The guest role that turned into a season-long recurring gig for James Spader is coming to an end. Spader is giving up his desk on The Office and won’t be back for the ninth season – which actually hasn’t been officially ordered yet. With several other stars considering new projects, it looks like there could be a pretty big cast shake-up.

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed today that Spader has decided to leave the show. His role went from what was supposed to be two scenes in the seventh season finale to a full season with the hit series through the eighth. According to executive producer Paul Lieberstein, Spader never meant to stay with the show beyond the one season:
James always wanted this to be a one year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television.”

So what’s up for the future of The Office? We already know that Mindy Kaling has a new project in the works at Fox which has been ordered to pilot – if it goes to series she’ll be leaving her post. Meanwhile Office head writer Daniel Chun has signed a new deal over at ABC Studios. And then there’s the potential Dwight Schrute spinoff that would mean Rainn Wilson would move on as well.

The Office is still doing well in the ratings, and has survived the departure of major stars already, so odds are good the show will manage if some or even all of the cast members in question seek new employment. The big question will be, who is coming in to fill the empty seats?

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