This is quite possibly the best news I’ve read all year.

This time last week, we brought you the great news that the entire cast of Arrested Development would be coming together with the show’s creator, Mitchell Hurwitz, for a panel in New York at the New Yorker Festival.

News, we hoped, was imminent, and now I’m so happy to say that I have some incredible news for all the fans of the original TV show. EW reports, via Collider, that not only is the long-awaited Arrested Development movie still very much alive, but we’re going to get a fourth season of the show before then!

I’m like a kid at Christmas as I write this. Notoriously cancelled by Fox back in 2006, and having since developed an ever-increasingly large fan base, Arrested Development is by far one of my favourite TV shows, one that I would say had some of the smartest writing of any show or film I’ve ever seen.

So you can imagine my delight this morning to wake up and find that Hurwitz and the cast – including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, David Cross, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, and Portia de Rossi, with Ron Howard being the wonderful narrator – had announced at the panel that they would be bringing the show back to life. And not just for a film, but a whole(ish) season.

The plan is to have a nine- or ten-episode season, with NetFlix and Showtime in talks to air the season at the moment, and then release the film on the back of that. Hurwitz said at the festival, and I’m going to quote as much text as I can because I’m sure a lot of people will be interested to read it all,

“I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by there was so much more to the story… In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So, in working on the screenplay I found that even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together. And that kinda gave birth to this thing we’ve not been pursuing for a while and we’re kinda going public with a little bit. We’re trying to do kind of limited run series into the movie.

“We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes with almost one character per episode, where like the first episode will just be Buster. We’re kinda picturing it like, um, well the latest joke we have is that, you know, it’s Cambridge, Massachusetts and there’s all these scientists in lab coats and they’re waiting for somebody and Buster comes through the door wearing a lab quote and says `let’s begin,’ and they say, `you don’t get to wear the lab coat, we’re experimenting on you. [garbled] And then we go through his life and we meet the people in his life and maybe he goes to see his therapist who he’s getting a good rate on because it’s Tobias and he’s lost his license. We can do cross overs and things like that. But it’s an unusual style of show I think and we get him to a certain point of peril in his life and then maybe we jump over to like Maeby and she’s living with Cornel West… We’ll do this kind of thing that builds the peril in their lives until they all come together, really, in the first scene of the movie. It requires, and Ron [Howard] has been working on this too, it just requires studios to work together, they don’t normal work together in film and TV. It’s a really ambitious project but it’s also a very simple project in a way because it kind of gives the fans a level of detail for `granularity,’ which is a big word on the East Coast.

“I really have to say, we’ve talked about this, we’re all game, we hated be coy, we’ve been trying to put together this more ambitious idea and I think we’re very close, the script is halfway done and we have to get the film companies on board… They’ve always been great to us but you know times are tough and money is tight but I’m very hopeful, there is business left to be done but creatively we have a very specific plan of how it would come out and what we would do and when we would shoot it. Our hope is that, perhaps the series is in the fall.”

Sounds beyond awesome to me. It looks like there’s still work to be done, both in terms of the script and getting the show and film made, but everyone on board sounds very optimistic, and if Hurwitz says that they’re close, that can only be good news. Bringing the cast all together for something like this – and Howard was even said to be present with his voice coming through the speakerphone in a really great touch for people at the festival – definitely suggests that they’re all committed to making it, and that the future isn’t as far off as we might think. 2012/2013 look to be great years for fans of the show.

The Huffington Post picked up this tweet from Bateman,

“It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!”

And here’s another great tweet from Arnett,

“I’m peeing with @batemanjason at the moment..and we can confirm that we are going to make new AD eps and a movie”

It really sounds almost too good to be true. But I’m so glad that it’s not. The cast said that they’ll be keeping their schedules free for filming Arrested Development’s return, which just further goes to show their commitment to bringing the show back, and then heading straight for the big screen. This time last week, I was hoping for updates on the movie, and now it’s just turned into a whole different ball game. It’s going to be an awesome return for an entirely undeservedly cancelled show. I literally cannot wait.