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Rick and Morty season 4 release date, episodes, and trailer

Rick and Morty is a true original. The Adult Swim series concerns the dimension-traversing adventures of an old, drunk, awful man/greatest scientist in history named Rick Sanchez, and his much dumber constant companion, his grandson, Morty Smith. With shades of Back to the Future and Doctor Who, Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon crafted a world of equal parts scientific wonder, intricate mythology, and off-color humor. That's an irresistible combination: it's one of the biggest hits in Adult Swim history, and attracted such a dedicated army of fans that McDonald's brought back its Szechuan McNugget sauce (from 1998) because of its importance to a Rick and Morty episode. 

The animated series (in which Roiland voices both main characters) hit cable TV in late 2013, and has aired a mere 30-something episodes (over three seasons) since. Fortunately, a brand new batch of episodes is in production and on its way to television. Here's everything we know so far about the fourth season of Rick and Morty.

When does Rick and Morty season 4 debut?

For patient Rick and Morty fans, the long wait for new multigenerational universe-hopping adventures is nearly over. In May 2019, WarnerMedia (parent company of Adult Swim) held its "upfront" presentation in New York. Most networks do this, presenting their upcoming slate of new and returning series so as to attract advertisers and generate buzz. When Warner's talk turned to their late-night mature-and-strange programming block, fans hoped against hope that there'd be some good news about the long-awaited fourth season of Rick and Morty, Adult Swim's most significant cultural phenomenon and biggest hit in a long time. 

Warner delivered, announcing that Rick and Morty would return to cable television in November 2019. But when, exactly, in November 2019? Warner didn't say, only that the series would show up sometime in the weeks or days before or after Thanksgiving. The exact date just might fall around the 19th. That's the date a Rick and Morty-themed Dungeons & Dragons book hits stores, and it would stand to reason that the show and book would have similar release dates, for cross-promotional purposes.

Why the long delay for Rick and Morty season 4?

With some exceptions, most American television shows don't take too long of a hiatus. Most broadcast network shows run from September to May, and cast and crew get the summer off. Cable channels or streaming services might drop a 13-episode season of a series in the spring, and then return with another 13 about a year later. The wait between seasons three and four of Rick and Morty will have been comically, frustratingly long. The final episode of the third season aired in October 2017, while the first episode of the fourth season will air sometime in November 2019. That makes for a hiatus of more than two years. 

Delays are nothing new with Rick and Morty. About 15 months passed between the end of season one and the beginning of season two, and there was a good year-and-a-half between season two and the beginning of season three. The two-year wait for season four, however, is easily the longest in series history. Roiland and Harmon have commented on the sometimes lengthy wait for Adult Swim to order new episodes, and (particularly in the case of the fourth season) the complex process of negotiating for a budget large enough to give the show "the attention it deserves."

How many episodes in Rick and Morty season 4?

In March 2018, series co-creator Dan Harmon guested on Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier's SModcast. At the time neither he nor Justin Roiland were actively working on creating more Rick and Morty episodes. The reason, he told Smith and Mosier (via ScreenRant): business problems. "It's because of a little something called contract negotiations, and it's gotten complicated this time around." But it all worked out in the end: two months later, Adult Swim ordered a whopping 70 new episodes of Rick and Morty. That means Roiland and Harmon are contractually obligated to churn out Rick and Morty for years to come.

Previous seasons have run for 10 or 11 episodes. At one point during the production of season three, Harmon had hoped to produce 14 episodes, but the schedule forced a cutback. In late 2017, he told Entertainment Weekly that he'd like to give that idea another try. However, on July 17, 2019, Roiland confirmed to EW that the new season would again run for ten episodes.

Who will appear in Rick and Morty season 4?

Rick and Morty's creative team doesn't have too hard of a time keeping its voice cast under contract. That's because the two main characters are voiced by Justin Roiland… who just so happens to be the show's co-creator and primary creative force. As Rick and Morty returns soon, Roiland is onboard to keep playing that unhinged, burping genius and his skittish grandson for the foreseeable future. In February 2019, he posted to Instagram a photo of himself in a recording booth. Sarah Chalke, who has voiced Beth Smith (Rick's daughter, Morty's mom) for the show's entire run, confirmed to Entertainment Tonight Canada in April 2019 that she's coming back, too. Spencer Grammer and Chris Parnell joined Roiland, Dan Harmon, and Chalke at the Rick and Morty panel at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, confirming that they'll be back to play Summer Smith and Jerry Smith, respectively.

