In 2011, Netflix surprised the industry by ordering a fourth season of “Arrested Development” five years after it had been cancelled by Fox. “Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz was back on board for the revival and the entire cast eventually joined him.
However, it appears that Netflix isn’t willing to keep “Arrested Development” going beyond season four. During an investor conference call (as reported by The Wall Street Journal via The Verge), Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that “Arrested Development” Season 4 was a "fantastic one-off" that was made under "non-repeatable" circumstances.
Hastings went on to say that "We don't anticipate being able to do seasons five, six, seven. We have less of a stake in it. ‘Arrested Development’ is a wildly successful tactic as opposed to fundamental to the strategy."
Hastings’ reference to the series as a “tactic” and not a “strategy” seems to imply that keeping the revived “Arrested Development” going would cost more than Netflix is willing to pay. Especially since Netflix doesn’t own a piece of that property. The majority of the cast are also heavily tied up in television and feature film projects that would make bringing them back again even more difficult to pull off.
As Bleeding Cool notes, the hopes of an “Arrested Development” movie are still alive and the fourth season could lead into that film. While speaking with Empire, Jason Bateman said that the fourth season is “only the first third of a three part story; the second two parts will be in the movie. So this is the first act, and the movie is act two and three. They’re all just asking questions that the movie itself will answer."
All fourteen episodes of “Arrested Development” Season 4 will debut simultaneously on Netflix in May.