"It's bittersweet," Carell tells TVGuide.com. "I'm excited about the prospect to be able to spend more time with my family, but these are some of my best friends on the show, and I will miss them."
"I have to admit; it's a little bit strange," Carell continues. "It's been seven years and you don't want to put too much weight on it, but it was fun. We've grown very close as an ensemble."
As his time on the NBC series winds down, Carell will be joined by Anchorman castmate Will Ferrell, who may have the opportunity to fill Carell's shoes. "The specific story line between us has not been worked out, but we know he's coming in as another regional manager and as a potential replacement," the 48-year-old actor says.
How will Carell say goodbye? Critics and fans alike have speculated that Michael will ride off into the sunset with Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), who has come as close to being a soulmate for the obsequious boss as anyone could be. While Carell couldn't confirm that particular ending, he will be sticking around longer than Holly. "We're shooting Amy Ryan's last episode coming up this week, and then I have three more episodes to do after that," Carell says. "She is such a fantastic actress. We've been really lucky to have her on the show."
Carell, who is well-known for his roles in Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine, has been nominated for many awards and snagged a Golden Globe for his turn as Michael Scott, the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin. Michael and the NBC series are a spin-off from the British series created by Ricky Gervais, who just reprised his role as David Brent on Thursday.
Reflecting on the past seven years, Carell says he can't just choose one Michael Scott moment he'll remember fondly. "If I start to think of specific scenes, I'll get a little too sentimental too early and I don't want to do that quite yet," Carell says through misty eyes. "I still have four episodes to do, so I'm trying to focus on those rather than to reflect. I'll have a lot of time to reflect after that."
The Office airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.