“Alright, Jim. Your quarterlies look very good.”
That was the line, delivered by Steve Carell to John Krasinski, that started everything back in 2005 when The Office debuted its pilot episode. But after eight years and nine seasons the comedy is finally coming to an end. And in the case with every long-running, beloved show, everyone is curious to see how things will be concluded. What will happen to the employees of Dunder Mifflin? What will become of the company itself? What will happen to the key relationships?
With the final season winding down and the cast and crew set to film the last seven episodes of the series the folks behind The Office invited members of the press to their studio in Van Nuys, California this afternoon, not just to tour around the sets and check out all of the cool props and dressings, but to take part in a press conference with the entire cast and show creator Greg Daniels, who came back this season as full-time showrunner to see the series to the end.
One of the key questions on everyone’s mind, of course, is whether or not Carell will be making his way back to the Scranton business park for the series finale. Earlier this month NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt was asked about the possibility of the former stars return and he was doubtful about the situation. Sadly, there isn’t much positive news coming out of Daniels either.
"Steve is very much of the opinion that the 'Goodbye Michael' episode and the story arc that we did leading up to it was his goodbye to the fans and to the show, and that the stuff we're doing this season is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have,” the showrunner said, asked to expand upon Greenblatt’s comments. “So at the moment we don't have any plans for him to come back. There's still a lot of good things that we have planned for the rest of the goodbyes.”
And you can expect those goodbyes to come rather soon. In addition to dropping the hint that someone will get fired before the season’s end – specifically in Episode 15 – Daniels specified that the episode following ‘Suit Warehouse” (airing on January 17th) will be the beginning of the end for storylines in the show. The reason for this is to give time to the impressive number of characters that the series has.
“I don’t think we are planning on packing everything into the last episode,” Daniels said. “There's an episode tomorrow night that is very good, and then the one after that is really what I would say is the beginning of the end, where we start to break down what's going on with this documentary and see behind the scenes and who's involved.”
However, if you’re looking for cut and dry answers as to exactly what’s going to happen in the last episode, know that the plan actually isn’t fully formed yet. Much like how the rest of the show was made, it will go through an intense collaborative process that will determine what works and what doesn’t.
Said Daniels, “Every time we have a table read and somebody comes up with a better idea than we have in the script, it pulls the story forward a little bit and we have to invent something at the end. We do have a goal that we’re aiming for, how we get there is changing.”
The Office airs on Thursday nights on NBC at 9pm EST/8pm CST