‘Rick and Morty’: Dan Harmon Teases Extended Season 4 and Talks Fan Theories
It seems hard to believe, but the long-awaited third season of Rick and Morty is almost over. The season finale airs in a matter of days, which is about the time fans will start chomping at the bit for Season 4. There was a pretty long gap in between Season 2 and 3, and creators/showrunners Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland owned up to the delay themselves, chalking it up to being perfectionists—but I think it’s been well worth the wait. Nearly every episode of this third season has immense rewatchability, fantastic jokes, and is extremely emotionally impactful. In short, it’s the best season of Rick and Morty yet.
So this now means that Harmon and Roiland have turned their attention to Rick and Morty Season 4, and in a new interview with EW, Harmon revealed that they could possibly extend that season to 14 episodes instead of 10:
“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.”
Indeed, Season 3 was supposed to be 14 episodes, but it ended up being 10. But I think Harmon’s approach here is solid, and here’s hoping this actually pans out and we get an extended season next time around.
The good news is Harmon reveals they already have plenty of story ideas lined up for the next season, which they hatched during the making of Season 3:
“There are a million stories about episodes that started as one thing and then became another. The second episode of season 3 — that’s them going to a Mad Max style adventure in a post-apocalyptic wasteland — believe it or not, that story started with the idea of Rick having a “Book-A-Lyzer” which is a device where you can go into any book. They were going to find a book by Jerry that he wrote when he was younger and they end up trapped in his crappy novel. That episode changed so much that we can still do that episode. If an episode grows from one [idea] into an entirely different [idea] that’s still no better than the first, maybe we’re writing wrong. But we don’t back off on stuff so much as we say ‘maybe later’ and move on. We have a pretty hefty shoebox from season 3 of ideas that are ready to go. Some are fully written, in fact.”
As for the show itself, fans have really dug into analyzing and scrutinizing every single aspect of every episode, and one point of contention is Rick’s direct address to the camera. When asked if that means Rick knows he’s in a TV show, Harmon’s response could apply to any number of fan theories:
“You can’t read too much into Rick and Morty; it’s there for your obsession. I’ve heard theories that include the idea that Rick believes in the simulation theory so therefore he thinks he’s a written character on a show in a different universe. I would never tell anybody that that is untrue. Why would it have to be untrue — until the moment it needs to be in order for a story to get told? I hesitate to say to you … I guess I will … that yeah, we largely figured Rick is just being like Daffy Duck. He’s allowed to mug to the camera like Bruce Willis did sometimes in Moonlighting. [Co-creator Justin Roiland] and I have had arguments about when it’s okay to do that and when it’s not. I have lost more of those arguments than I’ve won. And in spite of trying to convince Justin that it would ruin the show eventually if we continue to do that at the wrong times, and I guess I was wrong. Nobody has stopped believing Rick is real.”
The full interview over at EW is well worth a read, in which Harmon also confirms they don’t “map out” the entire series ahead of time and instead focus on making Rick and Morty timeless with endless possibilities. It remains one of the best shows on TV, and while I’m sad this season’s already at an end, I look forward to seeing what Harmon and Roiland cook up for Season 4…in three or four years.