EXCLUSIVE: The long-awaited expansion of The Office universe appears to be getting closer to becoming a reality.
Greg Daniels, who adapted NBC‘s The Office for American audiences based on the hit BBC series of the same name from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, is setting up a development room with his trusted writers, sources tell Deadline. It is set to begin work on Tuesday to explore ideas for a follow-up series.
The potential new series, which is not a reboot, would likely be set in a new office with new characters but live within the same world as the Steve Carell-led mockumentary series which follows employees at the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.
A documentary crew doing a documentary about a different subject is a possibility as a premise for a possible Office universe extension, Daniels has said.
NBCU top executives have stated many times that they would be interested in a new incarnation of The Office if Daniels has a take. This is no surprise given what a hit his series for NBC was and the life of its own it’s taken on in syndication and especially in streaming.
The Office premiered in 2005 with an ensemble cast that includes Carrell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, B.J. Novak, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Leslie David Baker, Melora Hardin, Kate Flannery, Brian Baumgartner, Ed Helms, Oscar Nuñez and Craig Robinson. The show ran for 9 seasons before concluding in 2013, with James Spader taking over as lead following Carell’s departure in Season 7.
Conversations about continuing the series have been floating around nearly since the show ended. While Daniels has stressed multiple times that he would not be interested in rebooting the series and revisiting the original characters with new actors, he has been open to continuing it in some way. Opening up a development room with some of his closest collaborators seems like a big step forward in making that a reality. However, it’s important to note that this is a very early development that could lead to a winning idea or nowhere at all, which is typical at this stage.
While individual original cast members could presumably pop up in a new franchise series, a full-blown reunion appears to be out of the question. B.J. Novak, who was also a writer on the American series, previously told Deadline, “Definitely you wouldn’t get everyone back together, that ship has sailed.”