Spoilers for Arrested Development Season 5 Episode 3. The dense history of Arrested Development gags is woven like a tapestry throughout the series’ episodes. The show’s fifth season sees the return of beloved running jokes from “no touching! to “anustart,” but only one of these returning gags manages to also be a tie-in to the narrator’s latest film release. Arrested Development Season 5 includes a reference to Solo: A Star Wars Story, and naturally, it involves George Michael.
The connection between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Arrested Development may not seem obvious to those unfamiliar with the series, but fans won’t be surprised to hear the show’s narrator make mention of a “Han Solo origin picture” in the third episode of the latest season. The show’s narrator, Ron Howard, happens to be the director of that very same Han Solo origin picture, brought on after Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the production, per Variety.
The Easter Egg occurs in episode 3 of Season 5, following George Michael as he revisits the Bluth model home and goes through what the narrator refers to as “total regression!” He goes through a box of old artifacts, including the high school production of Much Ado About Nothing that he and Maeby almost shared a kiss in, and a DVD copy of Les Cousins Dangeroux. As his regression continues, he decides to don a helmet and return to an old passion of his: recreating scenes from Star Wars for the internet.
The original scene, in which an old tape of George Michael’s lightsaber practice abilities gets accidentally shown to his family, was inspired one of the first ever viral videos of the internet, known as “Star Wars Kid.” The scene was one of many mortifying experiences that occurred during George Michael’s childhood, but his embarrassment would only grow as the tape managed to pop up in the series time and time again. His Uncle GOB took to the film, editing it into a student council ad for George Michael, and used the footage as evidence of “TBD” for a dinner for a fake charity. The tape even ends up in the hands of the FBI at one point, as they search for evidence of corruption in the Bluth family, which George Michael had accidentally taped over.
While the Star Wars video was a source of pain for him growing up, his regression allows him to showcase his faux-lightsaber skills for a brand new audience. In Season 5, George Michael goes into the garage in which he filmed the initial video, dons a Darth Vader helmet, and livestreams to an attentive online audience, teaching them how to fight off their “Darth Vader figures.” The scenario is applicable to discovering that your father has been dating your girlfriend, “or whatever…as usual, apply your own scenarios to these.” This plays with another running joke in Season 5, the idea of family self-defense classes that aren’t meant to teach self-defense to a family, but instead teach self-defense from one’s own family.
During his fight training, George Michael, played by noted action star Michael Cera, performs a pretty impressive windmill kick while holding a broom, which the narrator claims inspired a move in “an upcoming Han Solo origin picture.”
Minor spoiler for Solo ahead! The reference might even be accurate. There’s a scene in the new Star Wars movie in which the audience can see Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) fighting through a window. Her cape swoops around in a manner that may suggest a George Michael-style kick. End Spoilers.
Between this possible Solo shout-out and a sneaky reference to the Bluths in Avengers: Infinity War, Arrested Development has proven to be incredibly influential when it comes to 2018 blockbuster films set in space.
The show’s love affair with Star Wars has been long-running, from the Star Wars kid tribute to Lucille Bluth’s famous “go see a Star War” line, and a recent promotional video in which Ron Howard reprised his role as AD narrator to recap the plot of Star Wars: A New Hope. The fact that the show returned to the Star Wars Kid video after all these years probably has something to do with Ron Howard’s involvement with Solo, but more to do with the fact that George Michael waving around a broom as though it were a lightsaber will never stop being hilarious.
Editor’s note: Season 5 is controversial due to the presence of Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from Transparent after being accused of sexual harassment by two co-stars (he denies these claims); he also admitted to and apologized for verbally harassing Jessica Walter on the Arrested Development set in a recent New York Times piece. Co-stars Jason Bateman, David Cross, Will Arnett and Tony Hale were criticized for seeming to defend Tambor and minimize Walter’s experience, in the same interview. Bateman, Cross, and Hale have since apologized.