If you’ve spent more than five minutes on the Internet over the past two months, you’re no doubt aware that the new season of Arrested Development is currently filming. The blogosphere and the Twittersphere have been aflame with news, leaked photos, and updates pretty much nonstop since production began, and we’’e collected all of the info on Arrested Development’s upcoming fourth season into one convenient, comprehensive post. We’ll update this as more news comes out.
If you don’t want the show spoiled at all (we link to but don’t spell out the big spoilers) or have any amount of self-control with this sort of thing, you’re not gonna want to read all of the information below:
Basic info about Season 4:
Filming began in August, and Netflix is targeting a May 2013 release date for the new season but no official date has been set. Netflix will be releasing every episode from the new season streaming on the same day.
Netflix originally ordered 10 episodes, but Mitch Hurwitz and the production company, Imagine TV, requested additional episodes and Netflix said yes, expanding the season order to 14 episodes.
Each episode is centered around a different character, but we’ll see the characters in each other’s episodes. Ron Howard tweeted the cover page of the script to the first episode, which is called “Michael”:
“Because of the nature of the new series — it’s almost an anthology version of the show with each episode focusing on a particular character and where they’ve been since the family fell apart six years ago — we didn’t really have many of our principal characters together until the twelfth or thirteenth day of shooting.” - Mitch Hurwitz
Paul Rust (an amazingly funny regular on the podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! and Paul Reubens’s co-writer on the Pee-Wee Herman movie he was working on for Judd Apatow) has joined the Arrested Development writing staff, and Michael Cera is also writing for the show this season.
The Season is Leading Up to an Arrested Development Movie That Hasn’t Been Sold Yet:
“The episodes are an outgrowth of the design of what we hope will be the movie. They precede it. They function as an act one of a movie that we all want to do, but haven’t “sold” yet. The episodes take the audience through the experiences of the characters since the family “fell apart” and how they’re brought together to deal with their new problems. I would give you a hint as to what those problems are, but, really, why rob the fans of being disappointed when they see it on Netflix?” - Mitch Hurwitz “If and when the movie happens there’s been a lot of talk … there are people that have kind of reserved spots in that that would be very exciting” - Jason Bateman
“We would love this to be the first of many visits,” Hurwitz said to Vulture, who reported that he’s open to the idea of doing a fifth and even a sixth season on Netflix.
Supporting Characters Confirmed to Be Coming Back:
When Justin Grant Wade, who played Steve Holt on the original series, announced last year he hadn’t been asked back for the Arrested Development reboot, a Save Steve Holt campaign was born on the Internet that Wade may or may not be a part of. Wade did a Reddit AMA to promote the cause, but there’s been no word on this since then.
New Guest Stars:
Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm, stars of Comedy Central’s Workaholics, are playing a trio of incompetent airline employees in the first episode. DeVine revealed a minor plot detail in recent interview, which I won’t spoil here.
Arrested Development producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will appear on screen.
John Slattery (Mad Men) has a multi-episode arc in an unspecified role.
Isla Fisher and Terry Crews will be guest starring, but it hasn’t been announced who they’ll be playing.
Chris Diamantopoulos (Three Stooges) has been cast in an unspecified role that will see him appearing in at least three episodes.
Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec, House of Lies) will appear in an unspecified role.
Will Arnett revealed on Conan that Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter will guest star, presumably as themselves.
Maria Bamford will also appear in “a tiny part.”
Jason Bateman got into some light trouble for accidentally leaking some guest star info via some pictures of the set he tweeted:
“I’ve been accidentally leaking. [Mitch] has been yelling at me because, like, stuff in the background I’m accidentally getting that actually has some relevance and I don’t realize it. So I’ve stopped… I wanted to take a shot on the first day of lights and camera and, like, “obviously, he’s on a set,” and in that shot are a couple of cast members from a show Workaholics. And after I took that picture, like hours afterwards, I was talking to those actors and a kid came up asking for their autograph. And I said, “Are you guys in a movie or a show or something?” And they were like, “Yeah, we’re in this show called Workaholics.” And I was like, “Oh cool, I gotta see that.” And then of course once the Tweet was up, I’d already sent out the Tweet, but I didn’t put two and two together and a day later I saw that it was all over the boards: “Oh my god! The Workaholics are in it!” Mitch said, “Hey man …” [does scowling Mitch impersonation].
Jason Bateman isn’t the only one leaking info from the set. This hasn’t been reported anywhere else, but, apparently, some guy just waltzed onto the Arrested Development set in Long Beach last month and snapped a bunch of spoiler-filled pictures and put them online. I’m not gonna embed the photos here, but if you’d like to see them, here’s one spoilery photo and here’s a slideshow featuring another big spoiler. You’ve been warned.
