Open enrollment for Greendale Community College began some time ago, but amid a pandemic and two Hollywood strikes, scheduling classes has been tricky. One person feeling the tension is Dan Harmon, who says that getting the Community gang back together has been more “terrifying” than he expected. Those registrar portals can be tough.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Harmon recounts the long road to “and a movie,” the prophesized conclusion that started as a joke about the well-remembered, not at all memory-holed NBC superhero show, The Cape. Despite Abed’s confidence, The Cape lasted a mere 10 episodes, but the “six seasons and a movie” promise lingered in the minds of Greendale’s loyal human beings. Conversations surrounding the movie began before the pandemic after the show found new life on streaming.
Striking three years after the iron was hot, Harmon and co-writer Andrew Guest still needed to write the script and coordinate with the cast. The pair can finally get to work on the former, but the latter is still a challenge because the SAG-AFTRA strike continues, which will inevitably create scheduling conflicts. The last thing Harmon wants is to shoot the cast separately, repeating the controversial choice made for Arrested Development’s fourth season.
“Because the thing that’s going to matter most to me as an audience member or to anybody who loved that show is seeing those people see each other,” Harmon says. “And they still love each other, and it’s not going to feel the same if you’re shooting them separately at different months in different locations.”
The work stoppages have placed the film on the edge of a knife, with Harmon worrying about gathering everyone back in Group Study Room F. “By the time we can recoordinate, what are the odds that everyone’s schedule is going to once again align?” he wonders, without even mentioning whether Luke Youngblood’s character Magnitude will be back for a “pop, pop.”
“I hate to say how terrified I am to do it wrong because there’s a part of me that knows that that fear cannot possibly result in a good thing. And you’re not going to get anywhere doing an impression of what you think you should do or what you think they want, but I really don’t want to do it wrong, and it is truly terrifying. But then I’m holding on to the hope that being honest with myself about how scared I am is at least a way to break the cycle.”
Harmon’s professional life is currently undergoing a massive seachange. Having recently (and finally) premiered his latest cartoon, Krapopolis, he is preparing for the return of Rick And Morty in October sans his longtime partner Justin Roiland, who was fired from the show following a string of sexual misconduct allegations. Harmon expressed regret over not taking a firmer hand on the show when Roiland’s behavior became most destructive. He told The Hollywood Reporter:
The easiest thing for me to say about Justin has been nothing. Easy because he isolated so well and easy because I’m nobody’s first choice as a judge of anything or anyone. This is where I’d love to change the subject to myself, to what a piece of crap I’ve been my whole public life. I would feel so safe and comfortable making this about me, but that trick is worthless here and dangerous to others. It’s other people’s safety and comfort that got damaged while I obsessed over a cartoon’s quality. Trust has now been violated between countless people and a show designed to please them. I’m frustrated, ashamed and heartbroken that a lot of hard work, joy and passion can be leveraged to exploit and harm strangers.