After waiting over two years for a new season of Rick and Morty, fans were shocked by the most recent trailer’s implication that season 4 would consist of a scant five episodes. If there’s one thing the Rick and Morty faithful can’t abide, it’s being shorted — whether we’re talking about new installments of their favorite series, or packets of delicious McDonald’s Szechuan sauce.
We jest, but that episode count is no laughing matter. Traditionally, the Adult Swim series — which features the adventures of alcoholic, dimension-hopping mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his extremely beleaguered grandson, Morty — has made fans wait for interminable amounts of time between new seasons. When Rick and Morty scored a massive 70-episode renewal earlier this year, series creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland promised that this was just the kind of job security they needed to be able to focus completely on the show, and crank out new seasons at a much faster clip.
So, what gives? Are we being trolled, or are we really only getting a five-episode season of Rick and Morty for its fourth outing? Let’s roll the tape.
The narration in the trailer that had fans up in arms is as follows: “It’s been way too long. The smartest Rick and Mortiest Morty in the universe are back… Five all-new episodes start Sunday, November 10 at 11:30. Half the season you deserve — all the season we could handle.”
The key phrase here is, “half the season.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly this past July — the very same one during which they assured fans that the wait for new episodes will “never be this long again” — Harmon and Roiland stated unequivocally that season 4 would contain ten episodes. What that troll-y trailer is really implying is that only the first five will run consecutively, because like virtually all shows that premiere in the late fall or winter, the fourth season of Rick and Morty will be broken up by the winter break.
When will the second half of Rick and Morty season 4 hit the airwaves?
Adult Swim hasn’t announced when the back half of Rick and Morty season 4 will air, but typically, there’s about a month-long break somewhere in the middle when new seasons of TV premiere close to the start of the new year. It was so darned long ago that it’s easy to forget, but this applied to Rick and Morty’s first season; the first three episodes aired in December 2013, with episode 3 dropping on the 15th of that month. After a hiatus of four weeks, the show returned to finish out the season starting on January 13th, 2014. (The second and third seasons premiered in the summer.)
If the series’ fourth season follows suit, then we can at least take a stab at when we might see the final five episodes make it to air. The last episode of the first half of the season should drop on Sunday, December 8. A four-week break would mean that the season will resume on January 5, 2020. Again, we don’t have confirmation of this, but a pause of that length would be pretty standard — and we’d go so far as to say there’s virtually no way we won’t see the fourth season pick up again sometime in January.
So, let’s ask the obvious question: why the heck would Adult Swim risk provoking the ire of Rick and Morty’s famously fervent fanbase by not making this clear? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, it should be reiterated that the winter break is a pretty well-known phenomenon. The creators have already publicly confirmed the season’s ten-episode length, and the trailer’s reference to the upcoming batch of episodes constituting only half the season should have pretty much been a dead giveaway.
Second: because, in true Rick and Morty fashion, the network obviously decided that a little bit of trollin’ was in order. It’s likely that the only reason Adult Swim has failed to clarify that the series’ fourth season would simply take a standard winter hiatus is because the entire internet failed to explode with righteous indignation after the trailer dropped.
So, rest easy, fans: you’re still getting all the Rick and Morty you were promised, just not all at once. Get psyched for a full, complete season with a much shorter wait before the next one drops, and remember: grasssss… tastes bad-ah.