There will also be some big names joining the small club of Rick and Morty guest voices, which includes John Oliver, Christina Hendricks, and Danny Trejo. On Halloween 2018, Sam Neill — Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Parktweeted that he "enjoyed working with @RickandMorty last week…" alongside an image of the titular characters, so that may be a bit of leaked news. 

In a May 2019 interview with HollywoodLife, Roiland broke the news that "hero" and "angel" Paul Giamatti would soon be recording lines for an upcoming episode. Roiland told Entertainment Weekly in July 2019 that the Billions actor will portray someone "from the species" as another character, set to be played by Thor: Ragnorak (and Thor 4) director Taika Waititi. Roiland mentioned that Kathleen Turner will lend her familiar, husky voice to Rick and Morty in the near future, and fans can also expect to hear Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth from Game of Thrones) and Matthew Broderick.

You could show up in Rick and Morty season 4

While we can be reasonably sure that the characters of Rick Sanchez, Morty Smith, and Beth Smith will return for season four of the venerable Adult Swim series, producers are working on a surprise guest star for an upcoming Rick and Morty episode — possibly you. In July 2019, fundraising service Prizeo announced that to raise money for NEXT for Autism and the Bergen County, New Jersey, chapter of the United Way, it's offering a special prize: being drawn into an episode of Rick and Morty. How much does it cost? A mere ten bucks. 

Okay, so not everybody who helps Prizeo help NEXT and the United Way gets to be preserved in animation forever. Rather, it takes a $10 donation to be entered into a contest for the chance to win that prize, along with a trip to Los Angeles to visit the Rick and Morty production facility and meet show creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. "This is for a great cause and aside from that, think about how cool it would be," Roiland tweeted.

What's up with the Rick and Morty season 4 trailer?

The upcoming fourth season of Rick and Morty is still in production, as Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon and crew barrel into the future and a promised premiere date of sometime within the month of November 2019. That's only a few months away, and most TV shows and movies at this point have a trailer ready to go and widely distributed to whet fans' appetites. While Rick and Morty's devoted fans don't need a little bit of footage to stay interested, who wouldn't appreciate a taste of the fourth season? 

As of July 2019, though, there's no official Rick and Morty trailer yet available. However, on January 2, 2019, the Rick and Morty Twitter account unveiled a bizarre, fantastical 15-second animated short called "Rick vs. Morty." A series of quick, unsettling cuts, it shows Rick in various animal forms attacking and devouring Morty in various other animal forms. Among the scenarios featured: Shark Rick vs. Fish Morty, Godzilla Rick vs. Mothra Morty, and Hippo Rick vs. Bird Morty. 

While this kind of bumper is a common form of "station ID" for Adult Swim, designed to show off their lineup without any direct connection to episode content, it does serve as a taste of new footage for fans hungry to know about the creative headspace in which the Rick and Morty team are currently operating.

There's a second, Fourth of July-themed teaser

On the morning of the Fourth of July 2019, Rick and Morty creators honored America's birthday with a gift that all of their fans could enjoy: another strange and mind-boggling bumper, loaded with references to the show's history. Once again, however, it does not seem to include actual footage from new episodes.

Released via Rick and Morty social media, this montage of harrowing imagery runs just 15 quick seconds, and it's all Independence Day-themed.  It starts with the visage of Evil Morty (he's rocking the eyepatch) on the side of an Independence Day-ready, red-white-and-blue can of beer, which shoots off a bit of foam that forms the face of Rick. Next up is a cooking meat patty on the grill with Morty's face, somebody taking a bite out of a "Pickle Rick"-esque "Hot Dog Rick," and it all wraps up with the heads of Rick, Morty, and the Adult Swim logo rendered as crowd-pleasing fireworks. 

While Adult Swim remains unready to reveal many specifics about Rick and Morty's fourth season, the network and creators are clearly dedicated to keeping the show fresh in fans' minds while they wait for more news.

