The long-running saga over Netflix's fifth season of US comedy cult classic Arrested Development has taken yet another twist.

In 2011, Netflix agreed to license new episodes of the dormant show and distribute them exclusively on its video streaming service. These episodes were later released in 2013.

Following their success, Netflix also commissioned a fifth season of Arrested Development, which was initially expected to premiere before now.

But TVLine reports that the long-awaited fifth run is going to be part-prequel, with a large amount of the action happening in flashbacks and younger actors playing the main characters.

Netflix has so far declined to comment and according to Digital Spy an insider has also reportedly claimed it's not definitely happening.

Season four consisted of standalone-character episodes, and a major reason for the prequel move would be to allow for more big group family scenes, which were a staple of the original three seasons of the show.

Earlier this month, producer Brian Glazer promised that season five was close - but six months ago creator Mitch Hurwitz was equally upbeat about the show's comeback.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour, Glazer said of an announcement: "We are really close - I think within a couple of weeks at the most.

"I think we found a way to create the compensation structure for all the actors and create a work matrix so they can still make movies and do other things and it will all integrate."