"The Office" is likely to close without a return appearance by Steve Carell's Michael Scott, creator Greg Daniels says. But Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak are expected back for the end of the show, and the final episodes will include someone in the Dunder Mifflin office getting fired.
"Steve is very much of the opinion that the 'goodbye Michael' episode and the story arc that we did leading up to it was his goodbye to the fans and to the show, and that the stuff we're doing this season is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have," Daniels said at a Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday.
"So at the moment we don't have any plans for him to come back," Daniels added. "There's still a lot of good things that we have planned for the rest of the goodbyes."
Not all of those goodbyes will take place in the two-part finale of the show. Daniels said the series will resolve with a story involving the documentary crew that has been chronicling life at a typical Scranton, Pa., office for the last nine seasons.
"If you look at how many characters there are here, and you think that it'll be our 200th half hour when we do the finale, I don't think we're planning on packing everything into the last episode. I would encourage people, if you are waiting for the end of "The Office" to re-tune in, I would start doing it right away," Daniels said.
Daniels adapted "The Office" from the U.K. series of the same name, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. He said the British series was ripe for adaptation because it felt like a toy that "still had some play in it" when it ended after just two short seasons and a Christmas special.
Now he is putting the toy away.
"There's an episode tomorrow night that is very good, and then the one after that is really what I would say is the beginning of the end, where we start to break down what's going on with this documentary and see behind the scenes and who's involved," he said.
Daniels said eighteen of the show's final 24 episodes are written. In the fifteenth episode, he said, someone will be fired. He declined to say whether the person being fired is a longtime cast member or a new one.
"Someone is fired. I will hint at that," he said. "There's drama and someone has to get fired."
The firing episode is expected to air Feb. 14.
Daniels declined to give any hints about how the series could end, but told TheWrap his favorite TV show ending is the conclusion of "Newhart."
"Newhart" famously ended with Bob Newhart's character from his previous series, "The Bob Newhart Show," waking up with his wife from that series, played by Suzanne Pleshette, and saying he had a strange dream. It turns out he has dreamed the events of "Newhart."
So... no chance "The Office" will end with Carell waking up from a dream?
"No, it's been done," he said. "You've got to figure out another thing."