The phrase “Six seasons and a movie” has long been a bittersweet one for fans of the cult sitcom Community. Sure, the show managed the six-seasons part of Abed’s prophecy (originally meant for the NBC superhero drama The Cape, which managed one season and zero movies), but the idea of an actual Community film always seemed remote. But more than seven years after the final episode aired, most of the study group is coming back to Greendale Community College.
According to Variety, the Community movie will be released on Peacock, and will presumably pick up after the events of the series’ 2015 conclusion. (NBC ran the first five seasons; the last one was made for the now-defunct Yahoo! Screen.) By the end of the show, the original core ensemble had been whittled down to Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, and Danny Pudi, and supporting actors Jim Rash and Ken Jeong.
While Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown had all left by the end of the show’s run, Community fans are cautiously optimistic that the latter two could be involved in the film. Joel McHale tagged both of them in his tweet announcing the movie, and they both participated in the May 2020 fundraising table read of the season five episode “Cooperative Polygraphy.” (The bigger twist would be if Chase were somehow back in the fold: His character was killed off, and he had a well-documented feud with show creator Dan Harmon.)
In an August 31 interview with Newsweek, Harmon gave fans their first real shot of hope in some time, telling the outlet that getting the movie made was “a matter of when,” but tempering expectations by warning, “it may be between one and eight years from now, which is how the industry works.” But Harmon, who has been busy with the massively successful Rick & Morty (and many DIY projects), said that an outline for the film existed and had been pitched. There’s no clear sense of what the plot will be, although, during May’s charity table read, Glover floated the idea of a story around what happened to his character Troy–he leaves Greendale to sail around the world with actor LeVar Burton–that was enthusiastically received by Harmon.
When the season six finale aired, Community had neither been renewed nor canceled, and what ended up being the series finale played with that sense of uncertainty. With the school year over, the show’s remaining cast of core characters (in a final characteristic burst of meta humor) pondered what a seventh season might look like, sending Abed (Pudi) and Annie (Brie) off into the real world with no guarantee they would return to Greendale, as Jeff (McHale) and Britta (Jacobs) stayed behind. (Though it has a very different look and a darker comedic sensibility, it’s worth noting that the Yahoo season—led once again by Harmon, who was gone for season four—is very much worth watching if you skipped it, as many fans did.)
Though Community never did the ratings numbers of NBC peers like The Office or Parks and Recreation, it inspired a passionate fanbase who worked hard to save the show after it was first canceled in 2014. During its run, the series won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for its claymation Christmas special, and was nominated for writing and stunt coordination. This last award is an apt action-packed legacy for a show whose list of directors includes the Avengers’s Russo Brothers and Fast and the Furious’ Justin Lin.