Rick and Morty: Dan Harmon's Story Circle Becomes Our New Obsession

Fans of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's Rick and Morty are finding themselves in that weird between-seasons "phantom zone" where the hunger for new content tends to be left starving. While we're keeping our fingers, toes, and various other crossable body parts crossed that November/May is the fixed release calendar (means new eps in less than five months), Adult Swim is giving us a look behind the scenes at the creative process that's a lot more dangerous than it appears. In the following clip, Harmon explains the concept behind his "story circle": the circular journey characters often take during an episode (yup, our brains our bleeding flashing back to the midseason return ep) and applies it to the second episode of the second season, "Mortynight Run."

Rick and Morty
A scene from Rick and Morty episode "Mortynight Run" (Image: Adult Swim).

The reason why we're calling it "dangerous": by the time you're done watching the video below, you'll want to see if it applies to other episodes. Trust us. It does. That's not a rabbit hole you want to find yourselves tumbling down. We did, and it's fascinating how well it works as a template. Make sure you stay around until the end when Harmon touches on something from the episode that could really come into play considering he the fourth season ended.

While he had promising news about the fifth season to share, it looks like series co-creator Justin Roiland is as much in the dark over how the next season will go release-wise just like the rest of us: "I think it's largely dependent on how quick the episodes can get produced. I know season five is mostly in the can. They're still gonna be reworking when the animatics come back, so that can extend the process. I believe if they have the full ten episodes, they'll release them without a split, but I honestly have no idea. That's kind of a question that's outside of my jurisdiction. They do what they think is best for the show."

Rick and Morty
A scene from Rick and Morty episode "Mortynight Run" (Image: Adult Swim).

Roiland isn't just a fan of having a split in the schedule like we saw this season, but he loves the idea of playing around with release schedules and other new ways of getting episodes out to the fans. Even monthly: "I've been saying we should drop an episode each month, just make it a big event. I like the idea of thinking outside the box with how any show is delivered to the masses. 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. I'm not saying that's ever gonna happen, but I have brought that up in the past. That just goes to the point that I have no idea what the plan is for season five. I'm sure whatever it is will be the right decision."

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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