Back in January, most of the Bluth family — George Sr., Gob, Lucille, Michael, Maeby, George Michael and Lindsay (Buster and Tobias, sadly, were both absent) — and their creator, Mitch Hurwitz, sat down at the Television Critics Association in Pasadena to dodge questions about what would be in the new episodes of the series produced for Netflix.
There were a few details that they were happy to share: 14 new episodes would be debuting in May, but Jason Bateman said, “Somebody wrote that this was Season 4 and, in fact, it is not that. And we should probably make that clear.”
Netflix, however, seems to have other ideas. Yesterday the company announced the “highly-anticipated fourth season launches with 15 episodes,” and that it would be released on May 25. Lest anyone think there may have been some huge mistake, the Netflix statement added, “(Not a Typo).”
When the news was announced in November 2011 that Arrested Development was filming new episodes for Netflix, the promise was 10 episodes. But when filming started in August, it went well — so well, in fact, that in December, Deadline reported that the production companies had halted filming so Hurtwitz could figure out how to account for new story arcs introduced by the extra footage.
When the whole gang got together in January, they were just beginning post-production on the episodes, and that’s when and announced there would be 14 episodes. (Also in January, screenshots of 14 episodes with titles, ostensibly pulled from a Fox press site, made the rounds on the Internet.)
“We’re just starting post-production. We have a lot of post to do, a lot of pieces, and a lot of storytelling,” Hurwitz told the audience. “So some of the storytelling will be in flux” — apparently, so much flux that there was enough for an entire extra episode.
No one knows what’s in the first 14 episodes, much less the 15th, but Hurwitz and the cast have left some clues.
There will be more Michael Bluth.
Hurwitz and Bateman have both said that he is the only character that will appear in every episode.
There will also be more George Michael.
And there will definitely be more Michael Cera. At the TCA event in January, Cera confirmed that he joined the writers’ room to contribute to the George Michael episode — and then just hung around.
“Suddenly we were very dependent on Michael Cera being in the writers room. He completely understood this complex story,” Hurwitz said at TCA. “He added to it. He pitched in character. It became clear — it’s like, wow, this is like his first language, Arrested Development.”
Some of the minor characters will return.
Hurwitz confirmed to USA Today that minor characters who appeared in the original series, like lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler) and Lucille Austero (Liza Minnelli), will return. He also said that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer would appear (their company, Imagine TV, is producing the show).
But Julia Louis-Dreyfus will not reprise her role as Maggie Lizer, Michael’s on-again, off-again love interest (and George Sr.’s prosecutor), Hurwitz told Crave.
The Bluth family will finally be reunited.
Every character will appear in the final episode.
The last episode might set the stage for a movie.
At least, Jason Bateman is utterly convinced that it will. He told GQ:
“Mitch [Hurwitz] was always planning on writing a movie. Every time he went to start a movie script, there was so much work to be done just to fill the audience in on where the family had been since the end of the show, and to also initiate the uninitiated about who these characters are. So he thought: The only way to tell a story of this size is to do the first act in episodes. So it’s really a hybrid distribution of one big story. The episodes are simply act 1, and the movie will have act 2 and act 3 in it. So one does not work without the other.”
In January Cera told MTV News, “I’m not sure if Mitch is thinking of it like that. It’s open ended in a way. There are a lot of things set up that could be paid off later on, so in that way, I think it’s sort of suggesting that he wants to do more of them.”
David Cross sounded a similarly hesitant note when he was interviewed by Cera in New York last month, saying, “I don’t know if there’s going to be a movie.”
And there will be cutoffs.
When David Cross was interviewed by Rolling Stone back in August he was asked how it felt to be back in the cutoffs.
“Well, the cutoffs themselves are great, because that first day of shooting we were in Burbank, and it was 102 degrees. It was a treat to be in the cutoffs,” he said.