Rick and Morty season 4 could be longer than the usual ten-episode count of previous seasons. This news comes straight from co-creator Dan Harmon, as the animated series approaches the end of its acclaimed third season.
Rick and Morty is hitting several highs in its third season, being now both a critical darling and ratings winner for Adult Swim. Episodes like "Pickle Rick" and "Tales From The Citadel" are unlike anything else on television, exploring deep personal and societal trauma through science fiction tropes, and somehow still being hilarious. If the show has a flaw, it's the reputation it's earned for long gaps between seasons. Season 3 was initially planned to be an expanded 14 episodes, but the producers were unable to make that work, and a ten-episode season 3 debuted nearly two years after the second season ended.
Harmon is hoping he can do better next time. In an interview with EW, Harmon explained that he wants to prove to both the network and himself that the show's creative team has matured and evolved over the years, and wants to deliver an expanded season for Rick and Morty's fourth go-round:
EW: Like Game of Thrones, you’ve done about 10 episodes per season, which is pretty short for a half hour animated show. This season was supposed to have more and you guys ran into some trouble getting it done. Does 10 feel like the most you can do for keeping the quality high?
HARMON: I don’t think so, but you shouldn’t trust me, because I mostly blame myself for doing 10 instead of 14. I’m still learning how to do the show efficiently while catering to the perfectionist in all of us. I would like to think I’ve learned enough from my mistakes in season 3 that we could definitely do 14 now, but then I have to say, “Yeah but you’re the guy who says we can do 14 who turned out to be wrong so we’re not listening to you now.” The nice healthy way to approach this is I want to prove it with the first 10 of season 4 — prove it to ourselves, to production, to the network — that it’s so easy that we’ll earn additional episodes. Because I never got this far [working on NBC’s] Community. I fell apart in season 3 of Community and got fired in season 4. Now I’m about to do season 4 of Rick and Morty and want to prove that I’ve grown.
Harmon was infamously fired from Community, the live-action comedy TV series that he created, in the wake of low ratings, production delays, and a very public feud with costar Chevy Chase over the course of the show's first three seasons. He would return to the show in its fifth season and oversaw its final sixth year on the ill fated Yahoo Screen. Harmon seems to have a healthier relationship with Adult Swim than he ever did with NBC, though it's unquestionable that Adult Swim would like longer seasons of Rick and Morty with shorter layoffs between seasons. We'll have to wait and see then if Harmon can deliver on that ambition, this time.
Rick and Morty's season 3 finale,"The Rickchurian Mortydate", airs Sunday, October 1st on Adult Swim.