The announcement that Steve Carell would leave The Office before the end of season seven provoked rampant speculation about who might replace him. It just so happens that two of the mentioned possibilities, Ricky Gervais and Will Arnett, will appear in the finale. Gervais came up because he created and starred in the British series that served as source material to NBC’s remake, but he has gone on record saying that he has no plans to join the show. Gervais’ appearance will presumably build on the brief cameo he made in an episode earlier this season.
Actually, it was Gervais himself who brought Arnett’s name to the table. Gervais wrote, “Had a little meeting with NBC about various things and recommended Will Arnett for a regular in The Office. Thoughts? I think he’s amazing.” Is it possible the network heeded his advice? Yes, but not necessarily probable. EW‘s sources warn that an appearance in the finale does not require that either will be the boss next season. There will reportedly be “other notable guest stars,” including Will Ferrell, who is on board for a four-episode arc.
The Office was officially renewed for an eighth season late last week. The one-hour finale airs May 19. Watch Gervais’ initial cameo after the jump.
I don’t think it will actually go down this way, but Arnett would be a great get. He specializes in the juvenile comedic presence we associate with Carell’s character Michael Scott, so the transition wouldn’t be too jarring. At the same time, Arnett’s comic energy is very distinct from Carell’s, which would bring a welcome new energy to the show. Basically, I sign off on the 5% chance that it happens.