It was announced yesterday that the upcoming 9th season of NBC's The Office will be the mockumentary-style sitcom's final. This shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. I'm actually really glad they're going out somewhat on top, instead of dying a long slow death. I kinda wish they just ended it when Steve Carell decided to leave. Even though last season was still funny, it just wasn't been the same without him.
Exec producer Greg Daniels, who served as showrunner for the first five seasons, will return to to the helm for the final year. In a conference call to reporters, Daniels said, "Now that we have an end date, we can blow up things and take some chances. It's very freeing and creatively ecxiting for the audience."
So what exactly is in store for Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch in the final season of The Office? Here's what Daniels had to say:
Cast: Clark Duke and Jake Lacy will be joining the cast, and Daniels noted that "familiar faces [will be] coming back." The main cast will remain on the show, while B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling, who have always pulled triple duties as writers and exec producers on the show, will be back in front of the camera in diminished capacities.
"There are so many story lines to follow now, so many endings to write for different characters, risky things we wouldn't normally do if we knew we were going for a long time. If we didn't let it end this year, I don't know if we would have been able to tell the endings for so many characters that I really want to know the endings for."
Stories: One of the long standing questions about the show has always been, 'who shoots a documentary for this long?' In season 9, the identities of the documentary crew will be revealed.
"All questions will be answered this year. We'll see who's behind the documentary and we'll meet some of them."
One of the upcoming story lines will reportedly involve Nellie (Catherine Tate) holding a charity drive at the office and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) donating to the Taliban in retaliation. The season premier will be an important episode, as it will set up all of the arcs that will build up into the finale.
"The real heart of the show are these arcs that allow these characters to have ongoing stories. There's so much to pay off from nine seasons, so many great characters that my biggest concern is just tacking in these great ideas that the writing staff has on the walls and making sure we hit all of them or at least squeeze as many into the ending."
The Finale: It's gonna be an "emotional" ending for some. Daniels hopes to bring everything full circle, and is working on getting Ken Kwapis, who directed the pilot, to helm the final episode. So is there any chance we'll see Steve Carell one last time as Michael Scott?
"We'll see. We have ideas for the ending and obviously if he would participate, we would have a lot of good times. The idea will fly without him if he can't make it. He is pretty busy."
Of course all of the big moments will be kept under wraps, but that's what'll make it even more exciting as the show winds to a close.
"As we head into the home stretch, we have a lot of exciting things I've been wanting to do since season two. The end should be pretty cool."
As Daniels takes over for Paul Lieberstein as showrunner for the final year, Lieberstein is prepping a potential spinoff. It wasn't revealed who the spin-off would be based on. There are so many characters, but I'm sure whoever the spin-off will include will get some extra exposure this season.
Are you happy that this is the final season of The Office? Would you watch a spin-off series? And which character would you want it to be based on?