What happens in Rick and Morty season 4?

Season four is coming, and so is all of the crucial talent that made the first three seasons of the animated series so special. But what will actually happen in season four? Show creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon are keeping quiet. In a 2019 interview with HollywoodLife, Harmon claimed that the new season would include "three robots." It's not entirely clear if he was joking or not, but Roiland added, "Rick is gonna learn a very valuable lesson and pay a very heavy price… and Morty, too." The pair then devolved into tongue-in-cheek vagueness that humorously revealed nothing at all.

Rick and Morty storyboard artist Douglas Einar Olsen posted some "get out the vote" tweets on the day before the U.S. midterm elections in November 2018. One of them read, "Aw jeez, do we really want an Evil Morty to rule the Citadel?" When a follower pointed out that Evil Morty was at least democratically elected, Olsen countered, "Guess we'll just have to see how his administration is faring this upcoming season." The tweets were later deleted, probably because they gave away what is potentially the revival of a major Rick and Morty past plot line.

Another fan favorite bit could make a return. On February 8, 2019, Roiland posted an Instagram picture from inside a recording booth with the caption "Idc3 (maybe)." The Rick and Morty mastermind might be teasing a third "Interdimensional Cable" episode. Two previous episodes in the series involved Rick hooking up a cable box to allow his family to watch weird TV from throughout the multiverse.

Rick and Morty will screen at the Adult Swim Festival

It's still not clear exactly when the fourth season of Rick and Morty will make its cable TV premiere on Adult Swim. However, hardcore Rick and Morty fans who want to see an episode of the show's forthcoming season may want (or need) to drop some cash on a trip to the 2019 Adult Swim Festival. Like Coachella but with way more weird and edgy comedy, the event takes place on November 15 and 16 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. Apart from headliner Dethklok (the brutally dark metal band from Brendon Small's classic Adult Swim series Metalocalypse), the festival's biggest draw is likely the screening of "a never-before-season Season 4 episode of Rick and Morty." Organizers haven't said if it's the season premiere or an installment from later on in this new batch of episodes, but it is the first debut of any new Rick and Morty episode since 2017.

The first images from Rick and Morty season 4

On July 16, 2019, Entertainment Weekly gave Rick and Morty fans their first real look at some actual content from the show's extremely long-awaited fourth season. Billed as an exclusive "First Look," the magazine's website released two Adult Swim-provided stills from upcoming episodes (the network later shared the images on social media). No context was provided, and it's not clear if the two shots are from the same episode or two different ones. However, there's plenty to study and obsess over in both screencaps. 

One shot features a serene-looking Rick, eyes closed as he blazes a trail through a golden field, bordered by colorful, tentacle-like flora. It would seem he's on some kind of strange alien planet. In the background are mountains, a beautiful sunset, and some kind of planet or moon.

The second shot offers a far more characteristic depiction of Rick. He seems his usual angry, surly self — understandable, as he's surrounded by a group of futuristic-armor-clad bipedal lizard men. Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd points out that they "look a bit like the Crocubot, one of The Vindicators, but also different," which could be a clue about an upcoming episode.

The first footage from Rick and Morty season 4

During their presentation at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon debuted the very first clip from the forthcoming fourth season of the series. The 49 seconds of footage features a brand-new character named Glootie, portrayed by Taika Waititi. "He's a new character, and he's fun, and we're excited to be able to introduce him to you here at Comic Con, because there's all kinds of merch and stuff," Roiland joked before rolling tape.

The scene concerns Glootie, a pink alien-like creature who looks like a combination of a dinosaur and Darth Vader, messing around on his phone, just like Jerry Smith, who wears a matching jumpsuit. Jerry and Morty really want Glootie to take down an app they've just launched (as evidenced by a "Launch Day" banner). Unfortunately, his hands are tied, as the app's server is "on the mothership," which Glootie ominously notes "is coming." Glootie, who claims to be an intern, isn't swayed even after a violent, computer-smashing outburst from Morty… although Jerry and Morty run for cover when an ominous beeping noise emanates from Glootie's belly. When the expected explosion doesn't occur, they look back to find Glootie trying to hop out a window. They pull him back in and find on his smartphone that he's just got the "Ominous Beeping Noise" app running.