The wait is finally almost over for season 4 of Rick and Morty, the wildly popular Adult Swim series that somehow manages to be hilarious, harrowing, heartfelt, and incredibly crass — often all at once. Creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland have promised that the new season will feature a more heavily serialized format than previous ones, and fans across the internet have made a pastime out of engaging in wild speculation as to what the overarching plot line might be.
Moreover, though, the show’s devotees love to wonder which of the hysterical, often totally bizarre supporting characters from previous seasons might pop back up in Rick and Morty season 4. The show constantly serves up heaping helpings of idiosyncratic, lazily-named side players (we’re looking at you, Risotto Groupon), some of whom have only appeared once — and many of whom really deserve more time in the spotlight.
We know who we’re rooting for the hardest to make an encore appearance, but we’re certainly not the only ones who have an opinion. Around the web, you can find the Rick and Morty fandom clamoring for the return of everybody from Morty’s half-Gazorpian son Morty Jr. to Abradolf Lincler — and there are a few names that seem to pop up more than others.
One of the most common of these: Mr. Poopybutthole, the sausage-shaped little interdimensional being who made his first appearance in the season 2 episode “Total Rickall.” In the episode, alien parasites invade the Smith household, manifesting as strange and wacky characters of whom the entire family, Rick and Morty included, have fond (but false) memories. Once Morty realizes that the parasites are only capable of manufacturing positive memories, the family goes on a parasite-killing spree, mercilessly wiping out scores of zany characters — with only Mr. Poopybutthole left standing.
Realizing that she has no bad memories of the little guy, Beth shoots and grievously wounds him — but, alas, he’s no parasite, just really cool, friendly, and helpful. The character survived, and popped up in fourth-wall-breaking appearances in the post-credits stingers of the final episodes of seasons 2 and 3, speculating as to what adventures the Smith family might go on next (and lamenting the long waits between seasons). Even if Mr. Poopybutthole fails to appear during a main storyline, it seems pretty likely that he’ll show up once again in this meta capacity at some point during Rick and Morty season 4.
Another fan favorite just begging for another appearance: Jaguar, the lethally dangerous freedom fighter memorably portrayed by Danny Trejo in the stellar season 3 episode “Pickle Rick.” In this episode, Rick accidentally infiltrates a Russian espionage agency’s facility while in the form of a pickle sporting a powered suit made from dead rats and cockroaches (long story). Jaguar, who is being held captive in the facility, is dispatched to neutralize Rick with the promise of a reunion with his daughter Katarina if he is successful; of course, it turns out that the poor girl is already dead, leading Jaguar to team up with Rick to take out the nefarious Russians, and Rick subsequently allows Jaguar to go free.
In the episode’s post-credits stinger, Rick and Morty are saved from a grim fate at the hands of piano-themed villain Concerto (in a brilliant nod to the ’60s Batman TV series) by Jaguar’s timely reappearance. This is a character who could really stand to show up at least one more time, even if it’s to once again act as a deus ex machina, riding out of nowhere to Rick and Morty’s rescue.
But if there’s one character that we simply need to see make a return for Rick and Morty season 4, it’s that staunch ally of Rick and sage dispenser of avian wisdom, Birdperson. The character has appeared in a number of episodes, and is usually depicted as being by far the smartest person (or bird) in the room. Like most of us, though, Birdperson was shown in his next-to-last appearance to be susceptible to being blinded by love; during his wedding reception, he was betrayed and shot full of holes by his would-be bride Tammy, who revealed herself to be an agent of the Galactic Federation intent on capturing or killing most, if not all, of the members of the wedding party (most of whom were terrorists in the Federation’s eyes).
Birdperson made one final appearance in the post-credits scene of the first episode of season 3, “The Rickshank Redemption.” The scene revealed that his corpse was reanimated with the use of cybernetic implants by Tammy, and that he is now referred to (of course) as “Phoenixperson.” The scene ends with the two flying off together for some undisclosed purpose; it wasn’t made clear exactly why… er… Phoenixperson’s murderer would be keen to bring him back from the dead, nor was it explained why he willingly departed with Tammy after being so cruelly betrayed. This, we submit, is a dangling plot thread which sorely needs to be addressed in Rick and Morty season 4.
At any rate, we have no doubt that Harmon and Roiland have plenty of out-of-left-field surprises in store for us when Rick and Morty returns in November. Knowing the pair’s cracked comedic sensibilities, it seems likely that we will indeed see the return of an established character or two… only perhaps not any that we would expect. Hey, maybe we’ll get an entire episode dedicated to the antics of Ants-In-My-Eyes Johnson… nobody would see that coming. Come to think of it, neither would he. (Because he has ants in his eyes.)