rick and Morty on a monthly schedule actually makes a lot of sense. As he points out, it would allow Adult Swim to continuously release new episodes despite the animated show's lengthy production cycle. More importantly, it would fix an ongoing issue with the Rick and Morty fandom.
When new episodes are airing, most Rick and Morty fans are happy, even if they're not getting closure on popular fan theories about Evil Morty or alternate dimensions. But when the show is off the air for months (or years) at a time, it gives those fans a little too much time to think about the show. This leads to unreasonably high expectations, which Rick and Morty seems to be responding to directly in Season 4 with fourth-wall-breaking moments in Episode 6 and Episode 7.
Releasing one episode per month would make each Rick and Morty episode a "big event," as Roiland says, but it would also keep fans from spinning their own narratives that the show can never live up to. Of course, it could backfire, giving viewers just enough time to come up with wild theories about each new episode that Rick and Morty can't actually compete with, but the excitement for each new episode would likely balance out the disappointment of unfulfilled fan theories.
The fun thing about Justin Roiland's pitch for Rick and Morty Season 5's release schedule is that there's really no precedent for anything like it. The only thing that comes to mind is the British tradition of holiday special one-off episodes (which Netflix seems to have co-opted), but that's usually in addition to a traditional release schedule.
Roiland's pitch also seems to be a direct rebuke of the Netflix binge model, which is ironic because he actively pushed for his new Hulu how, Solar Opposites, to release all eight episodes at once so fans could experience its serialized story.
In that context, Roiland may be giving us an even bigger clue about Rick and Morty Season 5. A monthly release schedule all-but guarantees that we won't get any more serialized stories. And even is this is just a wacky idea that network executives will never allow, the fact that Rick and Morty's co-creator is pushing it says a lot about the show's future.
Rick and Morty airs Sunday's at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.