The return of Arrested Development is just a few weeks away. With less than a month to go until Netflix delivers the full fourth season to subscribers, we're starting to see more glimpses and hear more details on the show's return. Details about the series' highly anticipated return continue to trickle in, and in an effort to keep track of what we know, we've put together this helpful guide, which we'll continue to update as new information, photos and video come in between now and Arrested Development's Netflix premiere date, which is set for May 26.
This article contains spoilers and speculation for Season 4 (and the Season 3 finale). Best when read in the voice of Ron Howard.
Where Things Left Off In Season 3...
In the Season 3 finale, Annyong surprised everyone by revealing that he was exacting revenge against the Bluths by turning them in as payback for Lucille and George Sr. having stolen the idea for the banana stand from his grandfather. Lucille was last seen trying to flee aboard the Queen Mary. Lindsay, who recently found out she was adopted, Tobias and Gob were also on board when this happened, along with Oscar, whom everyone assumed was George Sr. until he revealed otherwise. Michael had been on board earlier, but left when he realized he was selling out to keep the business and the family together. He took off to track down George Michael, who was taking his uncle's yacht to Mexico after admitting to his father that he and Maeby had gone to second base. He also found out Gob was dating Ann (a.k.a. Bland). Buster was on board the Queen Mary when the authorities arrived, but panicked when the ship began to move and fell overboard where he found himself face to face with the seal that took his hand.
George Michael and Michael decided not to help the family out and sail off to Mexico. The epilogue reveaed George Sr. turning up in Cabo where Michael and George Michael were living. And Maeby, who was hoping to sell the rights to her family for a TV show was last seen sitting with Ron Howard (the narrator), who tells her he doesn't see the story working for a TV show, but maybe a movie.
We're left to assume that Lucille was detained, and wonder what happened to Buster and the seal. And whether or not Lindsay and Tobias reconciled.
Season 4 - 15 Episodes All At Once.
Whether or not Ron Howard's vision of a Bluth-themed movie ever comes to fruition still remains to be seen. The Arrested Development feature project has yet to be greenlit. However, we do have 15 more episodes of the series to look forward to, all of which will be made available to us on May 26. Originally, the order was for ten, however it was upped to fifteen, each of which will focus on a different character - though some characters are getting double episodes. From what EW reported in its latest issue, each episode will follow a character through three stages, one of which addresses the fallout from the Season 3 finale, one that catches us up on what's been going on with them over the last seven years, and one that addresses their current state of affairs. That involves the "enduring entanglements of family" in the present day. But from the sound of it, we shouldn't expect to see all of the characters together all that often. EW says there are just two scenes that feature all nine characters together, at least one of which is set in Lucille's penthouse, which was painstakingly re-created for the new season.
With the anticipated "crossover and braided plotting," with different things happening simultaneously as we check in with the various Bluths and Funkes, series creator Mitch Hurwitz's efforts could amount to something truly brilliant and potentially even game-changing in its design for an all-at-once season launch at Netflix. Or it'll be a confusing mess (or a "huge mistake"). Of course we don't want to believe that, but there's always the potential for that. Ideally, Hurwitz is taking brilliance to the next level with this new season, but that remains to be seen. At the very least, the Bluths will be back.
Bluth Family Photos... and Video
While some networks will flood us with photos and videos of an upcoming season ahead of its premiere, Netflix hasn't been overly generous with providing glimpses or leaking details about what's ahead for the returning series. With that said, between set photos, website/magazine shared pictures and photos released from Netflix, we have gotten a look at the characters to give us a look at the characters in the upcoming season.
The most revealing asset offered came recently in the form of the first clip, which reveals how Lucille is getting around the no-smoking rule in her building… and how Buster will most surely end up sick due to his new second-hand (or hook?) smoking habit. The scene doesn't give a whole lot away in terms of the plot, but it does indicate that Lucille hasn't changed all that much.
Update: Here's the full Season 4 trailer.
In addition to the return of Arrested Development's core cast - Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross and Alia Shawkat - Season 4 will also feature appearances by returning guest stars Liza Minelli (Lucille Austero), Ben Stiller (Tony Wonder), James Lipton (Warden Gentles), Mae Whitman (Ann), Scott Baio (Bob Loblaw), Judy Greer (Kitty) and Henry Winkler (Barry Zuckerkorn). Newcomer guest stars include John Slattery, Terry Crews, Isla Fisher, Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig. Andy Richter will be back, and this time he's bringing Conan O'Brien with him. John Krasinski will also be making a cameo appearance.
Details about the newcomers' roles haven't exactly been plentiful, however Wiig is reportedly playing a young version of Lucille Bluth. No details about Rogen's character were given, however a recent photo shows him sporting some serious sideburns for a scene with Wiig, which makes us wonder if he might be playing a young George Sr. (or Oscar). And set photos indicate that Workaholics stars Anders Holm and Adam Devine will show up in an airport scene.
Cutoffs, Dead Doves And Character Pitches
Netflix may not be giving up a whole lot in terms of actual footage or a trailer for the series' return (yet), but they have gone above and beyond in the promotional content department, releasing a bevy of hilarious character and teaser posters, which tap into some of the best character traits and memorable references, like Tobias' tendency to find the most inappropriate wording possible to make his point, or reminding us that Gob once killed a dove and advised people not to eat it. In addition to whetting our appetites for the fourth season, the teasers do an effective job of making us want to go back and watch the first three seasons to re-introduce ourselves to the Bluths. And there's still time to do that. Netflix has all three seasons available streaming.
The Bluth's frozen banana stand is on tour ahead of the series' return. More information on that here.