Rick And Morty's Dan Harmon Explained The Big Reasons For Season 7's Ending, And They May Hint At The Series' Future

 Rick and Morty staring into the hole.
Credit: Adult Swim

It feels like it wasn't that long ago that Adult Swim announced a massive renewal for Rick and Morty, but we're far closer to the end of deal than its beginning. As fans wonder whether or not Season 10 will be the final season, Dan Harmon is citing his reasoning behind Season 7's ending, and it's a two-fold answer that presumably speaks to the animated hit's future.

Harmon recently spoke to Variety about many things, including the Season 7 finale. The episode ended up being an emotional favorite of CinemaBlend's Nick Venable but has garnered criticism elsewhere feeling like a reset after so many consequential events happened in previous Season 7 episodes. The co-creator spoke of the necessity of a reset being tied to the behind-the-scenes drama with Justin Roiland's firing, with the hopes of giving Rick and Morty Season 8 a chance to start fresh without shedding viewers. In his words:

I think a reset is a good way of looking at it. We had so much behind the scenes drama that I think we didn’t need a lot of irony and challenge on the screen narratively. I think the experiment became, can we accomplish the show moving forward? Can the fans not lose their favorite show, not be distracted by any of the turbulence?

Rather than wait until the end of the season, Rick and Morty delivered its most jaw-dropping canon moments midway through the season, particularly when Rick C-137 finally killed his nemesis Rick Prime. The season-capping "Fear No Mort" was relatively tame in comparison, feeling more like a standard series adventure with no long-term consequences outside of perhaps Morty's catharsis. I would imagine the episode would have received more universal acclaim had it not been the season finale, but I can understand Harmon's reason for ending with it.

And I grasp that impetus to end things that way even more so after reading Dan Harmson's second reason, which points to the future of Rick and Morty. The co-creator has worked on a lot of TV in his career, and noted the importance of what a Season 7 story reset sets up for future installments.

There was also another important reason to reset, which is we’re anticipating doing a lot more of these. This was always designed to be a show that could last thousands of episodes. And you can’t last thousands of episodes if you’re simply going to tell a serialized story about how your protagonist stops being the protagonist. I’ve always been obsessively focused on maintaining modularity, so that the more popular your show gets, the more accessible it is to a hopefully increasing freeway of traffic.

While Dan Harmon can't say anything with certainty about Season 11 and beyond, it sounds like he's expecting Rick and Morty to score another renewal down the line, presumably with Adult Swim. I'm not exactly surprised, considering the series remains very popular and has landed in the conversation for the best animated shows of all time, on top of being one of TV's most merchandised series. Provided Harmon & Co. are willing to keep the series going, it seems like a no-brainer for network execs to keep the door open.

As part of the reset, Rick and Morty did make one big change that I'm hoping will be addressed in the near future. Mr. Poopybutthole used a stolen portal gun to murder a version of himself in another universe so that he could have his wife and son back. This dark path for the beloved character could result in a serialized arc told across sporadic references in one or more eps each season. That's part of the fun of Rick and Morty; I can never quite tell where things are headed!

Rick and Morty Season 8 isn't premiering on Adult Swim until 2025, though with the upcoming anime spinoff bringing surprising characters into its first season, I'm good with waiting on that to see what this new series has to offer.