[Update: We've added newly released images from season 4 down the page.]
Arrested Development season 4 will premiere in its entirety on Netflix in May, though the precise date is still unknown. You can check out the recently released episode list here (14 in all, subject to change), which basically confirmed that every episode will focus on a single member of the nefarious Bluth clan.
At the TCA Press Tour today, creator Mitch Hurwitz went into quite a bit of detail about what’s in store for season 4, including plot details, format, and much, much more. He also talked a bit about the (hopefully) forthcoming movie and unveiled a deleted scene from the new season.
On season 4’s plot – courtesy of The Detroit Free Press – Mitch Hurwitz said:
"The bigger story is the family has fallen apart at the start of our show. They all went their own way, without Michael holding them together, so they're left to their own devices, and they're not the most successful devices. […] Each individual [episode] kind of depicts what happens in 2006 as the Bluths fled from the law on the Queen Mary."
If you recall, in the
series season 3 finale – titled "Development Arrested" - Lucille Bluth was revealed to be the mastermind behind all the Bluths’ misdeeds and illegalities (well, most of the big ones, anyway). The SEC, of course, attempted to arrest her, so she made a break for it by commandeering the Queen Mary and setting out to sea.
We’ve known since season 4 was announced that the episodes therein would focus on one character at a time, though there was some indication that the producers had changed their minds on that. Hurwitz talked about why the “one character per episode” model was necessary for season 4, saying:
"Contractually, we couldn't use all the characters in every episode; they were not free to do as much television as they want. [As a result], we're not jumping from one thing to another [as we did in seasons 1-3]; you're staying with one character [per episode]. [T]he moment you saw in one show will reappear in another show from a different character's perspective. If people watch it all at once, it will seem like a giant 'Arrested Development.' It's really tailored for Netflix."
Does this mean that the entire Bluth family won’t be on screen together in season 4?
"You don't see them all together until you see the movie, [but] I can assure you that the characters are just as damaged, self-involved, and self-righteous as ever."
One of three outcomes is likely to occur after season 4 is released. 1) Season 4 bombs (or does okay, but not crazy awesome) and the plans for a feature film are scrapped. 2) Season 4 is very successful and a feature film follow-up comes to fruition. 3) Season 4 is very successful and Hurwitz decides to just continue making seasons instead of a movie.
As a fan, does it matter to you if you get a movie or more seasons - or both? Frankly, I'm just happy to be getting more content, no matter what the format of that content takes (within reason - an Arrested Development roleplaying game would be awesome, but it would not satiate my hunger for more live-action AD storytelling).
On Michael Cera (who plays George Michael, Michael Bluth's son) joining the writing staff - courtesy of The Huffington Post - Hurwitz said:
"Michael is such a brilliant guy and such a great writer, and I really did bring him in because he's such an open guy and he wanted to learn this other craft, and suddenly we were very dependent about Michael Cera being in the writers' room ... he understood this complex story and was pitching stories in character."
Since the release of Juno and Superbad, Michael Cera's star has undeniably dimmed to a degree. Though he's obviously very talented and funny, audiences have seemingly gotten annoyed with his tendency to play emo young adults trying to "get the girl" with sarcasm and whatever. I would argue that George Michael does not fall into that same group of characters - he's just too sincere and down-to-Earth to be, for want of a better term, a "hipster."
Regardless, I wonder if Cera joining the writing staff is an indication of where he wants to take his career. Could the future of Michael Cera be more on the creative and behind-the-camera side of things?
Other interesting details about season 4 include:
- Michael Bluth (Jason Batemen) is the only Bluth who will appear in every single episode.
- Though season 4 will initially take place in 2006 – in the wake of “Development Arrested” – it will eventually bring the characters into the present.
- The final episode will tease the (hopefully) forthcoming movie by referencing an imminent family reunion.
- A deleted scene was shown featuring Lucille (Jessica Walter) and Buster (Tony Hale). Lucille is smoking a cigarette in her apartment, where smoking is not allowed, so she keeps blowing the smoke into Buster’s mouth for him to blow it outside for her. He begs her to stop, but she keeps smoking and blowing it into his mouth until he passes out.
- Hurwitz doesn't consider season 4 to (technically) be season 4 - it's act 1 of a three-act story that will be continued in a movie and perhaps additional seasons.
- The movie is still in the works, but nothing’s guaranteed.
- There's a set order to the season, even though each episode takes place concurrently (more or less).
- Reruns of Arrested Development have been some of the most watched episodes on Netflix instant streaming, which is why Netflix decided to help produce new content for the series.
- Netflix outbid Showtime for the rights to house Arrested Development season 4.
What are your thoughts on the new Arrested Development season 4 details, Screen Ranters? Are you excited about the new format? A little bit terrified that the new season won't live up to your impossible expectations? Don't be shy - drop us a line in the comments.
Update: Just after we posted this article, two new images from season 4 popped up online (courtesy of Hollywood.com). The first one depicts Michael Bluth having trouble skipping town thanks to a "totally inept" airline worker played by Adam DeVine (Workaholics). The second one features George Michael driving the stair car.
Check them out below:
CLICK FOR FULL IMAGES
Ahh, the stair car rides again.
Arrested Development season 4 will be released on Netflix in May 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.