‘Sword Art Online’ fans can expect a long wait for season 4 because the Unital Ring manga is being released very slowly in stages.

For anime lovers, the wait for their favorite shows to return is nothing new.

The expression “good things come to those who wait” jumps to mind, yet no one loves the time away.

Sword Art Online season 3 premiered after an almost four-year wait, and it seemed like an eternity. We’ll have to wait another long gap before Season 4 returns to our televisions, and that’s a bummer.

Here’s everything we know so far regarding whether or not SAO will be renewed and when a new season might air, as well as the most recent news on the planned film.

Renewal Status of Sword Art Online Season 4

A-1 Pictures has yet to announce the renewal of the fourth season of Sword Art Online, but we’re confident that it will happen.

We’re optimistic because the manga series hasn’t yet been fully adapted, and the franchise is still quite popular with fans.

Sword Art Online’s third season drew from the light novel series’ ninth to eighteenth volumes. Author Reki Kawahara then said that “one more big arc” called ‘Sword Art Online: Unital Ring’ would be written following the completion of ‘Alicization.’

As a direct successor to the Alicization saga, the Unital Ring plot arc is anticipated to dominate Season 4.

One of the directors of A-1 Pictures has stated that the studio “plans to adapt the entire Sword Art Online series,” implying that all of the original content would be converted at some point.

In light of the fact that A-1 Pictures intends to adapt the entire series and that a new plot arc is already being created, Sword Art Online is all but certain to return for a fourth season.

Expected Release Date for Sword Art Online Season 4

Sword Art Online’s fourth season has yet to be announced, although the ‘Unital Ring’ storyline is expected to premiere in 2024 at the earliest.

Season 1 of Sword Art Online aired in 2012, Season 2 aired in 2014 whereas Season 3 ran from 2018 to 2020.

Kawahara’s ability to finish the light novels affects the possible release date of Sword Art Online ‘Unital Ring.’

Although just two volumes have been released in Japan, a third will be available in English in April 2022.

sword art online season 4
sword art online season 4

Kawahara is expected to produce at least two volumes a year in order to keep up with demand, which means the series won’t be finished until at least Q4 2023 at the earliest.

In the meantime, fans might hold out hope that the fourth installment will be split up into three separate seasons like Alicization.

Until the series is completed, we may expect to see three mini-seasons every 12 to 18 months, each of which will adapt new volumes of the light novel series.

The fourth season of a television show may have to be put on the back burner due to A-1 Pictures’ focus on the Progressive film series.

Progressive Films of Sword Art Online

The anime movie adaptation of Aincard, the first arc from the series, was confirmed on November 8th, 2020.

‘Aria of a Starless Night’ is the name of the film adaptation of the six-volume light novel series.  

‘Aria of a Starless Night,’ the new Sword Art Online Progress film, premiered on October 30th in Japan, December 3rd in the United States, and December 9th in Europe. If you haven’t watched the trailer for the movie, you can check it out below.

For fans of the television series, the bad news is that a second Progressive film has already been confirmed, which will now be the primary focus of the A-1 crew.

The film will be titled ‘Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of a Dark Dust’ and will premiere in Japan in 2022, though no exact date has been announced.

Moon Cradle OVA or Film

In spite of the fact that the “Unital Ring” story arc is likely to be the final one in the series, two side-stories called “Moon Cradle” have already been released since Alicization ended.

While season 4 is still under production, these two volumes could be converted into an anime movie or multiple OVA episodes.

“Another option would be to adapt Moon Cradle as a single-cour Sword Art Online Season 4,” says Monsters & Critics.

In order to “fill in the long gap” between the third season’s ending and the completion of the Unital Ring, this would push the Unital Ring arc into the fifth season.