With Rick and Morty’s third season finale upon us, it’s only natural for fans to wonder, “what’s next?”
Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when Season Four will premiere on Adult Swim, but there are some positive trends we can look toward and deduce a possibility.
Series co-creator Dan Harmon said he’s trying to hone the process, and that his own perfectionism is what delayed the third season. After taking a year off between the first two seasons, then two years between this one and the last one, it’s hard to keep the faith.
But Adult Swim is sitting on a cashcow, and despite rumors to the contrary they are not going to cancel one of their most successful shows ever.
The pressure is on Harmon to deliver and he’s no stranger to the situation. He was brutally honest about his time running Community for NBC in a conversation with EW, and how he buckled right around this time during that show.
“I never got this far [working on NBC’s] Community,” said Harmon. “I fell apart in season 3 of Community and got fired in season 4. Now I’m about to do season 4 of Rick and Morty and want to prove that I’ve grown.”
If they can keep up with the momentum, we might get new episodes in the summer of 2018. And yet, with their track record, fans have reason to doubt that is possible.
But based on recent comments from Harmon, maybe we don’t have much to worry about.
Though Season Three was supposed to be the longest season ever with 14 episodes, the show is ending after tonight’s tenth episode. But there might be a silver lining to the truncated season, as the writers room has a lot of ideas they can put into new episodes based on changes they made this year.
Harmon has an example:
“The second episode of season 3 — that’s them going to a Mad Max style adventure in a post-apocalyptic wasteland — believe it or not, that story started with the idea of Rick having a ‘Book-A-Lyzer’ which is a device where you can go into any book,” said Harmon. “They were going to find a book by Jerry that he wrote when he was younger and they end up trapped in his crappy novel. That episode changed so much that we can still do that episode.
“If an episode grows from one [idea] into an entirely different [idea] that’s still no better than the first, maybe we’re writing wrong. But we don’t back off on stuff so much as we say ‘maybe later’ and move on. We have a pretty hefty shoebox from season 3 of ideas that are ready to go. Some are fully written, in fact.”
Harmon and fellow co-creator Justin Roiland made headlines with their intentions for Season Three to come out within a year of Season Two’s finale. Unfortunately, that time stretched to two years, and rumors began spreading based on Harmon’s own comments.
Fans assumed the series was in trouble because Harmon admitted that he and Roiland got into arguments, but it was more about having to rebuild the writers room with new voices who could add different perspectives.
Those new voices helped create some of the series most acclaimed episodes, such as “Pickle Rick” and “The Ricklantis Mixup.”
With a solid writing staff in place, it might not be too long before we can get new episodes of Rick and Morty.
The pressure is on to deliver Season Four, and based on the success of these latest episodes, they have a solid foundation to build. Roiland and Harmon (especially Harmon) are under immense pressure to deliver.
But so long as they realize they have a great formula and a better team, the episodes will be satisfying for their fans. They’ve created a well-oiled machine. Now it’s time to let it do the work.