Rick and Morty fans have been freaking out over the recent reveal that season 4 isn't officially happening yet. Series co-creator Dan Harmon said as much in response to a fan lambasting the creators for doing things like Rick and Morty-themed music videos, and now he's having to walk back those statements a bit.
Here's what Harmon had to say about why Rick and Morty season 4 isn't confirmed yet, while talking to Kevin Smith during a recent episode of his "Smodcast" show:
"....I don't want any 'Rick and Morty' fan hearing that and going like 'Harmon's on Smith's podcast and he's talking about how it's great how he takes as much time off as he wants.' The reason why we we're not working on 'Rick and Morty' right now ain't because I figured out that I don't need to impress you (laughs). It's a little something called contract negotiations, and it's gotten complicated this time around."
That explanation reveals a lot of about where things stand with Rick and Morty right now. Here are the big dots to connect:
- Rick and Morty saw a big expansion in viewership during season 3, growing from a cult-hit wonder to the No. 1 comedy on cable TV.
- The show's popularity grew beyond the viewing audience, spilling into mainstream pop-culture, thanks in large part to the McDonald's Szechuan sauce debacle.
- With the show's breakout hit status, creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland are no doubt in negotiation for bigger payouts from the show - which Cartoon Network / Adult Swim may be resisting.
At this point, it would seem like the leverage is mostly in Harmon and Roiland's corner. Rick and Morty was a huge draw for Adult Swim in 2017, even helping to lift other adult swim programming. The show served as a lead-in to the increasingly popular Toonami anime block on Saturday nights, with the specific block of Rick and Morty / Dragon Ball Super giving the network a solid boost in both ratings and branding. It wouldn't seem smart for Adult Swim to lose Rick and Morty just as the big advertising and publicity dollars are starting to sprout up - especially since a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon TV would almost surely scoop the show up - if cable networks like FX, Comedy Central or TBS didn't do it first.
However, the other side of this equation is Harmon and Roiland's devil-may-care approach to making the show. Rick and Morty is infamous for its long delays between seasons, with even some of the show's crew members having been quoted as complaining about the snail pace of production. If Cartoon Network is only willing to give the showrunners more money in exchange for firmer deadlines and structure, it's not hard imagining them (Harmon in particular) pushing back against that corporate mandating with claims that 'getting it right' outweighs 'getting it soon.'
Let us know how bad you want more Rick and Morty in the comments section!
We'll keep you updated about when Rick and Morty season 4 will arrive.