Yahoo saved “Community” — that was the message most prevalently heard at Thursday morning’s Comic Con panel. What would have been a panel honoring the fallen became a celebration of new life, as Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, Chris McKenn, Dan Harmon and a musical comic book-plugging Dino “Starburns” Stamatopoulos gathered at the San Diego Convention Center’s Ballroom 20 to discuss plans for the pivotal sixth season. Will there be a movie? When will we next see Greendale on our (computer) screens? We’ve got all the highlights of TV Guide’s “Community” panel below:
“Fuck network television.”
So exclaimed Joel McHale, echoing the thoughts of many frustrated with the will-they-won’t-they back-and-forth between NBC and its critically hailed but ratings averse show. Still, NBC stuck with the Greendale gang longer than many other networks would have, making the statement both pointedly funny and respectfully sad.
Creator Dan Harmon explained a bit further as to how Yahoo came to be the savior of the cult favorite. “I don’t know what goes on,” he said. “Hail Hydra. I [do] know about three hours before the deadline was up, I was asked, ‘Do you really want to do this?’ [I thought] does it really matter where we’re doing this? I can’t be the one who’s not going to do this.”
Let the web series jokes commence.
We all knew as soon as “Community” was picked up by an online streaming company, there would be some very self-aware humor regarding the show’s transition, as is the status quo for one of TV’s first truly meta shows.
Harmon summed up the transition quite perfectly: “It’s Season 6 of ‘Community.’ You’ll be watching it how you’ve always watched, but now it’s legal.”
What will Season 6 look like?
“We’re hard at work on a Pokemon episode,” Harmon said.
Though joking, Harmon went on to explain how he doesn’t have anything in mind just yet for what to do with the recently renewed show.
“I start every season this way,” Harmon said. “I swear to God. No silliness. I really think that 13 episodes of a show about a community college […] will be a great show. I don’t have any highfalutin’ plans.”
One thing that won’t be happening is a complete overhaul. The intro video, which chronicled the best bits of the series thus far, ended with a “Back to the Future” voiceover homage saying, “Ratings? Where we’re going we don’t need ratings.” So don’t expect anything too different.
“I think the ‘Community’ that [fans] recognize still needs to be there,” Harmon said. “My philosophy is to try to make the lack of boundaries felt, but not to stretch it. I don’t want to take the wheels off so much people are like, ‘Well, this is just a new show.'”
That means there won’t be any 49 minute episodes (because the internet doesn’t have time restrictions), or episodes with excessive swearing (because that doesn’t vibe with the show’s established nature).
“Troy’s out there. He may be in peril. That’s what movies are made of.”
Though most of the original cast remains, two central characters have left and may not return. Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes and Chevy Chase’s Pierce Hawthorne both exited before the end of Season 5, with no definite plans to bring them back (Chase’s character actually died, but did return for a surprise cameo as a hologram). As for Troy, Harmon had this to say:
“Troy’s out there,” Harmon said. “He may be in peril. That’s what movies are made of.”
Quickly, he continued to clarify that wasn’t a definitive plan. “I have no plans for that, but that could be fun. A kind of ‘Search for Spock’ thing. Not that we’re writing out Donald from Season 6, in case you’re listening Donald…”
Of last season’s cast, there was no word on whether Jonathan Banks would return — though Rash was tickled pink by his laugh — but it’s unlikely John Oliver will be back. Though Harmon and Chris McKenna debated briefly whether he could (he probably can, legally), they decided it’s unlikely given his current HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
When Harmon was asked about “Rick and Morty,” his Adult Swim cartoon show, possibly crossing over with “Community”: “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Joel McHale gave a similar response when asked about bringing characters from “The Soup” over. “[They] work at the E! Network, and they pay pretty well over there,” he said.
On whether or not they had given up hope of a comeback post-cancellation.
Joel McHale: “I had no doubt we would come back. Like a Japanese general in World War II, the only option was victory or suicide.”
Dan Harmon: “I didn’t feel like this was possible. I didn’t want [fans] to get optimistic.”
Will Jeff end up with Britta or Annie?
“It’s probably Jeff and Dean, now,” McHale said.
The difference between TV acting and Internet acting:
“You have to project more,” Jim Rash said. “This is my TV voice, and THIS IS MY…(laughs}.”
…later this summer, with a release “sometime after Christmas,” according to Harmon.