We've known for some time that Netflix will release the new season of "Arrested Development" next year, but the time frame has been somewhat vague.

However, according to a spokesperson for Netflix, Season 4 will arrive in spring. Netflix still hasn't released an exact date for the return of the Bluth clan, but we're one step closer to knowing when we'll be able to taste the happy.

Another interesting tidbit: According to Netflix, the episode order could grow beyond the 10 installments the company originally ordered.

When asked about cast member David Cross' statements about Season 4 expanding, possibly to 13 episodes in a Rolling Stone interview, the spokesperson didn't confirm, but did say that Netflix will release "at least" 10 episodes in the spring. If creator Mitchell Hurwitz has enough material for more than 10 episodes, it sounds as though Netflix isn't going to tell him to stand down and stick to the original plan. (One thing we do know: All Season 4 episodes will be released at once.)

It's a wonderfully unusual situation for "Arrested Development" fans to be in: When the show was on Fox, fans had to constantly worry about shrinking episode orders and the show's cancellation. To speculate about a potential season expansion is a beautiful thing.

Based on Cross' comments, Hurwitz and his writing staff have come up with an intricately structured season that sounds even more ambitious than what we saw in the Fox incarnation of the show.

"I think a lot of people will miss the work that is involved, the story, the Venn diagrams that are being created, the domino effect that characters have with each other in their various episodes," Cross told Rolling Stone. "I know what he's doing, and this has never been done on a TV show like this. This makes Lost look like a Spalding Grey monologue."

Production on Season 4 is currently underway in LA, and narrator and executive producer Ron Howard has been offering updates and "Arrested Development" photos via his Twitter feed. Howard spoke to CNN recently about what Hurwitz and company have been up to.

"It's been away for a while, and part of the fun that Mitch has been mining and exploiting is, what's new to discover about these people? What's delightfully unchanged?" Howard said. "He and the writing staff and the actors have a fantastic sense of that. They're pretty brazen, pretty bold and fearless. That's what made the show into something that fans really kept alive."

Howard himself will make an appearance in Season 4, as will "Mad Men's" John Slattery.

Speaking of guest stars, the show has a stellar legacy in that department. I recently rewatched Seasons 1-3 of "Arrested Development," and I gained a renewed appreciation not just for the show's razor-sharp writing and versatile core cast, but for the roster of guest stars who made the Bluth family lunacy even more entertaining. We don't know if Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller), Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler), Ann Veal (Mae Whitman) or Carl Weathers will make return appearances in Season 4, but those memorable characters certainly helped make the first three seasons every bit as hilarious as I remembered. (Apparently Bob Loblaw, the law-blogging attorney played by Scott Baio, will be coming back.)

Check out my nominations for the 15 most entertaining "Arrested Development" guest stars.

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  • Barry Zuckerkorn

    Played by: Henry Winkler Winkler actually made us forget the Fonz with his performance as the Bluth's memorably incompetent lawyer, whose attempts to give the family legal advice were hindered by the fact that he appeared to know nothing about the law. Maybe Zuckerkorn was so cheerfully unhelpful because he was more focused on his mysterious personal life, which involved rest stops, prostitutes and predilections that sounded, shall we say, unconventional. The show's Fonzie references had him giving a familiar "Ayyy!" in the mirror before combing his hair and, at one point, referencing an infamous "Happy Days" scene by jumping over a shark.  

  • Bob Loblaw

    Played by: Scott Baio  This Bluth family lawyer appeared to be a slightly more competent than Barry Zuckerkorn, but you'd think an ethical attorney would not represent one Bluth spouse while dating another, as happened when he worked on Tobias and Lindsay's divorce. Most notable for the slogan in his low-budget TV ads ("Why should you go to jail for a crime someone else noticed?") and for his web site, the Bob Loblaw Law Blog. 

  • Stan Sitwell

    Played by: Ed Begley Jr.  This hairless land magnate (whose misplaced eyebrows were a dependable source of hilarity) was the Bluth Company's frequent antagonist, and the forthright way in which he conducted business stood in contrast to the Bluth's frequent ethical lapses. The families' frienemy status went back years -- Michael always had a crush on his daughter, Sally (Christine Taylor), but he could never quite close that deal. 

  • Lucille Austero

    Played by: Liza Minnelli The vertigo-challenged retiree was Buster's paramour for a while, despite his fear of (and attraction to) older women and her problems staying upright. Minnelli's game, energetic performance as Lucille was a lot of fun, and her rivalry with Lucille 1 was especially delicious. 

