Rick and Morty is unlike any other show on television. It captured our hearts (in a weird way) from its first season, and it left us wanting more. We’ve had to wait a long time between seasons of Rick and Morty, but hopefully we’ll get to see the fourth season soon enough. While we’re waiting, let’s talk about all the details we know about the upcoming fourth season so far.
Keep reading to learn when we might expect a fourth season, who’s going to guest star in it, and how Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are getting along with the writing process.
Sometimes Drinking And Working Do Mix
Sometimes Justin Roiland, the creator of Rick and Morty and the voice of both Rick and Morty, actually gets drunk when he needs to play a drunk Rick on the show.
Yup, Justin Roiland actually got paid to drink at work. "In episode 304, we need to see [Rick] get especially drunk, so I encouraged Justin to method act," explained Harmon. "I understand things got a little… creative." That’s one way to put it. At one point, Justin called the show’s production team "a bunch of screaming demons".
Creative Ways To Engage The Audience
Adult Swim, the channel that airs Rick and Morty, is always looking for new ways to engage with its audience. In an attempt to connect with millennial viewers, the channel uploaded a 22-minute episode of the show to Instagram in 15-second chunks… in reverse order.
That meant that viewers couldn’t see the whole episode from the beginning until all the 15-second clips were uploaded. On Facebook Adult Swim called the stunt "our latest frustrating exercise in audience engagement."
Kelsey Grammer’s Daughter Plays Summer
Spencer Grammer does the voice work for Morty’s sister Summer on Rick and Morty. Spencer is Kelsey Grammer’s oldest daughter.
Kelsey Grammer is best known for playing Fraiser Crane on the hit shows Cheers and Fraiser. He has been married four times and he had Spencer while he was married to his first wife, Doreen Alderman. Spencer has many half-siblings, but she is the only child to come from Kelsey’s first marriage.
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have said that they created a backstory for Rick with no intention of ever revealing it. They’ve teased us with details of Rick’s backstory in the past, but all of those teases turned out to be false leads.
Both creators think that too many shows have “jumped the shark” by revealing too many details, but they have admitted to leaving clues about Rick’s dark past in some episodes. Some fans have been able to narrow down Rick’s big secret to four possibilities: Rick is aware that he is a fictional character; Rick’s constant drinking isn’t alcoholism, he is drinking an extract that keeps him super-intelligent; Rick is actually an aged Morty who traveled back in time; and finally: Rick’s ‘original Morty’ is dead, and has been replaced by a copy from a parallel dimension.
Chris Parnell Is A Voice Acting Legend
Justin Roiland said in an interview that Chris Parnell, the actor who plays Jerry Smith, always nails his lines on the first try.
However, because of normal voice recording precautions of animation, Parnell has to record at least thirty more takes. Even so, Roiland said that he almost always chooses Parnell’s first takes. That seems to fit with the whole improvisational tone of the show. Maybe all the voice actors should do fewer takes.
There Won’t Be Any Time Travel
On the shelf in Rick’s garage workshop, there’s a box labeled "TIME TRAVEL STUFF." However, Justin Rowland has stated in interviews that the show is not going to utilize time travel as a plot device. Multiple dimensions and space travel, yes, but no time travel.
This is especially interesting since Rick and Morty is a loose parody of Back to the Future, a movie that’s entire premise is based on time travel.
We’re Getting More Rick And Morty
On May 10th, 2018, we officially learned that Rick and Morty was getting renewed for 70 more episodes. Those 70 episodes will take the show past the 100 episode mark, which is super exciting.
In the past, Dan Harmon has talked about wanting longer seasons. All of the seasons of Rick and Morty have been 10-ish episodes long, but now that Harmon has 70 episodes to play with, he could make 7 10-episode seasons, or he could have longer 14-ish episode seasons.
When Is It Coming Back?
At the end of season 3, Mr. Poopybutthole himself told us all that we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for season 4. We knew it was going to take a really, really long time.
Before the renewal was announced, producer Ryan Ridley told us we’d have to wait until at least 2019 to see any new episodes. According to Ridley, we’ll most likely see Season 4 towards the end of 2019.
Who Is Going To Be In It?
I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see the original cast return. That means Justin Roiland as Rick and Morty (and others), Chris Parnell as Jerry, Sarah Chalke as Beth, Spencer Grammer as Summer, and Dan Harmon as Bird Person.
Every season welcomes in a new host of guest stars. In the past, we heard the voices of John Oliver, Christina Hendricks, and David Cross (among others) on the show. So far, we know that Jurassic Park star Sam Neill will guest star in Season 4 of Rick and Morty. We’ll have to wait a little bit longer to find out who else might be featured.
