By Craig Hubert | A lot of news is coming out of the “Arrested Development” panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, where (most of) the cast and creator/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz joined together to talk about the upcoming, 14-episodes-all-at-once, season, set to premiere in May on Netflix. Hurwitz knows his fans and understands what they want (more on that below), and the binge-watching release on Netflix seems perfectly suited for an audience that, most likely, discovered the show doing just that. The large cast was mum on plot details for the reunion, but was able to discuss some of the guest stars, how the season is structured, and the plans for the future.
Hurwitz referred to the new batch of episodes as an anthology, with each episode focusing on a particular character from the ensemble cast, meaning there won’t be many scenes with multiple characters featured. Part of the reason for structuring the episodes this way was the availability of the actors, many of whom are committed to other shows and film projects and were clearing as much room in their schedules as possible to take part in the reunion. This doesn’t mean you watch the episodes in any order you choose. “There is absolutely an order we have put together to create the maximum number of surprises,” Hurwitz said.
Hurwitz mentioned that when he initially sat down to start writing a new installment of “Arrested Development,” he stumbled upon fan-fiction that actually beat him to the punch on many things he wanted to tackle. Instead of being upset, it made him proud that viewers were so invested and knew as much about the universe of the show as he did. “We want to reward the fans for sticking with us,” Hurwitz said, which is why everyone has been so tight lipped on plot details.
GUEST STARS AND A NEW ROLE
It was announced that Liza Minnelli, Conan O’Brien, John Slattery, and Isla Fisher would all appear in the new batch of episodes. Michael Cera, a regular cast member, has also taken on a new role: member of the writing staff. “Michael is such a brilliant guy and such a great writer,” Hurwitz told the audience. “I had some wild ideas that didn’t make it,” Cera quickly added.
The audience was teased with the first footage from the new season, which, based on the rapturous reaction on Twitter, bodes well for its May premiere. The clip, reportedly a deleted scene, had the crowd in tears laughing. “Under house arrest in her penthouse, Lucille (Jessica Walter) blows smoke into the mouth of mama’s boy Buster (Tony Hale), who has to hustle out to the patio to release her puff of smoke,” reports Entertainment Weekly. “The process that is repeated multiple times, each time taking an increasing toll on poor Buster.”
Yes, Hurwitz confirmed that this is only the first part of the reunion. The film, which they still hope to make, will complete the story. So expect a lot more “Arrested Development” in the next few years.
Image: Mitch Hurwitz/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images