Will "six seasons and a movie" come to fruition? As NBC mulls the fate of the Greendale gang, the Community clarion call — first uttered as a joke by Abed (Danny Pudi) in a Season 2 episode — may be moving closer to reality.
According to insiders, at least one director has already been considered to helm the inevitable Community feature: Justin Lin, who directed the last four movies in the Fast & Furious franchise. Lin has also directed several episodes of Community.
Of course, if Lin ultimately can't do it, several other feature directors have also sat behind the camera for Community, including Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The Russos spent the first several seasons on Community as executive producers, and Joe Russo most recently directed last week's "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" episode. Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers) has also directed several episodes.
Why all the talk about a Community movie? NBC and Sony insiders say they're optimistic that a final, 13-episode season is in the cards for Community, especially given the network's inability this season to successfully launch any new comedies on Thursday night.
NBC's Universal TV also co-produces Community, which has helped justify past renewals. But even if NBC were to cancel Community, lead studio Sony Pictures TV would likely aggressively shop the final season elsewhere, to outlets such as Hulu (which already has the show's digital rights).
That would make the "six seasons" portion of Community's inadvertent prophecy come true. And as creator Dan Harmon marvels at the real possibility of a sixth Community season, he has become increasingly vocal in expressing a desire to make the other half of the "Six Seasons and a Movie" joke come true as well.
"If the movie has to be made out of clay and duct tape in my basement, then that's how the movie will be made, because there has to be closure," Harmon recently told Hitfix. "The title of the book about the show is not Community, An Interesting Journey into a Show No One Ever Watched. The title of the book is obviously going to be, Six Seasons and a Movie."
Here's another reason a Community Season 6 is possible: The show's fifth season promises to end with some strings still in the air. In the two-part finale, which airs April 10 and April 17 at 8/7c, the study group discovers that Subway plans to purchase Greendale Community College and turn it into Subway University. Jeff (Joel McHale) is offered a job by the sandwich conglomerate, while Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) tells Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed about the secret of Greendale's first dean (guest star Chris Elliott), which could help save the school. Ultimately Jeff and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) make a decision about their future.
The track record on movie spinoffs of TV shows is mixed. The producers behind Fox's 24 tried to make a film spinoff for years, but when it couldn't come together they decided to revive the franchise via a limited run series for Fox instead. Plans for a Heroes epilogue TV movie were also scrapped, although a new miniseries take on that NBC show is also in the works.
On the other hand, the rabid fan base behind Veronica Mars helped crowdfund that movie into reality. And besides, a Community movie wouldn't have to be a traditional theatrical release; it could just as easily hit audiences via video on demand or streaming video.
The first half of the show's Season 5 finale will be screened on Wednesday night at the Paley Center's PaleyFest Community panel, held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.