Community's Dan Harmon Knows Fans Love The Paintball And Dungeons And Dragons Episodes, But Has Good Reason To Steer Clear With Peacock Movie

Danny Pudy, Alison Brie and Joel McHale dressed in Western costumes and holding paintball guns in Community
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Television)

Originally exclaimed by Abed Nadir as his incorrect prediction for how long NBC’s The Cape would last, “six seasons and a movie” was the slogan Community fans used for years to express their own hopes for the Greendale Community College saga. The show pulled off the six seasons part thanks to the final run of episodes that aired on the now-defunct Yahoo! Screen, and earlier this year, it was announced that a Community movie is finally on the way that will premiere exclusively to Peacock subscribers. However, Community creator Dan Harmon has shared his good reason for why this upcoming movie will steer clear of paintball and Dungons & Dragons.

These two games were among Community’s most popular recurring concepts, so fans wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that the Community movie might show a paintball game and/or a Dungeons & Dragons game unfolding, even if they weren’t the focus of the story. But while visiting the latest episode of Six Seasons & A Podcast, Dan Harmon went over why he decided to rule out these games from factoring into the narrative, starting with the following explanation about paintball:

It’s a lot easier for me to rule stuff out than tell you what we’re pursuing. For instance, we go, ‘Do we really think it’d be a good idea to be a paintball episode?’ It’s one of the first things to rule out because it’s the first thing off the top of your head, and that’s an issue with the Community movie concept. We did a lot of episodes where you are joyfully locked into a construct that isn’t a traditional sitcom narrative, but is rather through the lens of David Fincher or Martin Scorsese. There were a lot of special episodes that were kind of like genre homages. The paintball thing was one of them. We tried to do a bunch more paintballs, and they were all perfectly wonderful things to do, but would anything ever capture the joy of the original paintball episode?

Five paintball-centric episodes were produced during Community’s run, the first being Season 1’s “Modern Warfare.” Each time, a campus-wide paintball game would erupt, leaving quite the mess and allowing the show to explore certain genres/put its own spin on popular properties that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, like Westerns and Star Wars. As Dan Harmon sees it, the paintball episodes, particularly the first one, were pulled off so well that he doesn’t need to retread this ground for the Community movie.

Perhaps more importantly, Dan Harmon also talked about how the fact that there have been more school shootings in the years since Community’s paintball episodes aired makes it especially unwise to revisit this concept, which led to him going over why Dungeons & Dragons won’t be used either:

You’re running around with guns in a school, which was never a good idea on TV even back then. How can we do that in a way that’s acceptable? You sit down to write the movie and you’re like, ‘So, we’d do that right?’ Because it’s so emblematic of what made our show special and the triumphs we had, the things we contributed as a show. Or we’d play Dungeons & Dragons for 90 minutes. I kinda gotta rule that out — maybe a better writer wouldn’t.

Dan Harmon also shared that the Community movie would not see Greendale having been shut down post-Season 6, nor would the starring characters come back together via a college reunion. So while Harmon is still wanting to keep exact plot details under wraps, at least fans now know a little bit of what not to expect from this streaming feature. Harmon is co-writing the Community movie with Andrew Guest, and Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Audi, Alison Brie, Jim Rash and Ken Jeong are all officially on board to reprise their roles. Harmon also said in October that it’s likely Donald Glover will return as Troy Barnes, but that there wasn’t an official deal in place to make that happen yet.

CinemaBlend will continue passing along updates on how the Community movie is coming along, including if composer Ludwig Göransson ends up resuming his musical duties. Until then, rewatch Community’s six seasons with either your Netflix subscription or Hulu subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.