Rick and Morty season 5 is officially happening. That’s the good news. However, with the world’s current lockdown sitch and the Adult Swim series’ knack for serving up increasingly large gaps between seasons, there’s every reason to believe we won’t be wub-a-lub-dubbing for some time to come.
But that might not be the case. We’ve combed through pretty much everything said from creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, the cast, and even spoke to some of the major players ourselves to find out what’s really going on with Rick and Morty season 5. It's all here in our complete guide.
That includes our first look at season 5 scripts, an intriguing Evil Morty-shaped theory, what the next year(s) could have in store for the Smith and Sanchez clans on the back of season 4’s universe-twisting finale, and even what to expect from a season 5 release date. You ready? It’s time to [Cromulon voice] show you what we’ve got.
Rick and Morty season 5 update: Dan Harmon outlines how they're working in times of lockdown
Rick and Morty's fifth season is being worked on in circumstances that even the dimension-hopping pair would think is a little too 'out there.'
Sounds hellish? Maybe, though Harmon admits "there are a lot of things that are better about a Zoom writers’ room, and they are balanced out by things that are worse," including female writers on staff having a greater chance to have their say without fear of interruption, mainly because (as anyone who has done a virtual meeting recently will know), it only really works when one person is speaking at a time.
No Rick and Morty season 5 release date (yet) – but all signs point to a much shorter wait
No Rick and Morty season 5 release date yet – but expect the series to arrive far, far sooner than the two-year gap between the end of season 3 (October 2017) and the start of season 4 in November 2019.
That’s mostly thanks to Adult Swim ordering 70 episodes of Rick and Morty back in 2018. Season 4 made up 10 of that batch, meaning 60 more episodes (likely six more seasons) are in the pipeline.
Importantly, that means there’s less of a wait in-between new seasons. Where Roiland and Harmon were once twiddling their thumbs waiting for the show to be picked up again, work can start almost immediately on season 5.
And wouldn’t you just know it, that’s exactly the case. Roiland confirmed in an interview with Slash Film that season 5 is “mostly in the can” though “[the animation team] are still gonna be reworking when the animatics come back, so that can extend the process.”
Oddly, Sarah Chalke is at odds with that timeline, telling Digital Spy: "So, season 5, we haven't read yet. They're writing it already. But as it stands, we are going to most likely hold off on recording until things settle down a little bit, in terms of when… you know, maybe if there was an option that we could possibly record back at the studio.
Still, some news is better than no news, even if it is a little muddled. The half-season break that bisected season 4 was interminable, so the pace should pick up nicely, even with the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic looming large over the creative process.
Spencer Grammer (Summer) even told the Talking Simpsons podcast that working-from-home is always an option for the show.
“We’ll continue to have pickups, we always do that for the show… I have a great closet, fully ready for an impromptu recording,” Grammer said.
Chris Parnell (Jerry) even told us that he thinks there’s “going to be less of a wait” for season 5 and beyond. Parnell added: “One lucky thing is our show is animated in Canada, primarily, so they don’t have some of the same restrictions we might if our show was animated in the Asian countries where things have been a little more locked down.”
The throughline for all of these quotes from the cast and creative team is Rick and Morty season 5 is almost certainly going to coming quicker than anticipated. Whether that’s late 2020 (unlikely, but you never know) or in 2021 remains to be seen, but we’ll update you as soon as we hear more.
Rick and Morty season 5 cast: the same as it ever was
As far as we know, the Rick and Morty season 5 cast will remain exactly the same as those that have come before it – at least in terms of the main players.
Justin Roiland is (obviously) back as both Rick and Morty. Sarah Chalke will continue voicing Beth while, similarly, Chris Parnell (Jerry) and Spencer Grammer (Summer) are also back.
Expect to see some famous faces crop up, too. Season 4 saw the likes of Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi and Sam Neill drop on by for bit-part roles. No guest stars have been confirmed for season 5 as of writing though.
Rick and Morty season 5 plot: new episode script and the cast reveal what they want to happen next
Rick and Morty season 4 ended with the reveal that Beth may not be who she thought she was. We think? It's confusing, but Rick and Morty's clone saga will likely continue on into season 5, as will the commotion surrounding the return of Birdperson, now renamed Phoenixperson and lying dormant in Rick's garage.
The first glimpse of anything to do with upcoming Rick and Morty season 5 episodes arrived in the form of a few obscured pictures on Twitter.
Posted by show writer Jeff Loveness (who’s now working on Ant-Man 3), the series of scripts showed that Loveness will be working on "501," potentially the season 5 premiere. Good luck trying to decipher the redacted portion, though. At least that's something to do in the meantime.
Today was my last day at Rick and Morty. I wrote 5 episodes and worked with amazing people. I hope you like it. pic.twitter.com/WjrMRP7i7jSeptember 21, 2019
Beyond that, there’s nothing official out there when it comes to the plot of the new season. The show’s meta-commentary on not wanting to return to old favourites, such as "Interdimensional Cable", could hint that we’re in for something entirely new, however.
Spencer Grammer, who plays Summer on the show, revealed to us in a recent interview she’s been pitching the creative team some ideas for future episodes: “When we had our season premiere party for the first cycle of season 4 I’m like ‘Can we have a Summer episode where she runs a cult? What about a Summer episode where she becomes Rick?’”
On what they want to see from their characters in future, Grammer and Parnell shared their hopes for Summer and Jerry respectively.
Grammer said, “I do always want to see Summer become more evil and sociopathic and more narcissistic for sure. I think that makes her really, really interesting. I also really like for Rick to give her more responsibility in the context of him being able to pull things over in the family.”
Parnell, meanwhile, wants Jerry to be, well, less Jerry: “There’s a lot of room to explore Jerry’s competence, because we haven’t seen a lot of that. So, I think it’d be fun to see Jerry really excelling and succeeding and doing well, even if it’s a particular dimension that’s obviously an abnormality compared to the one we live in. That’d be fun.”
Rick and Morty season 5 theories: will Evil Morty return?
While Rick and Morty has mostly rejected a serialised format in favour of one-off episodes, one of our favourite Rick and Morty theories could have ramifications for season 5.
One Redditor posits an idea that could certainly rear its ugly, eyepatched head in future. Namely, the "Vat of Acid" episode isn’t our Morty from the C-137 dimension. No – the Morty that Rick taught a valuable lesson (resulting in the deaths of not only thousands of parallel universe Mortys but also his soulmate) might actually become the Evil Morty we love to hate. It’d certainly make for a compelling origin story, if nothing else, and would only add to the high-concept drama and obsession with sci-fi tropes such as the multiverse that the show loves to spoof.