It doesn’t look like Yahoo Screen will be binge-releasing its newly acquired comedy Community this fall – at the Comic-Con panel for the beloved show, which was picked up by Yahoo Screen for a sixth season in an eleventh-hour rescue following its cancellation on NBC, showrunner Dan Harmon revealed that the actual writing is going to kick off this fall, so episodes likely won’t begin airing until “probably some time after Christmas.” Unfortunately, that means no Halloween or Christmas specials – but that may be remedied in subsequent seasons.
At the panel, which included Harmon, writer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, in addition to writer/actor Dino “Star Burns” Stamatopoulos, details of what to expect in season six were scarce. Harmon did offer the following insight into how he’s approaching Community‘s new home on Yahoo Screen:
“We will continue to make the show weekly, it’s not going to be one of those all-at-once models, so in some ways people will continue to watch the show as they’ve always watched it.
“If we’re asking how different the show will be just because [now that it's on the internet] it’s allowed to be different, I really think that the Community that these guys recognise has to be there, I have to be careful about that. My philosophy says make the same show, and let the lack of boundaries make themselves felt, rather than saying “we can make this episode 49 minutes long and nothing but the F word”.
Intriguingly, Harmon’s not opposed from moving the show away from Greendale Community College if that’s what feels right for the show. After five seasons of the study group kicking around the college, it may only be possible to contain them there for so long:
“The show can definitely move away from Greendale. I think it’s has always been about more than just a school. Going away for Season four and then having to come back and reboot it, it changed so much about what I would have said in season three about the future.”
As for the relationships between characters, expect them to be as tangled and messy as ever. In particular, romance will be on the agenda in season six. Said Harmon:
“Community is an ensemble show, about human beings. Human beings fall in love, they have crushes, they are sexual beings, romantic beings … that’s the most important thing. It’s not necessarily just a workplace comedy, so centering the show on a relationship would be the beginning of the end. I think there’s an organic energy that takes place, you feel the audience, you feel the writers’ room and you let these stories happen. Jeff and Britta called their marriage off at the end of the last episode. They are childish people who were going to get married because they thought the show was over, now the show’s not over, so we will see what happens.”
It’s worth noting that, in the finale, when the study group needed to access large amounts of emotion to power up a computer named Raquel (just watch it), Jeff (Joel McHale) came to the revelation that he had strong romantic feelings towards Annie (Alison Brie), so when the show returns, perhaps their long-shipped relationship will finally progress past a few stolen, longing glances. According to McHale:
“Jeff’s like a moth, there’s a light and he’ll go to it, then he’ll say maybe I shouldn’t go to it, then he does it anyway. I never presume to know what Jeff’s going to do, maybe grow a tail. When I open up Dan [Harmon]‘s scripts it’s like opening a Christmas present.”
Some characters, unfortunately, are gone for good. Chevy Chase’s Pierce Hawthorne was killed off, and John Oliver’s commitment to HBO’s Last Week Tonight makes a return for his Professor Duncan impossible. Fan favorite Troy (Donald Glover, who left the show to pursue his rapping career) is still not necessarily off the show forever, according to Harmon. In a news blurb glimpsed in one season five episode, it was revealed that, after sailing away on Pierce’s boat the Childish Tycoon with LeVar Burton, Troy was captured by pirates. Said Harmon:
“Troy’s out there somewhere, he may be in peril. That’s what movies are made of. I have no plans of that, but it could be good. A Search for Spock kind of thing. Not that I’m rejecting the idea of him coming back for season 6. Donald, if you’re listening.”
Let’s hope he is. As great as season five was, it suffered from the absence of Troy, whose friendship with Abed (Danny Pudi) was in many ways the emotional heart of the show.
Community will return, thanks to Yahoo Screen.