Dan Harmon’s Mysterious Involvement:
I asked him if I could tweet the pic and he said yes but I won’t say anything else, other than: I was on the set of Arrested and I met Mitch Hurwitz, who hugged me and acted like it was cool for HIM that I was there, and we talked smack about network politics and it was a dream come true. He is as cool and smart as you’d imagine him to be. The thing that took me by surprise is that he’s not a 500 pound, pock-marked bald guy with squirrels in his beard, because I would imagine that his level of talent would involve that kind of body. But wouldn’t you know, he’s not only a genius, he’s also spry and adorable. The more I think about it, the more I realize it made me feel like shit to meet him. Just kidding. It was awesome.
Quotes from the Cast and Crew:
“I’m not gonna divulge anything, but I know what the stories are and what Mitch [Hurwitz] is doing, and it’s so layered. It’s really audacious and amazing. I think a lot of people will miss the work that is involved, the story, the Venn diagrams that are being created, the domino effect that characters have with each other in their various episodes. I know what he’s doing, and this has never been done on a TV show like this. This makes Lost look like a Spalding Gray monologue. You’ll have to watch each episode more than once.”
“One of the lesser known realities of the shrinking television [business] is that studios strip the walls and sell off the props when shows are cancelled. So many of the elements we’re revisiting have needed to be rebuilt or made. So some of the changes are subtle. For instance they discontinued the carpet we used in Lucille’s penthouse as well the one we cut Tobias’s moustache from. But we found a new paisley that works for both. Also the original Segway is out of production so we had to put some old pieces on a new one.”
“Mitch isn’t trying to recreate something. It’s been away for a while, and part of the fun that Mitch has been mining and exploiting is, what’s new to discover about these people? What’s delightfully unchanged? He and the writing staff and the actors have a fantastic sense of that. They’re pretty brazen, pretty bold and fearless. That’s what made the show into something that fans really kept alive… [Everyone] is in great form and dying to take the characters further. They’re having the greatest time getting together and getting back into it. It’s cool and bold and funny, and out there taking chances, just like it always did.”
“You know, I’m always confused about how much I can say, but what I do know is that – Alia [Shawkat] is one of my best friends and Michaal [Cera] too so I definitely have seen some of the things that are going down with the show and it is amazing. It’s so incredible and so smart and wonderful and just outrageously great. People are going to absolutely love it. Fans of the show will really love what they’re doing with the new reboot of it and I definitely will say I could never let this opportunity go by without absolutely forcing myself to be a part of it. I would have done some crazy, crazy stuff if I thought for a second that I wasn’t going to be able to be a part of it. I feel so lucky to be such a small part of this.”
“It’s like the weirdest flashbacks, and it’s been six years since we wrapped and it feels like no time has passed, and that’s what’s even weirder… The scripts keep getting funnier and funnier, and you know, we just get to do some crazy shit.”
“However, I will admit that the day a bigger group of the cast did get together really was amazing. We were in an old set and hearing some of those voices together. I think everyone involved was kind of dumbstruck by it. It really wasn’t supposed to happen in a way; shows don’t “come back.” And this was the moment we realized it had.”
“I think it’s great and that the writing is great. It’s very bold. I’m very proud of Mitch. You know it’s not going off into some place that’s going to alienate people who love those characters, but it’s just going to further enrich their interest in these characters, and the way these characters make us all laugh. I think he’s really done something great. The cast is so excited about it. And it’s cool and fun to get back in that groove, it’s also pushing the boundaries from a story standpoint, character standpoint, and a comedic standpoint in a way that really inspires them. So it doesn’t feel like some opportunistic reunion, it feels like the next iteration of it all.”
“Mitch Hurwitz is one of the three or four geniuses that I have worked with over my career. I’m not kidding, it’s as funny as you want it to be… Mitch was worried. How do you bring all those people forward six years in a two hour movie? And he couldn’t solve that problem for himself. So, he made the deal with Netflix to make ten episodes. Each episode is a character. Each episode is a member of the family and each episode brings you forward. So now everybody will be up to date and then out of that will come the movie. But Mitch is there every day and watches the comedy like a mother hen. I would say point-one percent is ad-libbed. The rest of it is written by Mitch and his incredible team. And then, I think even Michael Cera, this go-around, has spent a lot of time in the writer’s room.”
“You know, it’s just so good. You can’t keep people like that down. With writing like that and people who are that good and it’s the same group of people and the same dynamic, I wouldn’t bet against it.”
“I will tell you from what I’ve seen so far they may be even funnier than before!”
-John Beard , the show’s resident newsman
“IMHO – the writing is even better than before and the creative team, headed by Mitchell Hurwitz, is amazing.”
-BW Gonzalez, who plays Lupe the housekeeper
“The only difference is all of a sudden people care about it and are actually paying attention and are really looking forward to it. And it feels really nice, because we worked so hard on the show then, and it used to bother us [that] we would win all these Emmys and no one fuckin’ knew about the show. It’s kind of a cool thing to come back.”
UPDATED: January 13, 2013
Still not enough AD for you? Get extra excited for the new season by revisiting the original episodes with our 53 Arrested Development Jokes You Probably Missed.
Bradford Evans is Splitsider’s Associate Editor.