The Office Closes Its Doors: The Show Breaks the Fourth Wall and Shuts Down Dunder Mifflin
The Office | Photo Credits: Chris Haston/NBC
In the fourth and final part of our goodbye to NBC's The Office (which airs its finale Thursday at 9/8c), the cast and producers talk about the decision to end the series after nine seasons, the return of original showrunner Greg Daniels, breaking down the fourth wall with the documentary crew and the show's legacy.
TVGuide.com spoke to stars Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly-Halpert), Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez), Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer), Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon), Jake Lacy (Pete Campbell), producer and director Ken Kwapis, and executive producers Greg Daniels, Ben Silverman and Mike Schur about The Office's long, strange trip from British underground hit to America's favorite workplace. This is the fourth in a four-part series. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
The Office was faced with many burning questions going into its ninth season.
Rainn Wilson: The producers just weren't sure what to do. Should they continue it with the same cast? Should they have a new generation? Should the office move and have younger actors be the leads? They just didn't know what to do. We kind of came to them and we were like, "Look, we need to end this show strong. Let's have one last season. Let's announce it really ahead of time. Let's go out strong. Let's have a strong finale that we can really be proud of, and not trickle off."
Jenna Fischer: The last thing we wanted was to be in the middle of a season and then find out, oh, you're not coming back next year. You have four episodes to wrap up your entire season.
Soon after, original showrunner Greg Daniels announced that he was returning full-time after a four-year absence.
Angela Kinsey: When Greg said he was coming back, I think I shrieked like a little girl. Because, you know, here's the person who started it all, and his love and passion for the show and the characters, his understanding of their relationships — nothing else compares to that.
Ben Silverman: Greg's involvement was essential to end it in the right way. He really honored the show this season.
Mike Schur: He worked so hard in building that show into what it is that it's hard to imagine it being in anyone else's hands at the end.
Greg Daniels: Of all the experiences I've had in the entertainment industry, The Office was, I think, the most fun, so I felt like I was at the state fair and somebody said, "Hey, you have just enough time to have one more ride. What would you like to ride?" "I want to go on The Office ride."
However, Daniels wasn't sure if he was ready to close up Dunder Mifflin for good.
Daniels: I met with the actors and we had this idea of, let's do one great final season and I wasn't 100 percent on it. I was entertaining another idea of, well, maybe I'll just bring all new actors in to keep it going. But I think the experience of doing the "Goodbye Michael" arc was very satisfying. I felt like it would be better to have an artistic ending to all of these people's stories than to just have them end with no ending and then try and start a new beginning with other people.
Kinsey: If we lose people, at what point is it still the show without this family of people? ... At some point, is it even The Office that we set out to do?
Schur: The Office will have done 200 episodes, and I think at a certain point, no matter how talented the cast and the writing staff is, there just aren't that many more stories to tell.
Silverman: I think by saying, "This is the final season" instead of what we would have done, which is "it may be the final season" — it added some creative momentum to the show.