Rick and Morty season 4 will run for ten episodes, and season 5 is already being written. The world was introduced to mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his hapless grandson Morty back in 2015, when Rick and Morty debuted on Adult Swim. After three seasons, the animated sci-fi comedy has now established itself as a pop culture phenomenon so influential, it even inspired McDonald’s to revive a defunct Chicken McNuggets dipping sauce from the 1990s.
But despite its huge success, there was actually a time when Rick and Morty looked like it might not last beyond three seasons, as series creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland found themselves locked in a bitter contract dispute with Adult Swim. In May of 2018, it was revealed that the dispute had been settled, and the show was being renewed for a whopping 70 episodes. In May of 2019, it was announced that Rick and Morty would officially return to Adult Swim in November, though no episode count for season 4 was revealed.
Now, the show’s creators Harmon and Roiland have finally revealed the length of season 4. Speaking to EW, Roiland said the new season will contain 10 episodes, the same number as seasons 2 and 3 (only season 1 ran longer, with 11 episodes). In another piece of good news for Rick and Morty fans, Harmon also said that season 5 is being written even as he and Roiland are still at work on season 4. Going straight into season 5 with season 4 not yet ready for air will, as Harmon explained, allow them to release another season without the kind of long delay that makes fans unhappy. Harmon said:
I think it’s safe to say without fear of being wrong that the gap between seasons 3 and 4 will be the longest and last time that it’s ever so long that it’s ridiculous. I don’t know how fast we can do it, but I know it will never be this long again. There were so many things that had to be settled before we even started season 4, and it’s really safe to say — as Justin says — we’re literally writing season 5 while finishing season 4 just to force ourselves to commit to a certain schedule.
Season 2 of Rick and Morty arrived over a year after season 1, and season 3 needed a year and a half. When season 4 finally comes out, a little over two years will have elapsed since the end of season 3. Obviously, with at least 70 total episodes to produce, Roiland and Harmon don’t want to keep taking two years off between seasons, unless they wish to still be churning out Rick and Morty when they’re elderly.
Actually, Harmon and Roiland sound like perhaps they wouldn't mind making Rick and Morty for the rest of their lives. Roiland told EW he could see the show going on for 20 or 30 seasons like The Simpsons. However, Roiland also says he might reconsider if people stopped watching. A day may come when Rick and Morty indeed loses its loyal fanbase, but it’s safe to say that day is a long way off, as anticipation for season 4 couldn't be higher. And the best piece of news for fans is that they won’t have to wait two more years for season 5 - assuming Harmon and Roiland can stick to their schedule.