Earlier today, Greg Daniels broke the news that The Office was wrapping up following one more season on the air. During a telephone press conference with reporters, Daniels expanded a bit on why the decision was made, what fans can expect from the final half-hours (beyond finally meeting the hidden film crew that's been in Scranton for nine years), and whether or not Steve Carell will return. Read on for some of the more interesting things Daniels had to say on the call, as well as a few tidbits he supplied in an earlier e-mail chat with Vulture prior to the official announcement.
On whether the decision to leave was his or NBC's:
"We're not leaving for any reasons other than the ones I've described. The show is healthy and valued at NBC. I'm actually a little surprised how supportive they've been."
On how the final season will be different:
"For one thing, the last few years we didn't do arcs so much. We were pursuing episodic comedy. But the real heart of the show is these arcs that let characters have continuing stories. There's so much to pay off from nine seasons. My biggest concern is packing (all the stories) in."
On bringing back past members of The Office's behind-the-scenes family:
"I'm hoping Ken Kwapis will direct the ending, which would be nice, since he directed the pilot. We're saving some [director] slots for people we think might want to come back when they realize it's the final season."
On the possibility of Carell's return:
"We'd certainly wish for it ... It would be fantastic if he would return. He's probably anxious about not messing up such a stylish exit. We'll see. We haven't written [the finale]. We have ideas … But he's pretty busy."
On specific plot points for this season:
"David Wallace sent Andy to Outward Bound training over the summer to make him more decisive and confident, and he decides while eating bugs on solo to aggressively go after Nellie and hound her out of the office … Jake Lacy and Clark Duke will play two guys in their twenties, Pete and Clark, who are hired to go through the back log of over 4,000 unanswered customer complaints that Kelly leaves behind when she leaves … We're going to find out who the Scranton Strangler is … We are tabling a Halloween episode this week, and breaking the Christmas episode now."
On whether or not he thinks Andy worked as the boss last season:
"I think the show is best with arcs for the main characters. I thought Andy definitely worked, and his story really picked up for me with the arc in Florida."
On whether the show works best with an emotional center, à la Michael Scott:
"The show's emotional center has always been Jim and Pam, and we are going to exploit that this season."
On whether he plans to develop another show anytime soon:
"I'm actively collaborating with other writers and Howard Klein and Tracy Katsky to produce some new projects, but I don't have an idea to write for myself yet. Kind of putting my energy into the season for now."