Attention, students, announcement No. 1: In addition to acquiring the full series library (nonexclusively), Peacock has green-lit a feature film of the cult comedy Community. Announcement No. 2: Butt soup. Written and executive-produced by Community creator Dan Harmon and Andrew Guest, a writer on the show’s first two seasons responsible for such classic episodes as “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” and “A Fistful of Paintballs,” the Community movie will reunite some of the original series’ stars: Joel McHale (who is also executive-producing), Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong. The status of Donald Glover, who left the show in its fifth season; Chevy Chase, who left during the fourth season and was killed off in the fifth; or Yvette Nicole Brown, who left the show at the end of its fifth season, is unclear. Though they were not mentioned in the official release, McHale tagged Glover and Brown in a tweet soft-announcing the project. (Same for Jonathan Banks, Paget Brewster, and Keith David, all of whom became members of the “study group” in the later seasons.)
There’s no word yet on a director. There’s also no word yet on a production timeline, to say nothing of which timeline the story itself will take place in, darkest or otherwise. But no matter what, it’s a Community movie! As far back as I could remember, I’ve always wanted to see a Community movie.
To set the scene, it is the end of Community’s second season and the show has developed a lot of goodwill among TV critics and superfans but not as much for the average network-sitcom viewer. For its 21st episode of the season, “Paradigms of Human Memory,” the gang plays with the clip-show format, but instead of using actual clips from the series, they throw to clips of moments the audience has never seen before. One of the memories they flashed back to involved Abed (Pudi) being bullish on NBC’s new superhero drama The Cape. (Fun fact: No. 2 on The Cape call sheet was none other than David.) So Abed is caping around the cafeteria and knocks over Jeff’s lunch. Jeff (McHale) screams, “The show’s gonna last three weeks!” To which Abed replies, “Six seasons and a movie!” And so it was written.
#sixseasonsandamovie became a rallying cry for Community fans as the show remained consistently on the bubble for cancellation. When Harmon was replaced as showrunner for season four: #sixseasonsandamovie. When Harmon was brought back for season five: #sixseasonsandamovie. After NBC canceled the show: #sixseasonsandamovie. When Yahoo Screen picked it up for one last season: #sixseasonsandamovie. When the final episode of that sixth season aired, a title card read “#andamovie” after the closing shot.
That was seven years ago. In those years since, all the boldface names above were asked about a potential movie. The cast members would say some version of they’d do it if Harmon wrote it, and Harmon would offer some self-deprecation. “How does it happen?” Harmon said when he and the cast reunited at Vulture Festival in 2019. To which Brie replied, “Sounds like it starts with you, Dan.” Even as the cast started chanting “Do it!,” Harmon tried to dismiss the idea again, saying, “I’d write it and half the people are like, ‘Meh, I don’t want to do it.’” Quickly, everyone there said they’d do it.
Then a pandemic happened, in which the cast (including Glover) reunited for a charity table read, and seemingly things started warm for Harmon. When Vulture spoke to him in the summer of 2021, for an episode of Good One, it was clear he was starting to think about the movie practically, weighing what the movie would need to be both a satisfying reunion and enjoyable film in its own right. “Yes, at least once a week, [I am] thinking about it, because the gears are turning,” he said at the time. “A thing is happening. Logistically, the locks are coming away. And the only problems are becoming the creative ones.” It would take a year, but this past summer he said in an interview that there was an outline and they were pitching. And now here we are, with the show going from barely getting a second season over a decade ago on NBC to Peacock winning a highly competitive fight for the right to make its movie. Baggles for everyone! Pop! Pop! I don’t know what to do! My whole brain is crying!