Though supported in the ratings largely via reruns of network prime time stalwarts like Family Guy and American Dad, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late-night bloc has proven more than adept at creating original hits of its own, defining a decade and counting of American alternative-animation with popular series like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros and Robot Chicken. Their newest cult-smash, the sci-fi sitcom Rick & Morty, recently wrapped a successful second season with a tongue-in-cheek reference to often lengthy wait between season of Adult Swim's original programming, with a character outright stating: "Tune in to Rick and Morty season 3 in like… a year and a half… or longer!”
But it would seem that estimation was a bit pessimistic, as word now comes that the show's creators are targeting a season 3 launch for as early as winter 2016.
The news comes from a panel attended by series co-creator Dan Harmon at the 2016 Magic City Comic Con. Addressing the question (you can see and hear Harmon's response at around the 10:20 mark on the video above) of when fans might see new episodes, Harmon replied:
"I think season 3 is—we’re targeting around the end of this year. You guys do realize we’re at the beginning of this year?"
Harmon went on to elaborate that the series will receive an expanded episode order of 14 episodes, compared to 10 in season 2. An expanded episode order is not unexpected for a series that has thus far continued to grow its audience, but it is unusual for news of an increased workload to accompany news of a shorter-than-expected production schedule -- suggesting that the network is putting increased muscle behind the project.
Season 2 finished on an unexpectedly dark note, with Earth conquered by a suspiciously "benevolent" alien federation and an uncharacteristically self-sacrificing Rick surrendering himself to be imprisoned for "war crimes" in order to spare the rest of his family. With the preceding season spending a considerable amount of time hinting that Rick's self-destructive behavior and warped sense of right and wrong are rooted in some still unexplained galactic conflict, fans are sure to have no shortage of questions they'll be hoping season 3 will answer. However, the series' focus thus far has been on comedy and individual episodes over continuity and world-building, and that's unlikely to change -- though at least some adjustment (however temporary) may be required in order to get the cast re-assembled.
Screen Rant will have more details on Rick & Morty season 3 as they are made available.
Source: Magic City Con