Enter original showrunner Greg Daniels, who is back at the helm and determined to reestablish The Office as Must-See TV — albiet during the show’s just-announced final season. Here, the boss lays out his Season 9 game plan — which includes a more aggressive Andy, several fresh faces and a tormented Nellie.
TVLINE | What was your primary mission when approaching this season?
I want to tell big arcs for the main characters and regain that sense of needing to see each episode when it airs to find out what is happening next. I want to keep the drama hot and juicy and the comedy cold and crunchy, basically imitating the old McDLT campaign for McDonalds.
TVLINE | Last season Andy was more of an off-and-on boss. Is this the season he fully takes the reins at DM-Scranton?
David Wallace, who now owns Dunder Mifflin, sends Andy for Outward Bound-leadership training over the summer and he comes back pretty aggressively in charge.
TVLINE | Andy and Erin — what is the state of their relationship this season? What is their next obstacle? Same question for Jim and Pam. And Dwight and Angela.
All the main characters will have serial stories and relationship arcs. It will be more fun to experience the twists and turns while watching if I don’t spell it all out for you here.
TVLINE | How will Nellie fit into the office this season?
At the end of last year, Andy softened and allowed Nellie to stay as Director of Special Projects. But he comes back from Outward Bound with the confidence and desire to torment Nellie for what she did to him last year and make her quit. TVLINE | Describe the two new characters played by Jake Lacy and Clark Duke. Jake and Clark play Pete and Clark, two guys in their mid-20s who have been hired to go through the 4,000-plus unanswered customer complaint voicemails that Kelly leaves behind when she goes.
TVLINE | What brings Roy back?
Jim and Pam are invited to Roy’s wedding in Episode 2.
Daniels said “a lot of familiar faces” will return as the show approaches its series finale, but it remains to be seen if Steve Carell’s Michael Scott will be one of them. “It would be fantastic if [Steve] would return,” he said. “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. “There’s so much to pay off after nine seasons of so many great characters,” Daniels added. “My biggest concern is just packing in these great ideas the writing staff has and making sure we can squeeze as many as we can into the ending.”
Daniels said to expect some “explosive” twists. “Now that we know we have an end date we can kind of blow up things,” he shared, “and take some chances. [It's] very freeing creatively.”
Daniels also revealed that…
* The Scranton Strangler will be unmasked.
* The final season will be a “big” one for Jim and Pam. “There’s a lot of drama [for them],” he teased. “The story is definitely not over for them.”
* “Daryl will learn PowerPoint,” he shared.
* John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms will enter the final season as producers.
* The news has no impact on the possible Dwight-centric spin-off The Farm, which will be introduced in an episode of The Office to air this fall.