Rick and Morty season 5: Release date, plot details, everything we know so far

The show returns in under two months. Get up to speed!

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
4 min read

 Rick and Morty will be back in June.

Adult Swim

The fifth season of Rick and Morty has a release date. On March 30, Adult Swim revealed that the Emmy-winning animated comedy will return on Sunday, June 20, at 11 p.m. ET/PT. A new trailer, dropped on May 2 shows off more of what we can expect, including a Kaiju-inspired voltron-esque battle.

Season four ended in July 2020, but it really didn't seem like a full 10-episode season, thanks to a weird four-month split in the middle and a world that changed dramatically in between the two halves. Five episodes aired in 2019, but the latest five weren't shown until spring 2020, airing as the world faced the coronavirus outbreak. The controversial sixth episode, Never Ricking Morty, even included a mention of the virus, with Rick telling his grandson to look "straight into the bleeding jaws of capitalism" and buy things, since "no one is out there" shopping.

The show was renewed for a whopping 70 new episodes back in 2018, so there are at least 60 more to go. Here's what we know about what's coming.

When to watch

Mark your calendars: Rick and Morty will return June 20, and the season is 10 episodes again. We don't know if the episodes will run without interruption, every Sunday for 10 weeks, but co-creator Justin Roiland told Slash Film he doesn't think Adult Swim will force another months-long midseason break.

"I believe if they have the full 10 episodes, they'll release them without a split, but I honestly have no idea," Roiland said back in 2020.

If it were up to Roiland, Rick and Morty might become a monthly event rather than a weekly one. "I've been saying we should drop an episode each month, just make it a big event," he said in the interview. "If you do one a month, the show is alive the whole year and you're still buying us all the time we need to make them as good as they need to be."

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Where to watch

Rick and Morty airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, usually on Sunday nights. Old episodes are available for streaming on Hulu, and now on HBO Max, or you can buy whole seasons or individual episodes on Amazon Prime or YouTube, or whole seasons on DVD, if that's your thing. Want a freebie or two? Adult Swim has a free stream of Rick and Morty episodes, shown one at a time, but you can't choose the one that's on.

What will happen next season?

Finally, thanks to the trailer, fans now have a sense of the adventures Rick and Morty will have in season 5. 

Rick and granddaughter Summer have a hilarious fight over the phrasing of that old horror-movie cliche: "It's quiet. Too quiet." Some kind of sea lord pulls his dolphin-drawn, octopus-driven carriage up to Beth and Jerry's house. The family ends up dressed like Power Ranger-type superheroes, all in different-colored costumes, ziplining through futuristic metallic tunnels. Morty gets punched in the face by a weird dog-looking alien. You know, typical stuff in the Sanchez-Smith household. 

Want more? Back in September 2019, show writer Jess Loveness tweeted a photo showing some scripts he wrote for the show. One of them is Episode 501, which would mean it's the first episode of the fifth season. Loveness blacked out the episode titles, but some fans have been trying to guess. If you're really good at decoding Sharpie scribble, have at it.

Who's who?

Rick and Morty has an enormous cast -- some characters pop in once and are never seen again, others come back from time to time. But the Smith-Sanchez family is the backbone of the show.

Rick Sanchez is a genius mad scientist who abandoned daughter Beth for years before coming back into her life. He now lives with her family, and Roiland said on Twitter the crew lives outside of Seattle. Rick is... well, eccentric isn't quite the word. He can do anything, including turn himself into a pickle, and he can go anywhere, thanks to the portal gun that lets him travel between universes/dimensions/realities. He's not exactly a good family man, but he sometimes comes through in the clutch.

Morty Smith is Rick's nervous grandson, a 14-year-old high schooler who goes along with his grandfather on many of his adventures -- often not that willingly. He has a crush on high school cool girl Jessica.

Summer Smith is Rick's granddaughter, and attends the same high school as Morty. She's a couple of years older than her brother, and quite a bit cooler.

Beth Smith is mom to Morty and Summer. Despite getting pregnant with Summer at her high school prom, she managed to become a successful horse surgeon.

Jerry Smith is Beth's husband and Morty and Summer's dad. His marriage is often rocky, and Rick loudly and clearly can barely stand him.

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