Rick and Morty season 5 is en route to a streaming service near you, and work on that and next season is coming along nicely. Not only was season 5 pretty much done a while ago, writing on season 6 is almost finished now, too. There's plenty more Rick and Morty to come: there are enough episodes planned out to take us to a tenth season, and the gaps between them should be shorter.
Which is music to our ears, as we've waited years between seasons thanks to various production problems. But in light of a new deal between co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, and Adult Swim, the wait between series may well be shorter going forward. Despite the impact of the coronavirus, work seems to be progressing on the show nicely.
Here, we'll be breaking down when we can expect the Rick and Morty season 5 release date, what we know about the returning cast, and what's to come from arguably the best animated series around right now.
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Rick and Morty season 5 release date: episodes may arrive faster
There's no release date for season 5 yet, but we at least know that the likely ten episodes are pretty far along on its route to Adult Swim in the US and E4 (and later Netflix) in the UK. Speaking to Slash Film, co-creator Justin Roiland said while "season 5 is mostly in the can," that "it’s largely dependent on how quick the episodes can get produced."
Even better, at a virtual Paleyfest NY 2020 panel (via Syfy Wire), Harmon said scripting is going so well that they're almost done with writing season 6. "We are very late writing season 6. I'm looking at finales for both seasons and then also refining the finale of one and then the premiere of the other."
Either way, it looks like we may not have to wait as long between seasons as we have before. Season 3 was delayed for two years, but the wait was even longer due to protracted contract negotiations between Roiland, Harmon and Adult Swim. However, the pair's new contract struck in 2018 with the cable network, including at least 70 more episodes, has given them the security to produce episodes better and faster.
And, to reassure fans amid the ongoing pandemic disruption, Harmon also said at the PaleyFest 2020 NY panel that "we're more on schedule than we've ever been." He put that down to the fact that it's simpler to work on an animated show like Rick and Morty remotely than it is a live-action production.
Roiland also floated the idea of a monthly release schedule for season 5 to Slash Film, although that's evidently up to Adult Swim. "I believe if they [Adult Swim] have the full ten episodes, they’ll release them without a split," he said. “I’ve been saying we should drop an episode each month, just make it a big event [...] 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."
More Rick and Morty coming. Looking forward to all the tweets asking where it is! #theydrawingit pic.twitter.com/KZild3B9rPMay 10, 2018
"It is structured into our deal that if we’re going strong and fast there are options to deliver more episodes at a time," Harmon told EW. Speaking to Polygon, Roiland said “For the first time ever, we’re locked in, we know what the future is, we have job security. 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."
However, Sarah Chalke (Beth) suggested to Digital Spy that there may be a coronavirus-related delay ahead of season 5. Recording is currently on hold because "as it stands, we are going to most likely hold off on recording until things settle down a little bit," Chalke said. Some recording has been done remotely for seasons 4 and 5, but the team need to be in a proper studio to record at the necessary quality.
That said, Roiland provided an encouraging update on the future of Rick and Morty production amid the disruption to The Wrap. When it all started they "had already finished season 4," and writers are now " working on season 5 in two-hour blocks through Zoom." But while there are positives to working remotely, Roiland explained, "they are balanced out by things that are worse."
Still, at least the cogs are moving on the writing side - so much so that, at Adult Swim's Comic-Con@Home panel, Harmon mentioned that writing work has already begun on season 6 and that he'd consider a crossover with another Netflix animated comedy hit, BoJack Horseman.
On the other hand, composer Ryan Elder told Inverse "I haven't seen anything for season 5 yet, although I'm told I will soon." He also acknowledged to Inverse in 2018 that he tends to get "involved kind of in the middle" of the process, so we still have a while to wait for Rick and Morty season 5 yet.
Rick and Morty season 5 trailer: watch the early footage
We don't have a proper Rick and Morty season 5 trailer yet, but we do have some early animatics - alongside a new short, Rick and Morty vs. Genocider - courtesy of Adult Swim's virtual Comic-Con@Home panel.
In the footage above we can see the pair in a bad way, as they hurtle to what seems like Earth in their ruined ship. Morty takes the opportunity to call Jessica and finally tell her how he feels and, when she reciprocates, he decides he'd rather not die, actually. But the planet on which they crash land seemingly turns out not to be Earth as Rick's nemesis, the Aquaman-style Mr Nimbus, rises from the water to 'greet' them.
It's still early, roughly-drawn, and without full color, sound effects, and animation, but it's always nice to get a taste of the future of Rick and Morty. It's also reassuring to see that at least some of the voice work on the show is progressing, given that some cast members haven't had access to studio-quality kit in their homes as the coronavirus-related disruption continues.
Rick and Morty season 5 cast: will Kanye appear this time?
While there's no season 5 cast list confirmed yet, we can almost certainly expect Spencer Grammer (Summer) and Sarah Chalke (Beth) to return alongside Roiland (Rick and Morty). We also know that Chris Parnell (Jerry) is all-but-officially in, after revealing to IGN "I've upgraded my home setup - even though it doesn't look like it - so I can actually record proper sessions from home."
In terms of direction, will this be the season in which Kanye West gets an episode? It was confirmed that he'd be offered this chance in 2019, but so far schedules between the rapper and the Rick and Morty creators have not synced. "We f**king love Kanye, man," Roiland told a photographer at the WarnerMedia upfronts last year. "He's a kindred spirit."
Rick and Morty season 5 story: expect new worlds and adventures
One of the mysteries we know we'll see develop at some point is Clone Beth, as we don't know whether the sister we've known since the beginning is truly 'ours'. Speaking to ComicBook.com, Harmon said, "She’s Schrodinger’s Beth right now. The fact she may or may not be a clone is actually the important thing. It’s the profound revelation about Rick’s commitment to non-commitment and how abusive that can be as a parent."
We don't know much about Rick and Morty's future escapades, but at least Roiland aims to always keep the show fresh, and not cover old ground. To EW, Roiland said, "One philosophy we tend to adopt is to keep moving forward with new ideas, new worlds, and not look back as often as other shows might, just in fear of that coming off as disingenuous fan service."
That said, we do know from the early footage that Morty's 'will-they-won't-they' flirtation with Jessica will continue, as Jessica invites Morty round to her house to watch a movie as he and Rick plummets to the ocean of an alien planet. However, Harmon has also teased at a virtual PaleyFest NY 2020 panel that "There's an episode in season five where Morty has a relationship with another female character that's not Jessica."
We also know that we'll meet Rick's long-forgotten, and decidedly unimpressive, nemesis Mr Nimbus. Seemingly voiced by Arrested Development's David Cross, this may be the next cameo coming to the comedy cartoon.
Will Rick and Morty go on after season 10?
Once season 4 is complete, there will be another 60 Rick and Morty episodes still to come. However, it seems likely it'll go on after season 10. Harmon told EW, "Sure I’ll end it! But I don’t know that would be on 70. I would be equally unsurprised if you told me that this thing goes for 20 years. I wouldn’t balk at that at all. If it still feels right, let’s do it."
Roiland agreed: "We have characters that don’t really age, it’s very Simpsons-esque. There’s so much we can do to keep riding this train."
No doubt hardcore fans are happy to watch this adult animated comedy for many years to come.