When Will Rick and Morty Season 5 Happen?


The wait between Rick and Morty season 3 and season 4 took somewhere between forever and forever and a half. Or at least that’s what it felt like in the moment. In reality, the delay ended up being just over two full years. That’s a unit of time that “A Song of Ice and Fire”, Venture Bros., and Curb Your Enthusiasm fans like to call a “blink of an eye.” 

The good news is that Rick and Morty season 5 is likely to arrive quicker, if not much quicker than season 4 did. There was a rather specific reason for the season 4 delay. Unbeknownst to all, Adult Swim and Rick and Morty co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland were working on a deal that would keep the pair and the show at the network for a long time. Harmon and Roiland’s animated sci-fi comedy would eventually receive a truly impressive 70 episode order. 

The series now has 60 episodes of that order remaining (not to mention any subsequent agreements that should arise) and those episodes should be arriving a little more quickly this time. Or at least that’s what the show’s braintrust believes. In talking to Polygon prior to season 4, Roiland said that, with a deal in hand, production might speed up.

“We want the episodes to stay good, but we do also want to try to turn them around a little quicker now that we have this big order, I think it gives us the ability to be faster. We’re not going to do these long breaks, these chasms in-between seasons anymore. We’re going to schedule vacation time and just keep the machine going. It’s going to be really cool.”

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Of course, that may prove to be optimistic for several reasons. For starters: animation is hard. Many animated series are able to stay on a conventional yearly schedule (and South Park is able to produce episodes in a week even) and Rick and Morty has been able to do roughly the same before. But that leads to the second complication: writing an episode of Rick and Morty might be harder than animating it. 

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Roiland and Harmon clearly take pride in crafting creative episodes of a show set in a universe where anything can happen. Sometimes, however, that means writing any given episode can be a torturous process. “‘Train’ broke me,” writer Jeff Loveness says of the heavily metatextual season 4 episode “Never Ricking Morty” in an Adult Swim behind-the-scenes featurette. One would imagine the experience is pretty similar in writing just about any episode of the show. 

This is all to say that it’s unclear when a new season of Rick and Morty would premiere. If Roiland is right and production can speed up with a new deal in place, then it could certainly arrive as early as the middle of next year. Bear in mind that though season 4 began in November, it endured a lengthy hiatus before starting back up again in April. So it’s probably best to assess the finale date in trying to figure out a season 5 return date. Let’s just roll with April of 2021 to keep ourselves happy. 

As for the final release date? Only Mr. Poopybutthole knows. 

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