Judging from Sunday's Comic-Con panel for the fifth season of Community, it will be the comedy's most bombastic.
Reinstated showrunner Dan Harmon arrived on stage with great fanfare in a homemade Iron Man costume, which had to be removed with the help of cast members Jim Rash and Danny Pudi. Riffing on Iron Man alter ego Tony Stark's penchant for arrogant oration, Harmon launched into a speech that would have humbled the fictional billionaire playboy inventor. Here are highlights of the speech, which also addressed his absence from the show last year and his triumphant return:
"I'm not going to say that television will enjoy its longest stretch of quality ... Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of unemployment, I have created a machine that eats pain and craps joy... But it's not about us. It's about legacy, it's about what we leave behind, it's about six seasons and a movie... Welcome back to Community."
During the Q&A portion of the panel, a fan mentioned Harmon's scathing review of Season 4, when he wasn't the showrunner. Harmon took that opportunity to once again apologize for his rude comments. "I am not a good person; that's why I want to make a good show for good people," he said. "A fan of Community doesn't have to be a fan of Dan Harmon, and vice versa. I am a creepy jerk."
The panel also featured cast members Rash, Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong and Gillian Jacobs. Star Joel McHale, whose character Jeff Winger graduated a the end of last season, wasn't present at the panel except in a pre-taped segment "from the great beyond," playing Harmon's father Howard in a faked vintage black-and-white video that encouraged fans to tweet the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie.
Also notably absent was Donald Glover, who is not returning to the show full-time next season. Unfortunately, despite a "shout-out" to the actor by Brie, neither Glover's reduced role nor how that will play out in Season 5 was addressed.
In fact, the panel revealed very little about the new season, but Harmon did say to expect, "new levels of anxiety that will trickle into the content... No one wants to not fail more than me at this point because it's a weird story of me going away and come back... I'm going to make these 13 [episodes] count." An animated episode is in the works, as well as more grounded storytelling in the first couple episodes because Harmon feels he needs to reassure fans, much like he would a nervous rescue dog. "It's really about these characters ... making it seem like these people live down the street again, and that place being Greendale too." Finally, fans of the Dungeons & Dragons episode can hold out some hope. Even though Harmon hasn't made definite plans for a follow-up episode yet, he did confirm that there's always a space on the idea whiteboard that says, "D&D 2."
Are you looking forward to a new season of Community?