  • Tony Wonder

    Played by: Ben Stiller  GOB's magician idol was every bit as douchey as you'd expect him to be, and if we have any complaints about the character, it's that Stiller's schedule didn't allow him to stop by the Gothic Castle that often. No doubt true Tony Wonder fans own his stupendous magic video, "Use Your Allusion."

  • Kitty Sanchez

    Played by: Judy Greer "Take a look at these!" You might recall Kitty Sanchez as an unstable former Bluth Company employee who was prone to showing off her breast implants, and that just about describes her particular brand of freaky insanity. But don't forget her infamous drink-off with Lucille at Senor Tadpoles, her creepy affair with GOB and her devious attempts to extort the Bluth family and steal George's sperm (timeless wisdom from George: "Never promise crazy a baby"). Would any of it have turned out differently if the producers of the "Girls with Low Self-Esteem" video series hadn't rejected a pre-implant Kitty? 

  • Annyong

    Played by: Justin Lee George and Lucille's attempt to adopt a child came at an inopportune time: He arrived in the midst of the government's prosecution of George Bluth's various crimes. Still, Annyong was soon one of the family (much to Buster's chagrin), and though he went missing for much of Season 2, George found him living inside the walls of Lucille's condo in Season 3. Most memorable quote: "Annyong!"

  • Steve Holt!

    Played by: Justin Grant Wade This popular jock was the object of Maeby's affections for quite some time, until she found out that GOB was his father and thus <em>Steve Holt! </em>was her cousin. (George Michael, despite his jealousy, was torn about informing Maeby of this fact, given that he himself had a crush on his cousin.) In the show's third season, he and GOB explored their father-son relationship, and even Michael got pulled into the <em>Steve Holt! </em>cult when he trained for a triathalon with him. Steve's exhortation to a weary Michael: "There's no 'I' in win!" 

  • Wife of GOB

    Played by: Amy Poehler Poehler played the wife of her real-life husband, Will Arnett, in a few episodes that highlighted both the haste with which GOB tied the knot and the fact that he never actually slept with her the night they got hitched. One of the few fans of Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution, she figured prominently in the infamous "loose seal" incident that deprived Buster of his hand, and when she was in the Army, she had an unfortunate tendency to pose for very questionable photos.

  • Carl Weathers

    Playing himself, the "Predator" actor sold Tobias a series of worthless acting lessons, but the most valuable advice he offered consisted of lessons in being thrifty. Thanks to Weathers, "Arrested Development" fans no longer throw away bones after a meal -- they make a stew. There's still plenty of meat on that bone! 

  • Stefan Gentles

    Played by: James Lipton  The warden of George's prison was an artistic soul: He allowed Tobias to bunk in a cell to prepare for a tiny role as an inmate, and he later pitched Maeby on his script for "New Warden," a hilarious compendium of jail cliches that, in one episode, was acted out by little kids. Needless to say, a savvy executive like Maeby wasn't interested.

  • Franklin Delano Bluth

    In a cast full of characters who are willing to say almost anything, Franklin, a puppet GOB used in his act, stood out. His song "It Ain't Easy Bein' White" wasn't the crossover hit GOB was hoping for, and in a tragic turn of events, he was accidentally dyed white. Before that, an angry Franklin delivered a stinging putdown to Lucille in the clip here. (I don't know who's more shocked by Franklin's outburst, Lucille or Buster.)

  • Phillip Litt

    Played by: Zach Braff  The magnate at the heart of the Girls With Low Self-Esteem empire shared an unlikely secret with Tobias: They were both Never-Nudes, nudity-shunners who sported matching cut-offs beneath their clothes. There were quite a few notable actors (Martin Mull as Gene Parmesan, Malik Yoba as Ice, Jane Lynch as Cindi Lightballoon, Robb Corddry as Moses Taylor) whose roles on "AD" weren't large, but they made a strong impression anyway.

  • Ann Veal

    Played by: Mae Whitman Can't quite recall this character. Was her name Yam? Bland? Plant? Annabelle? In all seriousness, Mae Whitman is a terrific actress, but the show had a lot of fun with Michael's inability to remember anything about her or even that his son was dating her. Really? Her?

  • J. Walter Weatherman

    Played by: Steve Ryan This one-armed man was a constant menace during the Bluth children's childhood: George would employ Weatherman in grisly scenarios designed to teach the kids lessons ("And that's why we leave a note!"). He was central to the hilarious pot bust that took place at the Bluth's boat, and at one point in Season 3, he teamed up with the handless Buster to deliver an elaborate lesson to the Bluth brothers, after Buster ran into him at Weatherman's prosthetics shop. But I'll stop there, because I've learned my lesson: <em>That's</em> why we don't make lists of supporting characters! 

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