Updated January 14, 2019: Added 2020 movie announcement, 2019 recap film, teaser video, and key visual.
Will Free! Season 4 allow the boys of the Iwatobi Swim Club to see their Olympic dreams take flight in the water? Years after the last season, Kyoto Animation brought the 2018 Free! Dive to the Future anime to our TV screens. Thankfully, Episode 12 of the third season made it plainly clear that there is more to the story by proclaiming, “See you in 2020!”
It turns out the “Road To 2020” will be paved by a 2019 compilation film based on the story events of Free! Season 3: Dive To The Future. The new film will extend the “reconstruction” of the story by offering a “new episode” according to an official teaser video released in January 2019. The release date for the recap movie is scheduled for July 5, 2019.
The big news is that a direct movie sequel with an original story will be released during the time frame of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, which begins in July 2020. The exact title has not yet been announced, but a teaser visual shows one of the characters.
This article provides everything that is known about Free! Season 4 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
The future of the Free! Iwatobi Swim Club anime
The Free! Iwatobi Swim Club anime was originally based on light novels written by Koji Oji. In 2011, the author received an honorable mention in the Kyoto Animation Award contest. Published back in 2013, there were only two novels and a book sequel was never written.
That did not stop the anime studio, which is well known for expanding on the premise of a book and creating rich anime original stories (Violet Evergarden Season 2 is very likely for this very reason).
Kyoto Animation followed up the first 2013 season with the 2014 Free! Eternal Summer. If you haven’t already watched the first two seasons, you should watch Free! Timeless Medley since the two-part movie series is simply a compilation of the first two seasons.
The 2017 movie Free! Take Your Marks! told four original stories set in early spring. It’s designed to lead up to the events of Free! Dive to the Future, the third season.
More of a slice of life anime, it told the story of Haruka and Makoto’s high school graduation. Rin continued his training in Australia while everyone else was trying to figure out what to do with their futures.
So far, the third season seems to be leaving plenty of room for Free! Season 4. The boys are reuniting in college and dealing with lingering fears from middle school.
New members are being added to the Iwatobi swim team. The third season is more about setting up their future rather than meeting it head-on, so it appears anime fans might look forward to Olympic swimming references with the 2020 Free! movie.
The only question mark is whether the 2020 film will be a series of short series or if it’ll dive right in to the meat of the plot. Similar to how the 2017 movie Free! Take Your Marks! lead up to the events of Free! Season 3: Dive To The Future, the 2020 film is likely to set up the conditions for Free! Season 4.
Free! Season 4 release date – Can history be a guide to the future?
As of the last update, Kyoto Animation or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Free! Season 4 release date. Nor has the production of a TV anime sequel been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Free! Season 4 premiere date will occur in the future.
Considering that the upcoming untitled Free! movie is scheduled for the summer of 2020 it’s very likely that Free! Season 4 will not release until 2021 or beyond. But the real question is whether the movie will depict story events prior to the main event or jump right in.
Starting with the first season, Kyoto Animation started teasing fans about what to expect. The end card proclaimed, “See You Next Summer,” and sure enough the second season was about a summer.
That season ended with a with Rin and Haruka on the world stage and the words, “For the Future,” and the third season included the word “future” in the title. Similarly, the most recent film, the movie Free! Take Your Marks!, ended with the message “See You Next Stage.”
The latest video trailers for the new movie reference “Free! Road To 2020” so it seems Kyoto Animation is trying to capitalize on the timing of the 2020 summer Olympics in real life. The ending of the 2020 film will likely reference the next development in the story.
Perhaps Free! Season 4 will be about seeking Olympic glory and not just the road leading up to the big event? Let’s just hope the wait for the fourth season is not too long. Stay tuned!