They’ve Already Started Writing
Justin Roiland told Polygon in June 2018 that he and his fellow writers had re-entered the writers’ room: "It’s exciting, it’s a little surreal. Even just being in the writers’ room for half the day every day this week, the ideas are … it’s going to be great."
He also told fans that the gap between seasons wouldn’t be as big as it’s been in the past: "We’re super excited that, for the first time ever, we’re locked in, we know what the future is, we have job security," Roiland said. "Harmon is in great spirits, we have a great writer’s room. 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."
Kanye West Is A Huge Fan Of The Show
Kanye West has made it perfectly clear that Rick and Morty is his favorite show on TV right now, which is high praise coming from Kanye. A lot of fans expect to see Kanye guest star or make a cameo appearance in Season 4 of the show.
Back in June, Kim Kardashian asked Justin Roiland to make Kanye a happy birthday video in character, which he did. Kim posted the video on Twitter.
What Are Rick And Morty Up To In The Offseason
Rick and his grandson Morty don’t have very much to do in the long breaks between seasons, but during the break after Season 3, Adult Swim got creative with how the network used the characters.
Rick and Morty presented the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Program at the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Rick and Morty also played Fallout 76 with Ninja and Logic on Twitch back in November of 2018.
A Reference To Community
In the third episode of Season 2 of Rick and Morty, Unity creates a show for Rick that’s basically an alien version of Community, a show that Dan Harmon used to run. All of the characters from Community make an appearance as their alien selves, including Jeff, Annie, Shirley, Pierce, Troy, Abed, and Britta.
Rick asks Unity to “cancel it, then put it back on, then cancel it again” which is also a reference to Community’s tumultuous past.
That Cronenberg Episode
The viral outbreak that caused Cronenberg’s outbreak in Season 1, Episode 6, titled “Rick Potion #9,” is a reference to Canadian director David Cronenberg. Rick and Morty creators decided to use his name because Cronenberg is one of the pioneers of the “body horror” genre. It’s a style of filmmaking that explores people’s fears of bodily transformation and infection.
There are lots of references to famous works of horror and science fiction throughout Rick and Morty.
The Show Is Based On An Animated Short
Long before Rick and Morty ever existed, there was Doc and Mharti from The Real Adventures of Doc & Mharti, a series of shorts that parodied the two protagonists from Back to the Future. The show was created by Justin Roiland who later went on to refine the characters to create Rick and Morty with Dan Harmon.
It just goes to show how one silly idea can spiral into a wildly successful television show.
Burping On Command
Justin Roiland can’t burp on command, so he has to drink beer or water during the recording sessions to perform the voice of Rick. Rick burps a lot, in case you were unaware. After filming the pilot episode, where Rick burps in almost every line, he had such a bad stomach ache he considered going to the hospital.
Justin Roiland is very jealous of Sarah Chalke (the voice of Beth) because she can easily burp on command without drinking liters of beer.
Roiland’s Failed Show
The second episode of the first season, “Lawnmower Dog,” was based on a pilot that Justin Roiland developed for Cartoon Network called DogWorld. The show was about intelligent dogs that kept humans as pets. It never aired, but you can see a rough version of the first episode online. Rick and Morty allude to DogWorld in the episode:
Morty: “Wow! A whole world populated by intelligent dogs. I wonder what it’ll be like, Rick.” Rick: “I think it will be great, Morty. You know it could be developed in-into a very satisfying project for people of all ages. I mean, I’d watch it, Morty, for at least 11 minutes a pop.”
The Story Behind The Theme Song
Rick and Morty‘s opening theme song is based on the building blocks of sci-fi. To achieve the familiar, otherworldly synth vibe of the genre, the creators looked to both Doctor Who and Farscape for inspiration. When asked about the show’s music in an interview with TVOvermind, Roiland said:
“The theme song is written by the guy who wrote the Wizards of Waverly Place theme song, who is a very good friend of mine. I told him I was a big fan of Farscape and that I wanted to combine Farscape‘s theme with Doctor Who’s theme, and that’s basically what our theme song is. It’s this amazing original piece that takes the best aspects of those two themes and mashes them together. Super Sci-Fi.”
The Burping Started As An Accident
We already know that Justin Roiland can’t burp on command, so why would he create a character who burbs every other line? Well, the whole thing started as an accident. While he was creating his short, The Adventures of Rick and Mharti, he accidentally burped while he was recording his lines.
Justin thought it was so gross and funny that he left the burp in the final cut. When Dan Harmon saw the short and brought it to Adult Swim, burping was part of the package.
The Show’s Pilot Was Written In 6 Hours
The first episode of Rick and Morty was written by Harmon and Roiland just moments after their pitch got sold to Nick Weidenfeld, the head of program development for Adult Swim. Dan Harmon was still working on Community at the time, so they needed to write quickly to fit Rick and Morty into his busy schedule.
