It's been a long road to season 4 of Community. After creator and executive producer Dan Harmon was fired and replaced with co-showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, the fourth season was delayed indefinitely, only to be rescheduled for premiere in February of 2013.
But then last week, Chevy Chase abruptly departed the series with a couple episodes left to shoot. It was a sudden but unsurprising move after Chevy Chase's growing negative opinion of the NBC comedy series. Well, now we have some details on how the writers will explain Chase's departure.
TV Line has heard from several sources that the season finale was shot out of sequence during production, and it includes a cliffhanger that leaves the fate of several characters up in the air - including Chase's Pierce Hawthorne character. Therefore, if Community should be renewed for another season (don't hold your breath), it won't be hard to explain why Pierce doesn't return with the rest of our favorite Greendale study group.
However, what about the episodes that have yet to be completed, which fit between the finale and the last episodes Chevy Chase shot? Well, the writers just might have a way to include Pierce in at least one of the two episodes that won't have any footage of Chase before the finale. There aren't any details on that front, but considering the entire gang has been animated before (in Christmas claymation and 8-bit video game style), it wouldn't be hard to at least see Pierce in some form for the two episodes in which Chase isn't involved.
Chase's departure and whatever fix the writers have in mind for the two episodes without him is just one more problem that Community didn't need. Along with the short episode order for this fourth season, it sounds like NBC has every reason to get rid of the show after the finale airs sometime this spring. It's sad news for fans, but probably good news for the same fans who would much rather not see their show in worse shambles before pulling the plug.
At least said fans can take solace in the fact that we got three seasons out of this unique and witty comedy series - one of the last few pieces of evidence that NBC was once thriving in the comedy department. For now we'll have to enjoy the surprisingly decent final season of The Office, the farewell to 30 Rock and the always reliable Parks & Recreation (while it lasts).
Community returns for season 4 on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8/7c on NBC
Source: TV Line