AUSTIN, TX: A few secondary topics (Twitter, acting classes, etc.) were grazed during Samsung’s SXSW Q&A with Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz and co-stars Jeffrey Tambor and Will Arnett this morning, but we were all there to talk about one thing, really: the show’s upcoming fourth season on Netflix, and what we can expect from it. And after–i.e., when will we see the movie that we’ve heard it’s leading up to?
The answer: maybe, maybe not. (I know, I know.) “We have nothing else right now,” Hurwitz explained. “Here’s what we have: we have the whole story. The whole thing evolved because we wanted to do a movie and we had too much information for a movie, and suddenly because time had elapsed, what became interesting was where these characters had been, as opposed to just continuing the story. So to focus on where each character had been, which I thought would be fun for the audience to see, you’d have to give them three, four minutes of the movie, you’re halfway through the movie before you got through all the characters.
“So what emerged was this idea of an anthology series, and it’s evolved since then. But the original idea was just do George Sr’s episode, to do Michael’s episode, to do Gob’s episode. And all of this was to be Act I of this bigger story that we have, in a lot of detail, for the movie. What we don’t have is a movie deal. Know anybody?”
Arnett piped up, in response to not only talk of the movie but that there wouldn’t be an additional season on Netflix. “We do have these 14 episodes!” Arnett insisted. “Let’s just enjoy this, for now!”
Hurwitz believes that they’ll succeed in making that film happen, but notes that not only does he have work to do in writing and pitching the film version, but “it’s not our property. 20th Century Fox owns it, and they’ve been amazing, they’ve let us bring it back.” Fox’s generosity was a running joke throughout the press conference; after Tambor noted that the powers that be “will have missed an opportunity” if they don’t keep the story going, Hurwitz jumped in. “I wanna really make it clear that they were just very, very generous,” he insisted, quickly topped by Arnett, who said, “I wanna be the most vocal about how supportive they’ve been… and what an amazing job they do at NewsCorp in general…”
Asked why, after years of rumors and false starts, now was the time for a Bluth family reunion, Hurwitz explained, “It’s became this self-fulfilling thing, which is great.” But in deciding to go back to television instead of film, “the other part, besides having too much story, was people have waited so long, can we give them something more?”
So now that “something more” is 14 episodes, and from the clips we were shown after the Q&A, it is something very special: exquisite Bluth dysfunction, from Buster helping Lucille stop smoking by catching her smoke in his mouth (and blowing it out to the balcony) to Michael and Gob scrapping on the floor as Gob tries to give his brother a “forget-me-now pill” (a roofie).
But “there is a bigger story there,” as Arnett emphasized. “These current 14 episodes are just another step in the telling of the story of these characters and these people’s lives. And there is a bigger story out there that does exist. Truthfully.”