As the show started to putter out in the past few seasons, fans began to wonder when NBC’s The Office would be put to rest. With Steve Carell gone, Rainn Wilson looking to his Dwight Schrute spinoff The Farm, and Mindy Kaling now starring in a Fox series of her own called The Mindy Project, things were looking rather thin going into the show’s ninth season. Well, the time has finally come, as earlier today showrunner Greg Daniels announced, “this will be the last season of The Office.” Hit the jump for more details, including the possibility of a return for Carell and Daniels’ promise that “all questions will be answered.”
Daniels made the announcement during a conference all with reporters, and per TV Line and Deadline he stressed that the decision to end the series came from the creatives involved and not from the network higher-ups:
““It was a hard decision but this is going to be a real gangbuster season… This year feels like the last chance [for The Office to have] an artistic ending.”
Daniels said he was worried that NBC would want to squeeze more seasons out of the aging sitcom, but they were incredibly supportive of the decision. Ratings haven’t exactly been stellar since Carell exited the show, and his “replacement” James Spader abruptly left after only one season.
A lot of stories will be wrapped up, per Daniels, including the identity of the documentary crew that’s been following the employees of the Scranton company since the pilot episode (that’s one hell of a comprehensive documentary), and the unmasking of the Scranton Strangler. He also noted that this will be “a big Jim and Pam year” for the series:
“There’s so much to pay off after nine seasons. My biggest concern is just packing in all these great ideas the writing staff has and make sure we squeeze as many as we can into the ending… Now that we know we have an end date we can kind of blow up things and take some chances. [It’s] very freeing creatively.”
“It would be fantastic if [Steve] would return. He loved how [Michael] exited, and is probably anxious about not messing up such a stylish exit. That’s a perfectly legitimate point. We’ll see.”
As Daniels noted, Carell went out in a great fashion. Hopefully the writers can come up with an impressive and funny way for him to return (albeit briefly) without tarnishing his farewell. If not, though, I’m fine with the season seven finale remaining his final episode. Daniels also confirmed that, as originally planned, the Dwight spinoff will still be introduced in an episode airing this fall.
I haven’t been the biggest diehard fan of The Office (the last episode I watched was Carell’s exit), but I don’t think many would argue against ending the series after the upcoming season. There weren’t a ton of character dynamics that hadn’t already been explored after eight seasons, and the writers now have the benefit of knowing that their story will end after 22 more episodes. Hopefully they’ve got some great stories to tell and the show can go out on a high-note. Sound off in the comments on what you want to see in The Office’s final season.