Just a week or so after we got the news that the long-awaited Arrested Development season five was still in the works, we’re starting to get a sense of how the new series might work – and it sounds like it’s going to be a very different version of the cult comedy that we all know and love.
According to TVLine, the new season will have “a major prequel element,” with as much as half the action potentially taking place in flashbacks featuring younger versions of the lead characters (played by different actors).
While not set in stone, it’s understood that this idea is an attempt by Netflix (who first revived the noughties series in 2013) to work around the packed schedules of series stars like Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Michael Cera among others.
You see, the prequel scenes would allow Netflix to make more of the limited time they have with the actors. In the 2013 revival they were forced to focus each episode on a specific character when the full cast weren’t available.
This structure ended up being unpopular with viewers, so this new tack might be a way around the problem that fans will still enjoy – plenty of scenes with all the original cast together, with the gaps plugged up by “prequel” footage.
“More of the episodes can now include all of the original cast together, with lots of big group family scenes,” a source said.
And in any case, it’s not the first time the series has used the flashback technique – the original run of the series often flashed back to the younger days of the Bluths, while the 2013 revival cast Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig as more youthful versions of patriarch George senior (usually Jeffrey Tambor) and his wife Lucille (Jessica Walter). So fingers crossed this won’t feel like too big a departure from the Arrested Development of old.