Harmon said, “We were sitting on the floor, cross-legged with laptops and I was about to get up and go home and he said, ‘Wait, if you go home, it might take us three months to write this thing. Stay here right now and we can write it in six hours.'”
Rick’s Catchphrase Was An Accident
Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have repeatedly stated that they hate catchphrases. Rick’s catchphrase, “wubba lubba dub dub” is partly a parody of a catchphrase and partly a complete accident.
The line was originally supposed to be “‘wub wub wub wub wub,” which is a reference to a Three Stooges gag. Roiland wasn’t aware of the reference, so he read the line wrong while he was in the recording booth. Everyone thought it was so funny that they kept it in the show.
The Crew Was Given Real Council Of Ricks Badges
The cast and crew feel like “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind” was one of the best episodes of Rick and Morty that they ever made. To honor the crew, the badges that were worn by members of the Council of Ricks in that episode were actually made into real badges. Each crew member got their own badge.
If you want a Council of Ricks badge, you can find one easily with a quick Google search.
Justin Roiland Wanted To Destroy The Earth In Every Episode
Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are a great team. Justin comes up with a lot of the wacky ideas, while Harmon reins him in to make the show make sense. When they were first coming up with ideas for the show, Justin Roiland wanted Rick and Morty to destroy the earth at the end of every episode.
Harmon wasn’t having any of it. I think they definitely made the right choice.
Jerry Was Supposed To Be A Serious Character
When the idea of Rick and Morty was first conceived, Morty’s father Jerry was originally supposed to be a pretty grounded character. He was supposed to be a counterpoint for Rick’s wacky behavior.
At one point, Bryan Cranston auditioned for the role, but the part ultimately went to Chris Parnell. Parnell’s voice was just so funny that they had to make Jerry more of a silly character. I’m glad they went in that direction because now Jerry is one of the funniest parts of the show.
Justin Roiland Wrote “Get Schwifty” When He Was A Kid
Roiland has always been into silly music, so he and some friends recorded “Get Schwifty” when they were kids. The song didn’t get rave reviews from Justin’s friends.
Justin said, “When I let some friends listen to the song the response was “It’s pretty good, but it’s not anything special, so, now I’ve put the song in the context where it saves the world. Suck it, Carl!” Creating a hit TV show is a great way to get back at your friends.
The Writers Are Planning A Very Dark Episode
There’s no shortage of dark themes in Rick and Morty. This show really isn’t afraid to “go there.” While the show usually finds the perfect balance of dark and light, writers have warned us that there’s a very dark episode coming up.
One episode is going to be very different from all the episodes we’ve seen so far. There won’t be a single joke in it. Not one. Rick and Morty is all about experimentation, so I’m excited to see where this goes.
Jerry Drives Clark Griswold’s Car
Does Jerry’s oddly-shaped green station wagon look familiar to you? Well, it should. Jerry’s car is modeled after Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase)’s car from National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Dan Harmon has an infamous ongoing feud with Chevy Chase since their struggles working together on Community, so it’s interesting that he would pay tribute to the guy after all that drama between them. I guess sometimes you have to put your drama behind you for the sake of your art.
You Can Play Jerry’s Dumb Balloon-Popping Game
In almost every episode of Rick and Morty, you can see Jerry playing a game on his iPad. It’s the game he was playing in the season 2 episode “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez” when Rick takes Beth and Jerry to intergalactic marriage counseling where they almost kill each other.
That whole plot came about because of Jerry’s balloon-popping game. Jerry wasn’t listening to Beth because he was popping balloons. If you want to play Jerry’s marriage destroying game, you can actually find it in the App Store. It’s called “Jerry’s Game.”
They Got Their Own Simpsons Couch Gag
Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon got the unique pleasure of seeing their characters on an episode of The Simpsons. Rick and Morty starred in their own couch gag. The opening sequence of The Simpsons featured Rick and Morty crashing their spacecraft into the Simpsons’ couch, killing the entire family.
Then Rick and Morty break the fourth wall. They recognized the characters they just killed, so they replace them the same way they replaced themselves at the end of “Rick Potion No. 9.”
Rick And Morty And Futurama Might Be Set In The Same Universe
While promoting Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon compared the show to a cross between Matt Groening’s two shows, The Simpsons and Futurama. It has the everyday middle-class family of The Simpsons and the high concept science fiction ideas of Futurama.
Some fans have noticed that Rick and Morty and Futurama exist within the same fictional universe. They’ve spotted the Planet Express ship in the background of a couple of shots – most recently in the season 3 premiere “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” You can also see the Slurm logo a few times.