PaleyFest 2014: Community

Community Season 5 Cast

Community cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Jim Rash, as well as writer/producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna attended PaleyFest on Wednesday, March 26th in a panel moderated by TV Guide’s Michael Schneider. Fans who attended the panel were treating to an early screening of an upcoming episode titled “Basic Story,” airing April 10th. The panel discussed Dan Harmon’s season 5 return, the departures of Donald Glover and Chevy Chase from the series, and some insight on certain characters.

Community PaleyFest (02)

Danny Pudi & Dan Harmon

Being that showrunner Dan Harmon had been off the series for season 4, his return on season 5 of Community was a major topic of discussion. Most fans were able to feel Dan Harmon’s absence on season 4 and even Joel McHale, who plays Jeff Winger, stated he “didn’t think [the show] was worth continuing if [Harmon] wasn’t back.” McHale also revealed he was responsible for reuniting Harmon with producer Chris McKenna, thus making Harmon’s return possible.

While Harmon’s return was a plus for the series, the departure of Donald Glover proved to be a sad situation for the cast. They discussed how while him leaving was unfortunate, the situation made for some great stories, as we’ve seen already. In reference to this Danny Pudi, who plays Abed, stated, “To have Donald for at least five episodes was the best, because we could at least send him off in a good way.” He also feels that with Donald’s character off the series Abed is able to “socially engage” and “can connect with other people.”

In addition to discussing Donald Glover, they also discussed the departure of Chevy Chase who left Community during season 4. Jonathan Banks has essentially become a replacement for Chevy Chase, but according to Harmon this was never what he intended. That being said, Harmon also stated he did want another “Baby Boomer” to join the cast and that they chose Jonathan Banks, who had previous acted in Breaking Bad, because he’s a dramatic actor. “Chris and I have always felt that dramatic actors, if you can get the right one, they’re funnier than anything,” stated Harmon. Jonathan Banks has certainly proved beneficial to the series as Professor Buzz Hickey. Casting him was a wise choice, but it’s uncertain whether or not he will return if the show makes it to season 6, as Banks will be starring in the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul!.

As for the possibility of Community returning for season 6, it is still uncertain. Hopefully, someday they’ll be able to reach six seasons and a movie. Gillian Jacobs certainly seemed confident, stating, “it’s happening, come on.”

Community returns Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 with a G.I. Joe-themed episode titled “G.I. Jeff” at 8PM ET on NBC. In the meantime, check out some photos from the Community PaleyFest 2014 panel below.

Photos courtesy of Michael Bulbenko for Paley Center for Media.