NBC has officially announced the upcoming ninth season of The Office will be the sitcom's last.
After undergoing a lot of changes since the Season 8 finale, like the losses of Mindy Kaling to her upcoming Fox sitcom The Mindy Project and Paul Lieberstein to the planned Dwight spinoff The Farm and a diminished on-camera role for B.J. Novak, the news doesn't come as much of a surprise.
With Lieberstein's exit, The Live Feed reports original series showrunner Greg Daniels is set to return to put the characters to bed by the series finale. The news was announced in a conference call with Daniels, who said, "At some point you have a choice: to always tell the beginnings of stories and the middles or to allow a story to end, and I think endings can be very powerful and meaningful pieces of the story. If we didn't let it end this year, I don't know if we would have been able to tell the endings for so many characters that I really want to know the endings for."
Daniels said he's looking forward to paying off storylines he's been thinking about since the show's second season, which is when it really broke away from the original British version. To accomplish this, the upcoming season will focus more on story arcs.
"The real heart of the show are these arcs that allow these characters to have ongoing stories," Daniels said. "It's all going to be set up in the premiere. There's so much to pay off from nine seasons, so many great characters, that my biggest concern is just tacking in these great ideas that the writing staff has on the walls and making sure we hit all of them or at least squeeze as many into the ending."
The showrunner teased a few storylines, including the possibility of Steve Carell returning as Michael Scott and the revelation of the documentary crew that's been following these people around for so long.
"We'll see," Daniels said, regarding Carell's return. "We have ideas for the ending, and obviously if he would participate, we would have a lot of good times. The idea will fly without him if he can't make it. He is pretty busy."
The Office begins its final season Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.