‘Arrested Development’: What We Know so Far About Season 5 on Netflix
It’s hard to believe, but Arrested Development is coming back once again. The show, which originally aired on Fox from 2003-06, came to cult status among fans discovering it on Netflix. That prompted a fourth season in 2013, which was a bit of a disappointment for fans and critics. Not to mention, it left us with a ton of questions that many worried would never be answered.
But five years later, it appears as though we will get those answers. Here is what we know about Season 5 of Arrested Development, including a few major plot points and its release date.
Lindsay is running for Congress
This one came in toward the end of Season 4, but there were some questions about the plot and how AD would handle the time jump. It has, after all, been about five years since the last season was released. But notable from the recent trailer is that Lindsay is busy running a campaign for Congress in place of Herbert Love, who had suddenly disappeared.
It’s easy to see where creator Mitch Hurwitz might be going with this. He has compared the Bluth family to the Trump family in the past, and having Lindsay running for a major office — on the platform of supporting a border wall, no less — is a clear correlation. But can she finally beat Sally Sitwell in an election?
Next: One key actress is returning.
Isla Fisher returns as Rebel Alley
One of the big plot points of Season 4 was the love triangle between Michael, his son George Michael, and red-headed bombshell Rebel Alley — an actress that also happened to be Ron Howard’s daughter. We were left with a major cliffhanger between the two men, as George Michael discovered that his competition for Rebel’s affection was his own father.
Again, it was unclear how this would be resolved. Both Bluths were lying to Rebel about something, with George Michael lying about his name and made-up software company. Michael had been lying about his status as a movie producer, playing himself up quite a bit. Would Rebel stick around? Apparently so. Actress Isla Fisher has confirmed that she was involved in shooting Season 5 in November of 2017.
Next: One key actress is NOT returning.
Lucille 2 is actually dead … probably
The other major cliffhanger at the end of Season 4 was a whodunit. Lucille Austero was seen lying at the end of the staircar with blood everywhere, but later her body disappeared. Buster was arrested for the murder, but Sally — who had been working as Lucille 2’s campaign manager — made a point of mentioning that Austero was missing and not necessarily dead.
Originally, the plot of Season 5 was to revolve around this mystery. Was Buster a murderer, or was someone else in the family involved? Plenty of Bluth’s had a motive to knock off Lucille 2. And was she really dead? According to actor Jason Bateman, she is.
“The central spine of that story of is the death of Liza Minnelli’s character,” said Bateman in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “That’s sort of a central thread around which [creator Mitch Hurwitz] is going to braid in all the colorful plot complications that he knows how to do.”
Next: How they handle Lucille 2’s death
They will clear up that cliffhanger early
Considering how long it has been since Season 4 (it was released in 2013), it appears that a decision was made to get the Lucille 2 storyline out of the way early and move into more family-oriented plot points in Season 5. Again according to Bateman, they’ll handle the murder mystery fairly quickly.
“The first two episodes of the fifth season basically stitch into the final parts of the fourth season,” said Bateman. “It kind of zippers the two together, then starting in episode 3, really starts covering all the new ground of this fifth season.”
If they’re closing up the Lucille 2 story early on, it seems that the major focus will be on bringing the family together a bit more than in Season 4. One of the biggest criticisms of the season was that, due to tight schedules for many of the actors, there were practically no scenes featuring the entire family.
Next: More blasts from the past
It’s a prequel … kind of
Over a year before the release of Season 5 on Netflix, it was reported that a large element of the season would be a prequel. That meant around half of the action being done in flashbacks featuring different actors playing the Bluth characters several years prior. It was kind of a headscratcher, to say the least. But it appears true that, at least in some way, Season 5 will feature flashbacks.
Hopefully, it’s done the same way that Season 4 did it with Kristen Wiig as Lucille and Seth Rogen as George. Those flashbacks were funny, but didn’t dominate the episodes.
Next: Bateman reveals where this season ranks
It’s apparently the best season yet
Don’t get your hopes up, AD fans. You know how this could end up playing out. But Bateman spoke with Deadline in April about several topics, including the second season of his other Netflix series, Ozark, and the fifth season of Arrested Development.
Bateman is clearly excited about the latter, describing Season 5 this way: “(It’s the) best year ever, and I’ve not said that before.” It’s hard to imagine any new season topping the original run of the show.
The first three seasons of Arrested Development were comedic genius, with long-running gags and major callbacks that somehow failed beyond its small, loyal audience on Fox. However, AD was built for binging and rewatching, and has found major success on Netflix. If Bateman is correct, we’re all in for a treat.
Next: But is Season 5 the end?
This is Hurwitz’s ‘second act’
For fans wondering whether Season 5 was written as a series finale for Arrested Development, all indications are that it wasn’t. Once again, we turn to Bateman for the details. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the actor detailed the fifth season as the middle of a three-part finale for the show.
The first act was done on the first batch of Netflix episodes [in 2013], and we’re about to do now the second act of that story, and then the act third act presumably will be done if we can all get it together at a later date, maybe in another few years.
Let’s all hope that Season 6 — if it ever happens — doesn’t take five more years to get the ball rolling. Does anyone really want to see 35-year-old George Michael hitting on his cousin?
Next: When can we watch Season 5?
There is a release date
For years, there were only rumors of a fifth season for Arrested Development. Then, nearly four years after Season 4’s release on Netflix, there was finally some movement. There was a script, the cast had signed on, and they had begun production on Season 5. But even then, no release date had been given.
With the recent trailer, we were also given a firm date for the release on Netflix: May 29, 2018. That comes a lot sooner than most had imagined, with even the most optimistic projections putting Arrested Development Season 5 into the summer of 2018. And just like that, we’re less than a month away from more episodes featuring our favorite dysfunctional family.
Next: Fixing Season 4
Season 4 has become Fateful Consequences
Along with the announcement that Season 5 would be coming at the end of May, Season 4 got a bit of a makeover as well. There had been rumors for years of Hurwitz doing an edit that cut the episodes down to TV-length, or around 22-23 minutes apiece, for the sake of any future syndication. That also meant adding in some previously unused footage, bringing in narrator Ron Howard for more voiceover work, and reshaping the episodes to be more chronological and not just featuring one character.
On May 3, we got that Season 4 remix. The 15 episodes were now 22 episodes, and it was affectionately called “Fateful Consequences.” The new cut of Season 4 is quite a bit more like the original run of the series, and while it still suffers from many of the original problems it’s definitely an improvement.
Next: Not everyone loves the remix
The cast isn’t too happy about the remix
Apparently, not everyone is so happy about the remix of Season 4. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the bulk of the cast was paid $100,000 for their stand-alone episodes, $50,000 for episodes in which they made minor appearances, and $25,000 for episodes in which they appeared but for very short amounts of time. With the recut set to make the studio more money, the cast believes they should have their own cut.
Reps for the cast have asked for additional fees to correspond with the additional episodes but 20th TV has balked, arguing that it has the right to re-edit the existing episodes that have already aired however it chooses without paying the actors more. The cast position is that the additional episode count effectively reduces the pay-per-episode that was negotiated, especially since the studio stands poised for a financial windfall thanks to a possible syndication pact.
Hopefully, this can be resolved without bringing momentum toward Season 6 to a screeching halt. If it’s not resolved, we may find Arrested Development ending up in a case of indefinite arrested development.
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