By Dan Snierson
July 19, 2017 at 02:12 PM EDT
Mike Yarish/Netflix
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One mystery was solved this spring: When will we get a fifth season of Arrested Development? Now, the mystery that was left hanging at the end of season 4 — the death of Liza Minnelli’s Lucille — will hang over the fifth season of the Netflix family comedy.

“The central spine of that story of is the death of Liza Minnelli’s character, and a bit of whodunit, who may have done it, who had something to do with it,” star Jason Bateman told EW Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) on Wednesday. “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.”

Bateman also said that Hurwitz has in mind a “three-act story” that he wanted to tell after the show’s original 2003-2006 run on Fox. “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,” shared Bateman. “We’re kind of turning into a Michael Apted Seven Up! thing.”

Bateman also stressed that the cast will be together in season 5, which was not the case in season 4, to fans’ disappointment. “Because of certain limitations we had with actors’ schedules and exclusivities to other shows, and budgetary constraints, [Hurwitz] had to pivot a bit off of that. And also it was an interesting thing for him to do because he was embracing the interface of Netflix, which was fairly new at the time in original programming, and wanted to be able to basically have you click out of one episode and click into somebody else’s episode and see a different view point on this simultaneous action. Ultimately, editorially, it didn’t really come together as well as he wanted it to, and then he had to dictate an order of watching, and it ended up being a little bit more complicated than I think one intended. But we’re still very proud of those episodes obviously — and really excited that we get to be together in these.”

Listen to the interview right here:

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Elsewhere, Bateman told Daily Beast the next season will acknowledge the similarities between the Bluths and the Trump family.


“None of that is lost on [creator] Mitch Hurwitz. He’s aware of all of that stuff,” Bateman said. “And he and his writing staff have been in a cave for the last two or three months crafting these episodes, and they’re going to lean into a lot of that [Trump] stuff for sure. They can’t wait.”

Season 5 of Arrested Development will begin shooting later this summer, and will be available to stream sometime in 2018. Bateman, meanwhile, returns to Netflix on Friday with his money-laundering drama Ozark.

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