Speaking with Den of Geek at the Tribeca Film Festival after the premiere of Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss by Passing Through the Gateway Chosen by the Holy Storch, Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon provided an update on the ongoing contract negotiations holding up the Season 4 renewal of the Adult Swim series. No, Rick and Morty Season 4 hasn’t been cancelled, but negotiations are far from over, due to what Harmon calls “an unprecedented situation.”
“I’m optimistic right now,” Harmon told Den of Geek. “Negotiations are tough. It’s an unprecedented situation, and everybody’s being real cool and wants to make an agreement happen so that we can get started. That’s about all I can say.”
The protracted negotiations for Rick and Morty Season 4 could mean big delays for its eventual release date. Fans were first made aware of the surprising absence of a Season 4 renewal in March, when Harmon mentioned that a new season had yet to be “ordered by a network.” This was in sharp contrast with Rick and Morty Season 3, which was renewed by Adult Swim before Season 2 had finished airing.
Subsequent reveals from Harmon and Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland (who created and voices both of the titular characters) put the responsibility on Turner Broadcasting System, Adult Swim’s parent company. “ Nobody is unaware of the show’s impact or financial value. No amount of picket signs or hashtags or tantrums will ‘awaken’ anyone to jack shit. Suits gonna suit. The rest of us gonna wait,” Harmon said.
The situation looked a little rosier at the beginning of April, with Harmon describing the negotiations as potentially approaching a “return threshold”—an allusion to the narrative arc found in Joseph Campbell-inspired screenwriting techniques, including Harmon’s own “story circle” used in diagramming episodes of Rick and Morty.
The “unprecedented situation” could be the corporate response to the immense and unexpected popularity of Rick and Morty, premiering as part of the typically cult Adult Swim lineup, or something else entirely. We’re unlikely to find out until the negotiations are finally settled and production on Rick and Morty Season 4 finally gets underway.
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